Sometimes readers take me on the task of not explaining a particular facet of the law when I write a column on some social security topic.
I usually respond by pointing out that if I tried to cover every “if, and or but” related to the social security topic I try to explain, my column would fill half of the newspaper or website where it says on . And I recently came across a good example of this.
A reader asked me when the benefits for his daughter would cease. He receives pension benefits and has a minor daughter left at home and collects benefits from his medical record. I responded by saying this: “Student benefits end when the child turns 18, but can continue until 19 if the child is still in high school.”
But then out of curiosity, I checked the Social Security Administration’s rulebook on this issue. And that rulebook continued for about 10 pages and answered the same question that I answered in one sentence!
It started by reviewing the general policy (essentially my answer to one sentence), but then it went on and on and on to cover all the possible exceptions that might occur. Here is just a brief summary. (In the sections below, “FTA” means full-time participation.)
Nr. 1: Students and benefits end before 19 years.
James turned 18 in March and graduated from a secondary level in May. He has no plans to continue participating in a secondary-level program, so his benefits will end in June.
Nr. 2: Students graduate before the age of 19 and continue in the FTA in a course at the secondary level. Her study benefits cease before she is 19 years old.
Emily turns 18 in April and graduates from a high school in June. She is on holiday in July and August and plans to continue the free trade agreement at a high school from September to December. Her benefits will end in January because she is no longer in the FTA.
Nr. 3: Students graduate before the age of 19 and continue in the FTA in a course at the secondary level. Her tuition ends at the age of 19.
Emily turns 18 in April and graduates from a high school in June. She will continue in the FTA in a secondary level course in September and plans to attend by June. She is receiving benefits based on her free trade agreement in a program at the secondary level until March. Her benefits end in April, the month she turns 19, because she has already finished high school.
Nr. 4: The student turns 19 years old after a month’s absence.
Tony ends his youth year of high school in May, takes vacations in June and July, turns 19 in July and plans to return to high school in August. His benefits continue until June, but end in July because he turns 19 in a month without supervision.
Nr. 5: The student turns 19 in a month of free trade agreements, and the school operates on an annual basis; study allowance ends on the first day of the third month after the age of 19 (payment to 19 and 2 months).
Janice turns 19 in February. Her school year runs from September to June and her school operates on an annual basis. Janice receives payments through April, and her benefits end in May, the third month after the month she turns 19.
Nr. 6: Students turn 19 in a month of free trade agreement; the school operates on an annual basis; student benefits cease on the first day of the month following the month in which the student completes the school year in which he or she is enrolled.
Janice turns 19 in April and goes to high school through May. She is on vacation in June and July and plans to return for her senior year in August. She receives benefits until May, the month she ends the school year in which she is enrolled at the age of 19, and her benefits end in June.
Nr. 7: Students turn 19 in a month of free trade agreement; the school operates on a semester or quarterly basis and requires re-enrollment; and the first day of the third month after reaching the age of 19 and the end of the course coincides.
Jacob turns 19 on September 3rd. According to SSA-1372, his school operates on a semester basis and requires re-enrollment each semester. The semester begins on September 18 and ends on November 30. Jacob receives unemployment benefits until November (age 19 and 2 months), and his benefits end in December.
Nr. 8: Students turn 19 in a month of free trade agreement; the school operates on a semester or quarterly basis and requires re-enrollment; the student’s unemployment benefit ends on the first day of the month following the month in which he or she completes the course he or she is enrolled in the 19-year month (payment over 19 and 2 months).
Jacob turns 19 in September. The school official confirmed on SSA-1372-BK that the school operates on a semester basis and requires re-enrollment each semester. The semester begins in September and ends in December. Jacob receives benefits through December, the end of the semester, and his benefits end in January because the semester in which he turns 19 ends in December, and his school operates on a semester basis and requires re-enrollment.
I’m already out of space. And this part of the rulebook continued with many more pages, giving even more examples of when student support should end.
People often complain that the laws on social security are so complex. I put all this in today’s column just to show you why they should be like that. There must be some rule to cover all possible scenarios that may arise for any potential social security situation.
If you have a question about social security, Tom Margenau has a book with all the answers. It’s called “Social Security: Simple and Smart.” You can find the book on www.creators.com/booksor look for it on Amazon or other bookstores.