20 CFR 404.1607
B was named representative payee for J, her illegitimate son, pursuant to section 205(j) of the Social Security Act. They are both residents of Louisiana. J is mentally incompetent,. His personal needs are being reasonably met, since he receives a Veterans' Administration pension and is a patient in a Veterans' Administration hospital. B seeks to spend part of the disability insurance benefits she is receiving on J's behalf for her personal needs.
Section 205(j) of the Act provides that when it appears that the interest of a beneficiary would be served thereby certifications of payment may be made either for direct payment to such beneficiary or for his use and benefit to a relative or some other person. Payments are considered expended for the use and benefit of the beneficiary when, among other purposes, they are used for the support of certain persons whom the beneficiary is legally obligated to support. Thus, section 404.1607 of the Social Security Administration Regulations No. 4 (20 CFR 404.1607) provides that where current maintenance needs of a beneficiary are being reasonably met, part of the beneficiary's payments may be used for the support of the legally dependent spouse, a legally dependent child or a legally dependent parent of the beneficiary.
Whether B is a legally dependent parent depends on applicable State law, in this case that of Louisiana. Article 240 of the Louisiana Civil Code provides that:
The question to be resolved, therefore, is whether by reason of this provision of Louisiana law the parent of an illegitimate child may be considered a "legally dependent parent" within the meaning of that phrase in section 404.1607 of the Social Security Administration regulations cited above.
Under Louisiana law an illegitimate child is legally obligated to support his needy parents, as long as he has the means of providing such support. Accordingly, it is held that B, if she is in need, is a "legally dependent parent" for whose support a part of J's benefits may properly be expended under the cited regulations, so long as his current maintenance needs are being met.
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