SSR 75-26c: SECTION 202(h) (42 U.S.C. 402(h)) -- PARENT'S INSURANCE BENEFITS -- ONE-HALF SUPPORT
20 CFR 404.338 and 404.350
Hancock v. Weinberger, USDC, Middle District of Tennessee, No. 74-52-NE-CU (5.7.75) (CCH UIR FED ¶ 14,276)
- Where claimant for parent's insurance benefits contributed income of $872.00 to a total family income of $3,677.60 for the 12-month period prior to the death of the wage earner, and the wage earner contributed $2,223.60, and where the three members of the family unit resided and consumed their meals in the same house, each benefiting to an approximately equal degree by the income that was pooled for joint use, held, claimant had not received at least one-half of her support from the deceased wage earner as each family member's share of the total funds available for the support of the household ($3,677.60) was $1,225.87, or one-third, and claimant's own income ($872.00) exceeded one-half of her support ($612.94).
Morton, District Judge:
This is an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare denying a claim for parent's insurance benefits.
On October 5, 1972, the plaintiff filed an application for Parent's Insurance Benefits. On December 28, 1972, plaintiff was notified that her claim was denied. After a request for reconsideration, plaintiff was again notified that her claim was denied. On August 28, 1973, plaintiff filed a request for a hearing and said hearing was held on February 19, 1974, at Cookeville, Tennessee. On April 17, 1974, the administrative law judge denied the claim. After plaintiff filed a request for review, the Appeals Council notified plaintiff on October 8, 1974, that the decision of the administrative law judge was correct and final. This action for court review was filed on December 6, 1974.
The plaintiff is a 63 year old woman and is the mother of Gerald Hancock, who died on February 29, 1972. Her son Gerald was disabled and was receiving social security disability insurance benefits. The evidence must establish that the plaintiff was receiving at least one-half of her support from her son at the time of his death for a 12-month period preceding his death.
During the 12-month period before Gerald Hancock's death, the evidence reflects, and the plaintiff testified, that her household consisted of herself, her son Gerald, and another son Larry. Larry Hancock was residing at home with this mother and brother while attending Tennessee Technological University, and was receiving public assistance benefits.
Plaintiff filed a certificate of Support indicating her income and support at the time she applied for parent's insurance benefits. This certificate reflects that plaintiff and her two sons had income during the prescribed period which aggregated $3,677.60, consisting of Gerald Hancock's social security benefits ($2,223.60); plaintiff's earnings from babysitting during 1971 ($290.00); plaintiff's public assistance benefits ($582.00); and Larry Hancock's public assistance benefits ($582.00). Plaintiff's contribution toward the total income was $872.00 ($290.00 + $582.00). Gerald Hancock's contribution toward the total income was $2,223.60.
As members of a family unit residing in and consuming their meals in the same house, each of them benefited to an approximately equal degree by the income that was pooled for their joint use, inasmuch as there were no surplus funds diverted to a bank account or for other purposes. Therefore, each family member's share of the total funds available for the support of the household was $1,225.87, or one-third. One-half of plaintiff's share was $612.94. Since Mrs. Hancock's own income $872.00) exceeded one-half of her support ($612.94), she thus was not receiving at least one-half of her support from her son Gerald.
It is true that Gerald Hancock's income of $2,223.60 was more than one-half of the total income of $3,677.60 contributed by all of the family members. However, the issue is not whether the deceased son furnished at least one-half of the whole family's support, but whether he furnished at least one-half of plaintiff's support during the 12 months preceding his death.
The court concludes that plaintiff's son, Gerald Hancock, did not furnish at least one-half of his mother's support during the relevant period, and therefore, the decision of the Secretary is supported by substantial evidence and must be affirmed. Halsey v. Richardson, 441 F.2d 1230 (6th Cir. 1971); Ross v. Richardson, 440 F.2d 690 (6th Cir. 1971).
On April 15, 1975, the plaintiff filed a motion to file an exhibit with facts set out to be treated as an answer and motion for remand. The court has considered this exhibit which is a copy of a statement regarding the expenses of the plaintiff and concludes that it does not affect the decision of the Secretary or this court.
In accordance with the Memorandum contemporaneously filed, it is ORDERED that the decision of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare is hereby affirmed.