Frequently Asked Questions - Students

Social Security Answering School Officials Frequently Asked Questions

Why does SSA ask school officials to certify a student's school attendance?

We ask schools to certify full-time attendance in order to establish the student's eligibility to student benefits.

What exactly does SSA ask school officials to do?

We ask school officials to:

  • Review the school attendance information the student provided on page 2 of form SSA-1372-BK;
  • Answer the questions on page 3 of the form;
  • Sign and date page 3, and also provide the school official's phone number and title;
  • Annotate page 4 with the student's expected graduation date;
  • Keep pages 4 and 5; and
  • Return the rest of the form to the student.

What if the student does not leave a reporting form with a school official?

If a student does not leave the form Notice of Cessation of Full-Time School Attendance with a school official, the form is available here. The school official should download the form, retain it in the student's file, and then return it to any Social Security office if the student discontinues full-time school attendance for a reason other than graduation or summer break.

Why is the school's operating basis important?

The school's operating basis determines, in certain situations, how long we may pay benefits to a student.

How do I answer the question about the school's operating basis?

Most secondary schools operate on a yearly basis, either with or without requiring reenrollment, and you should so indicate if that applies to your school. If your school operates on a semester or quarterly basis and does not require reenrollment, or if the school operates on a semester or quarterly basis and it requires the student to enroll each semester or quarter, you should check the appropriate block.

Note: Neither a change in a schedule of classes nor a short period of nonattendance between terms establishes that a school operates on a semester or quarterly basis that requires reenrollment. The determining factor is whether the school requires the student to reenroll.

Why do I need to annotate the student's expected graduation date on page 4?

If the student stops attending school full-time, or graduates, earlier than the date when he or she expected to graduate, it will be helpful to have a record of that date so you can determine whether you need to report that the student discontinued full-time school attendance.

What does SSA consider to be full-time attendance?

Social Security generally considers a student to be in full-time attendance if he/she:

  • Attends an elementary or secondary level school, as determined by the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the school is located;
  • Is enrolled in a day or evening non-correspondence course at least 13 weeks in duration;
  • Is scheduled to attend at the rate of at least 20 hours weekly; and
  • Carries a subject load considered full-time for day students under the school's standards and practices.

What does SSA mean by secondary education?

We consider courses at grade 12 or below to be secondary education.

Must I report when the student graduates?

You should only report a student's graduation if it is earlier than the expected graduation date entered in item 1.e of page 2 on form SSA-1372-BK. The date should also be annotated on page 4, which you should retain.