PR 08005.035 New York
A. PR 00-507 New York State Home Schooling Requirements in the Claim of Scott A. M~, SSN: ~
DATE: September 16, 1998
New York law recognizes home school programs that meet the following criteria:
(1) Instruction in other than a public school must be at least equivalent to the instruction in the public schools of the city district in which the child resides;
(2) The child's parent must file with the Superintendent of Schools an annual certificate of intent to home school and an individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) that contains
A list of syllabi,
Textbooks or plans of instruction to be used in each required course,
Dates of submission for quarterly reports, and
Names of individuals who provide instruction;
(3) The home schooled child must receive instruction for at least as many hours and within the hours specified for public schools unless school authorities approve an exception to the 180 days and 990 hours of instruction for the school period from July 1 to June 30;
(4) The parent must maintain attendance records and provide a quarterly report with
The number of instruction hours per quarter,
A grade in each subject or a written narrative of the child's progress, and
A written explanation if less than eighty percent of the course material for a particular quarter has been covered; and
(5) The parent must file an annual assessment that includes the results of a commercially published norm referenced achievement test or alternative evaluation meeting the specified requirements.
A school meeting these criteria can therefore be considered an educational institution for student benefits.
The parent should furnish evidence of having filed the necessary documents and received approval by the Superintendent of Schools of the home school program.
The student must also meet federal standards for full-time attendance and all other requirements for payment of benefits.
This memorandum is in response to your request for advice concerning whether the above-referenced claimant, who received home schooling, was properly granted child's benefits as a full-time student.
Statement of Facts
Scott M~, who was born on June 14, 1979, was entitled to child's insurance benefits beginning in March, 1994. He received benefits beginning in April 1994 and his benefits were terminated in August, 1997.1/ Scott had been enrolled in the Altmar Parish Williamstown Central District School ("District School") until October 2, 1992. At that time he left the District School to receive home schooling. (Letter of Karen A. O~ dated October 15, 1996). On January 29, 1997, High School Principal Bruce D. A~ wrote to the Social Security Administration ("SSA") that the Superintendent of Schools for the Board of Education ("the Superintendent"), had approved Scott as a student on home instruction. The letter also indicated that the home instruction was equivalent to the basic curriculum Scott would be receiving if he were enrolled in the District School. (Letter of Bruce D. A~, High School Principal dated January 29, 1997).
On February 3, 1997, Scott A. M~, filed a "Student's Statement Regarding Attendance" (Form SSA-1372) with SSA, that indicated that from July 1 1995 through May 31, 1997, he had been in attendance in home school for 25 hours per week. Margaret D~, Scott's mother, stated that she began home schooling Scott in 1992 and that his curriculum came from three different GED books. Scott and Mrs. D~ contend that his twelfth year of school would not be completed until June 1998.
SSA's Standard for Determining Whether a Child Participating in Home Schooling is Eligible for Child's Benefits
Under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), a child is entitled to child's insurance benefits if he or she; (1) is the child of an individual entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits, (2) is dependent on that individual, (3) is unmarried, (4) (i) is under age 18 (ii) or he or she was a full time elementary or secondary school student and had not attained 19 years of age.2/ A full-time secondary student is an individual who is in full-time attendance at a secondary school "as determined by the Commissioner of Social Security . . . in the light of the standards and practices of the schools involved."3/
The Commissioner's regulations provide that a student who is instructed in secondary education at home in accordance with a home school law of the State in which the student resides may be eligible for child's benefits. As a threshold matter, the child's home schooling instructor must submit evidence that legal requirements for home schooling are met.5/ Depending on State requirements, such evidence might include a copy of the certificate of intent that is filed with the local school or school district, documentation that State-mandated tests were taken, a list of the courses being taught, and a copy of the attendance log or chart.6/
If the state law requirements for home schooling are met, the Commissioner's regulations further provide that, to be eligible for child's benefits, the student must be carrying a subject load which is considered full-time for day students under standards and practices set by the State. Additionally, the child's scheduled attendance must be at the rate of at least 20 hours per week, except under limited circumstances.7/ The home school instructor is the certifying school official for full-time attendance purposes.
