20 CFR 404.1109(b)

SSR 69-55

Where a stepchild became entitled to child's insurance benefits on the earnings record of her stepfather, and subsequently, the stepfather and the child's mother separated, held, in the absence of a terminating event specified in section 202(d)(1) of the Act, the child's entitlement to child's insurance benefits continues.

R, a fully insured worker, filed application and became entitled to old-age insurance benefits of $123 per month beginning August 1966. In the same month R was married to B, who subsequently became entitled to wife's insurance benefits, and her daughter, C, became entitled to child's insurance benefits, effective August 1967. Child's benefits were paid initially to R on C's behalf. However, in September 1968, B and C separated from R and C's benefits are now being paid on her behalf to her mother.

R questioned the continued payment of child's insurance benefits based upon his earnings record to his wife's daughter, C, even though the child is no longer living with or being supported by him.

Section 202(d)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 402(d)(1)) sets forth the conditions under which a child can become entitled to benefits and also provides criteria for the termination of such entitlement. In summary, the Act provides that a child's benefit will be terminated with the month before the month in which he dies, marries, is adopted (with certain exceptions), or attains age 18 (unless he is a full-time student under age 22; or unless he became disabled before age 18). Once entitlement has been established pursuant to the Act, there is no provision for termination of such entitlement because of the separation of a child from his stepparent or even because the steprelationship itself is terminated.

Accordingly, it is held, in the absence of one of the terminating events specifically stated in the Act, C's entitlement to benefits will continue.

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