C was born in Pennsylvania in October 1952. Shortly after her birth, A and his wife took C into their home and made an oral agreement with her mother, M, that C would remain with them until their death. Because A feared that M might attempt to reclaim C at some later date, on February 22, 1960, he, his wife, and M executed a document, "Amicable Agreement for Personal Custody of C, a Minor." This agreement does not refer to any adoption but simply states (1) that it is the desire of all parties to surrender absolute and irrevocable custody of C to A and his wife; (2) that M binds herself forever to relinquish all rights of custody of C; and (3) that A and his wife agree to care for, support, educate, and bring up C as their own and to give her all rights and privileges as their heir. In April 1960 A filed application for and was awarded old-age insurance benefits. At the same time he filed application for child's benefits for C.
Section 202(d) of the Social Security Act provides that every child of an individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits who meets certain requirements shall be entitled to child's insurance benefits.
Section 216(e) states: "The term 'child' means (1) the child or legally adopted child of an individual * * *."
Section 216(h)(2) provides that an applicant who has the status of a child relative to the taking of intestate personal property under the laws of the State where an insured individual is domiciled at the time application is filed, is the child of such individual for social security purposes.
Regulations No. 4, § 404.1109(c) defines a child as an applicant who, though neither the stepchild nor legally adopted child of the individual upon whose earnings record his application is based, has the status of a child of such individual under applicable State law.
Since C is not the natural child, legally adopted child, nor stepchild of A, she can meet the requirements for entitlement to child's insurance benefits only if she has the status of A's child under applicable State law.
The agreement executed by A and M provides that M irrevocably surrenders custody of C to A and that A will care for C as his own and make her his heir. Pennsylvania courts would recognize this agreement as a valid contract pursuant to which C would be entitled to share in A's estate as his child. Thus she has the status of his child under Pennsylvania law.
It is held, therefore, that C is A's child for social security purposes and, since she met all other requirements, is entitled to the child's insurance benefits for which application was filed.