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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

What does "parental control and responsibility" mean?

313. What does "parental control and responsibility" mean?

Exercising "parental control and responsibility" means that you:

  1. Display a strong interest in the proper rearing of the child;

  2. Supervise the child's activities;

  3. Participate in the important decisions about the child's physical needs and mental development; and

  4. Measurably control the child's upbringing and development.

This parental responsibility can be exercised directly or indirectly. You may exercise direct control when you and the child are living together. You may exercise indirect control when you instruct the child's custodian (whether an individual or institution) and insure that the instructions are carried out. In any case, you must be doing more than just providing for the child's food and shelter.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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