New York State Law Pertaining to Home Schooling
Under New York State law, a parent is entitled to instruct a child at home. Instruction given to a minor elsewhere than at a public school shall be at least substantially equivalent to the instruction given to minors of like age and attainments at the public schools of the city district where the minor resides. The local public school board of education, through the superintendent of schools, is responsible for determining whether the home taught child receives substantially equivalent instruction.10/ New York law requires the parent to file an annual certificate of intent to home school and an individualized home instruction plan ("IHIP") to the Superintendent of Schools that complies with certain requirementals set forth in Section 100.10 of the education regulations. An IHIP must contain, among other things, a list of syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks, or plans of instruction to be used in each required course, as well as dates for submission of quarterly reports, and the names of the individuals providing instruction.12/
Under New York law, a child who attends upon instruction elsewhere than at a public school must generally attend instruction for at least as many hours and within the hours specified for public schools.13/ However, a child may be permitted to attend for a shorter school day or for a shorter school year or both, provided that, in accordance with the regulations of the state education department, the instruction he or she receives has been approved by the school authorities as being substantially equivalent in amount and quality to that required by the compulsory education law. N.Y. Educ. L. § 3210(2)(d). The home instruction regulations require such a child to attend the "substantial equivalent" of 180 days of instruction. 14/ Moreover, children in grades 7 through 12 must complete 990 cumulative hours of home instruction per year, which extends from July 1st to June 30th.15/ Records of attendance must be maintained by the parent and made available to the school district upon request.16/
Significantly, New York requires the parent to maintain attendance records and provide the school district with a quarterly report containing the number of hours of instruction during the quarter, a description of the material covered in each subject listed in the IHIP, a grade for the child in each subject or a written progress narrative, and a written explanation in the event that less than eighty percent of the amount of the course materials planned for that quarter has been covered in any subject. Such quarterly reports must be furnished to the District on or before the dates specified by the parent in the IHIP. Also, at the time of filing of the fourth quarterly report, the parent must file an annual assessment which includes the results of a commercially published norm referenced achievement test or alternative form evaluation meeting specified requirements.19/
In our view, Scott has not established that his home schooling program meets the legal requirements for home schooling under New York law. The principal of Scott's school stated in January, 1997 that the Superintendent approved Scott as a student on Home instruction that was equivalent to the District School's curriculum. However, there is no indication that Scott had been approved prior to January, 1997. Scott began home schooling in October 2, 1992. He was awarded benefits beginning in March, 1994 and his benefits were ceased in August, 1997. There is no evidence that Scott was in an approved home instruction program between March, 1994 and January, 1997.
Moreover, it is unclear whether Scott's program that was apparently approved by the Superintendent complied with the requirements of New York State law as discussed above. On January 29, 1997 the school principal indicated that Scott had been approved as a student on Home Instruction that was equivalent to the basic curriculum he would be receiving if he were enrolled in the District School. Letter of Bruce D. A~, High School Principal dated January 29, 1997. However, there is no indication that Scott's mother submitted an IHIP that complied with New York state regulations or that she submitted quarterly reports and an annual assessment as required by New York law. Nor does the record contain any statement by a parent or school official about student's attendance (Form SSA-1372) or other documentation regarding Scott's attendance.20/ Thus, based on the given information, we cannot conclude that Scott's home schooling satisfied the requirements of New York law.
1/ See MBR dated 6/29/95 and memorandum from Anne J. dated May 16, 1998.
2/ 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1); see 20 C.F.R. 404.350(a).
3/ 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(7)(A).
4/ 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); see POMS RS 00205.275(B).
5/ 61 Fed. Reg 38361 (1996); see also POMS § RS 00205.275(B).
7/ 20 C.F.R. § 404-367(b) and (c).
8/ 61 Fed. Reg. 38361 (1996); POMS § RS 00205.275(B).
9/ N.Y. Educ. L. § 3204(2).
10/ In the Matter of Blackwelder, 505 N.Y.S.2d 759, 139 Misc.2d 776 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1988); In the Matter of Adam D., 505 N.Y.S.2d 809, 132 Misc.2d 797 (Fam. Ct. 1986).
11/ See N.Y. Educ. L. §§ 3204, 3210(2), 3212(2)(d); N. Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs., tit. 8, § 100.10(a)-(e).
12/ N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8 § 100.10 (d) and (e).
13/ N.Y. Educ. L. § 3210(2)(a).
14/ N.Y. Comp - Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10 (f)(1).
15/ Id. at § 100.10 (b)(1), (f)(2).
16/ Id. at § 100.10(f)(4).
17/ Id. at § 100.10(f)(4), (g).
18/ Id. at § 100.10 (g).
19/ Id. at § 100.10(h).
20/ C.f. POMS RS 00205.275 example 3.