Where a worker legally adopted a child in accordance with Mississippi law more than 24 months after becoming entitled to disability insurance benefits, and the evidence established that the court, although authorized to do so by statute, did not require investigation by a child-placement agency, and had granted the final decree of adoption after waiving the 6-month waiting period, and the interlocutory decree, held, since the adoption had not taken place under the supervision of a public or private child-placement agency, which is a Federal rule requiring actual supervision of the adoptee's placement by a recognized placement agency whether or not that would be a requirement for a legal adoption under the law of any particular State, the child does not satisfy the requirement of section 202(d)(8)(E) of the Act as amended, and accordingly, the child is not entitled to child's insurance benefits.
R, the worker, filed application for and became entitled to disability insurance benefits in July 1957. He adopted a child, C, in September 1962. C, born June 15, 1954, was R's grandchild and had lived with R continuously since he was about 17 months old. Since the adoption took place more than 24 months after R became entitled to disability insurance benefits, the child was, pursuant to section 202(d)(9) of the Act (redesignated 202(d)(8) by the Social Security Amendments of 1967), deemed not to meet the dependency requirements and, thus, could not qualify for child's insurance benefits. However, one additional issue for resolution is whether the child can qualify under the provisions of the 1967 amendments.
The Social Security Amendments of 1967 (P.L. 90-248, section 112(a)(2), enacted January 2, 1968) added to section 202(d)(8) of he Act (formerly 202(d)(9), a ne subsection (E), applicable with respect to monthly benefits for months after January 2, 1968, on the basis of applications filed or deemed filed after January 2, 1968. This amendment provides that a child legally adopted more than 24 months after the worker's entitlement to disability insurance benefits may be found dependent on the worker and, if the other requirements are met, entitled to child's benefits beginning no earlier than February 1968. Under this provision, the child must have been legally adopted by the worker—
(E) . . .
(i) in an adoption which took place under the supervision of a public or private child-placement agency,
(ii) in an adoption decreed by court of competent jurisdiction within the United States,
(iii) on a date immediately preceding which such individual had continuously resided for not less than one year within the United States;
(iv) at a time prior to the attainment of age 18 by such child.
Insofar as pertinent here, all other requirements having been met, the question to be resolved is whether C's adoption was supervised by a public or private child-placement agency as contemplated by requirement (i), supra.
C's adoption was decreed by the Chancery Court of X County, Mississippi, in which county R resided. In their petition for adoption, the adopting parents requested that "the 6 months' waiting period, interlocutory decree, and investigation provided by statute be waived and dispensed with, and a final decree entered immediately upon the hearing thereof." Section 1269-05, Mississippi Code, provides:
At any time after the filing of the petition for adoption and completion of process thereon, and prior to the entering of a final decree, the court may . . . require an investigation and report to the court be made by any person, officer, or home as the court may designate and direct . . . The court . . . shall stay the proceedings in said cause for such reasonable time as may be necessary or required . . . for the completion of such investigation and report . . .
Section 1269-06, Mississippi Code, further provides:
A final decree of adoption shall not be entered before the expiration of six (6) months from the entry of the interlocutory decree except . . . when a child is . . . related by blood to the petitioner within the third degree according to the rules of the civil law . . . the final decree may be entered immediately without any delay and without an interlocutory decree . . .
In the adoption decree of September 13, 1962, the court stated that "the final allegations contained in the petition are supported by the evidence, are true and correct and are adopted and incorporated herein by reference . . ." The petition for adoption, apparently signed in August 1962, bears the heading "September Term, 1962." In addition, the decree states that " . . . pursuant to the provisions of section 1269-06. Mississippi Code of 1942, the six months' waiting period before entry of a final decree of adoption is not necessary or required; and the final decree of adoption should be entered immediately without any delay and without an interlocutory decree." Thus, the adoption decree establishes that the court, although authorized by statute to do so, did not require investigation by a child- placement agency.
The fact that the adoption was in accordance with Mississippi law is not by itself sufficient to meet the requirement in section 202(d)(8)(E)(i) of the Act. That requirement is that the legal adoption take place "under the supervision of a public or private child-placement agency." The requirement is a Federal one, operative without regard to the law of any particular State, and requires actual supervision of the adoptee's placement by a recognized child-placement agency.
Held, since the adoption did not take place under the supervision of a public or private child-placement agency C does not meet the requirement of section 202(d)(8)(E) of the Act, and, therefore, cannot be entitled to child's insurance benefits.
Back to Table of Contents