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New Jersey

December 20, 2011
HSLDA Wins Appeal against Social Security Administration

“Without your assistance, the Social Security Administration would have just steamrolled over us. Another case of big government against the very people who support it…Our family can certainly use the extra stipend in this time of economic hard times.”—Lisa Kroger (names changed to protect privacy)

Jim and Lisa Kroger’s sons, Thomas and Andrew, receive an excellent homeschool education, attend homeschool coop classes, and volunteer. When Mr. Kroger retired, his sons also obtained Social Security benefits which helped fund their schooling. But after Thomas turned 18, the Social Security Administration sent him a letter: “Thomas Kroger is no longer entitled to Social Security benefits.” Because the Social Security Administration did not verify that Thomas was homeschooled, they claimed he was not attending school full time; consequently, his social security benefits were terminated.

Not knowing they could appeal the administration’s decision, the Krogers were going to accept the reduction in benefits. Fortunately, Mrs. Kroger called Home School Legal Defense Association after she read an article in the HSLDA Court Report in which HSLDA helped another family in a similar situation.

HSLDA appealed the Kroger’s case directly. With the help of Mrs. Kroger, we assembled documents proving Thomas was a full time, homeschooled student. In order to receive survivor or retirement Social Security benefits, homeschooled students past the age of 18 must show that they meet their particular state’s laws on homeschooling. We sent this proof, along with the appeal forms, to the local New Jersey Social Security office. What was highly unusual was the speed in which the appeal was approved. From the time we sent the appeal, Thomas’s benefits were restored in less than two weeks, right in time for a Thanksgiving surprise.