Program Operations Manual System (POMS)
TN 96 (12-23)
Child or father acquires status of child or parent if:
parents intermarry and father recognizes the child; or
(I) prior to 04/18/79, there is clear and convincing evidence that the man was the
child's father; or
effective 04/18/79, at least one of the conditions described in 3. a.–g. is satisfied.
Prior to 11/27/98, the child was required to assert his or her claim against the alleged
father's estate in a court of competent jurisdiction within 180 days of the alleged
father's death. For child benefit claims on or after 11/27/98, or pending on that
date, a court order is not required; SSA may make a determination of paternity with
no time limit, using the standard of proof set forth in the applicable provision below:
A court of competent jurisdiction has determined the legitimacy of the child pursuant
to one of the following provisions (for claims filed on or after 11/27/98, or pending
on that date, a court determination is no longer required; SSA may make the determination
using a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof in cases where the putative
father is still living, and a clear and convincing evidence standard of proof in cases
where the putative father is deceased):
A child is deemed the legitimate child of both parents for purposes of intestate succession
if the parents lived together as man and wife and, before the birth of the child,
participated in a marriage ceremony in apparent compliance with the law although the
attempted marriage is void. A child born or conceived during a marriage is presumed
to be the legitimate child of both spouses for the same purposes.
A child is considered legitimate if the father married the child's mother and recognized
the child as his.
Any child conceived following artificial insemination of a married woman with the
consent of her husband shall be treated as their child. Consent of the husband is
presumed unless the contrary is shown by clear and convincing evidence. Children conceived
before the father's death but born thereafter shall inherit in the same manner as
if born in their father's lifetime; or
(I) A court of competent jurisdiction has established the paternity of the child (for
claims filed on or after 11/27/98, or pending on that date, a court order is no longer
required; SSA may make the determination using a preponderance of the evidence standard
of proof in cases where the putative father is still living, and a clear and convincing
evidence standard of proof in cases where the putative father is deceased):
Scientific testing, including DNA and blood testing, in the form of a written report
certified by a notarized affidavit and prepared by
the duly qualified expert conducting the test or
a duly qualified expert under whose supervision or direction the test and analysis
have been performed.
The report should be such as would be introduced in evidence in paternity actions
without calling the expert as a witness.
Note: A DNA test report with a certified affidavit from the laboratory directory is not
admissible evidence unless the director was
the duly qualified expert who conducted the test or
the duly qualified expert who supervised the testing.
Prior to 1981, such DNA tests were admissible evidence only where the tests results
definitely excluded the alleged father.
Starting in 1981, if the tests establish a 95% or more probability of inclusion that
the alleged father is the biological father of the child, after corroborating testimony
concerning the conception of the child, the test constitutes prima facie proof of paternity, and the burden shifts to the alleged father to rebut such proof.
Submit cases involving questions about these issues to the Office of the General Counsel
(OGC) per GN 01010.815 ff.
Effective 4/8/91, the DNA report must also document the chain of custody of the genetic
samples in contested actions. Consistent with agency policy we treat all actions as
contested and require affidavits to document the chain of custody from
a person witnessing the extraction, packing, and mailing of the samples to the testing
a person signing for the samples at the testing laboratory; or
(I) The man has made a written acknowledgment that he is the child's father; or
(I) The man's name appears with his written consent on the BC as the child's father;
(I) The mother and father intermarry before the child's birth; or
(I) The mother and putative father attempted to marry each other before the child's
birth by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted
marriage is or could be declared invalid; or
(I) The putative father is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary
promise or by court order.