A applied for parent's insurance benefits based on the earnings of his daughter B. He alleged he had been receiving at least one-half of his support from B at the time of her death and, therefore, met the support requirement in section 202(h) of the Social Security Act.
During the year before B's death, A and B had lived together in B's house; each of them had received $300 in assistance payments from the Department of Welfare; and B had earned $270 and had provided A with living quarters valued at $120. The total cash income of $870 was pooled for their support -- $435 (or half) being attributed to A's support. Due to A's infirmity, B also rendered personal services and care for her father that he valued at $1200 for the year. A contended that the total value of his support should be considered as $1755 ($435 cash maintenance plus $120 for the value of his room plus $1200 in personal services) and that B furnished more than half of his support.
Section 202(h) of the Social Security Act provides that a parent of a fully insured individual who died after 1939 may be entitled to parent's insurance benefits if, among other conditions, he was receiving at least one-half of his support from such individual at the time of such individual's death.
Section 404.332(b) of the Social Security Regulations specifies that "support includes food, shelter, clothing, ordinary medical expenses, and other ordinary and customary items of maintenance of the person supported."
Section 404.332(c) of the Regulations provides that "A person is receiving at least one-half of his support from another if that other is making regular contributions, in cash or kind, to such support to the extent of one-half or more thereof. A person is receiving more than one-half of his support from another if that other is making such contributions to such support to the extent of more than one-half thereof. 'Contributions,' as used here, jeans contributions actually provided by the contributor from his own property or the use thereof, or by the use of his own credit."
The amount of the contributions in cash and in kind received by A from B during the year before her death did not amount to one-half of his support. The total cash income was $870. Dividing this by two gives $435 for each one's support. The value of the room furnished A was $120, making the total cost of his support $555. One-half of this amount if $227.50. Since the Welfare Department contributed $300 of A's total support of $555, B only contributed $255 which is less than one-half of A's support.
It is a well established principle that the support requirement in the law is based on an economic relationship. Consequently, findings regarding support depend upon the existence or non-existence of an actual economic relationship between the parties. The value of the care normally furnished personally by one individual to another does not play a significant part in determining support under the Social Security Act any more than does the value of the personal services the individual furnishes for himself play in determining the cost of his own support. It is generally necessary, then, when determining support, to exclude personal services unless such services are purchased.
In view of the above reasons, it is held that the personal services provided by B to A cannot be considered in determining whether B contributed at least one-half of A's support.
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