SSR 73-41: SECTION 216(e)(3) (42 U.S.C. 416(e)(3)). -- RELATIONSHIP -- DEFINITION OF CHILD
Held, Social Security Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-603(, which added paragraph (3) to section 216(e) of the Act extending meaning of word "child," for social security purposes, to include grandchild or stepgrandchild of grandparent or stepgrandparent, was not intended to include great-grandchild or step great-grandchild claiming benefits on earnings record of great-grandparent or step great-grandparent.
A question has been raised as to whether an individual may qualify as a "child," for purposes of meeting the relationship requirements for child's insurance benefits, under the newly added paragraph (3) of section 216(e) of the Social Security Act, as the great-grandchild of the worker.
For entitlement to child's insurance benefits under section 202(d) of the Act, a person must satisfy the Federal definition of "child" in section 216(e), as amended by section 113 of the Social Security Amendments of 1972.
These amendments (Public Law 92-603), added paragraph (3) thereto to permit a person to qualify for benefits on the earnings record of a grandparent or stepgrandparent. Section 216(e) states, in pertinent part, that:
- The term 'child' means * * * (3) a person who is the grandchild or stepgrandchild of an individual or his spouse, but only if (A) there was no natural or adoptive parent (other than such a parent who was under a disability, as defined in section 223(d)) of such person living at the time (i) such individual became entitled to old-age insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits or died, or (ii) if such individual had a period of disability which continued until such individual became entitled to old-age insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits, or died, at the time such period of disability began, or (B) such person was legally adopted after the death of such individual by such individual's surviving spouse in an adoption that was decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction within the United States and such person's natural or adopting parent or stepparent was not living in such individual's household and making regular contributions toward such person's support at the time such individual died. * * *
Provision for child's insurance benefits was first embodied in the Social Security Act by the Amendments of 1939, as then set forth in section 202(c). As defined at that time, the term "child" in section 209(k) included the "child of an individual, and the stepchild of an individual * * *, and a child legally adopted by an individual * * *." Public Law 379, 76th Congress, approved 8/10/39 (53 Stat. 1360). No change was made in the meaning of the term "child," i.e., to include in that term grandchildren or stepgrandchildren of the worker, until the Social Security Amendments of 1972, Public Law 92-603, 92nd Congress, approved October 30, 1972 (86 Stat. 1329). As noted above, these amendments added paragraph (3) to section 216(e) (which is the successor section to 209(k)). Neither House Rep. No. 92-231 of May 26, 1971, pps. 53 and 54, nor Senate Rep. No. 92-1230 of September 26, 1972, pps. 157 and 158, wherein the amendment of section 216(e) was discussed, nor the discussion in the House of Representative Conference Report No. 92-1605 of October 14, 1972, at p. 39, indicates in any way that legislative consideration was given to extending the meaning of "child" beyond grandchildren to include great-grandchildren. Consequently, it must be concluded that since the Congress has definitively spoken only in terms of extending benefits to a person based upon the earnings record of a grandparent, there is no statutory authority (either expressed or implied) to construe the term "child" to include great-grandchild.
Accordingly, for purposes of entitlement to child's insurance benefits under section 216(e)(3) of the Act, held, the term "child" does not include great-grand child or step great-grandchild claiming benefits on the earnings record or a great-grandparent or step great-grandparent.