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What does "full-time" mean?

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

344. What does "full-time" mean?

A student is attending an educational institution "full-time" if he or she is carrying a subject load that is considered full-time for day students under the standards and practices of the educational institution. An individual also may be considered a student regularly attending school when he/she is instructed at home in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction in which he/she resides. However, a student will not be considered in full-time attendance if:

  1. The student is enrolled in a course of study of less than 13 school weeks' duration;

  2. The student's scheduled attendance is less than 20 hours a week (unless an exception applies);

  3. The student is being paid while attending the educational institution by his or her employer who has requested or required that the student attend the educational institution; or

  4. The student meets the requirements for suspension of benefits as required by prisoner or fugitive felon provisions (see §1850).

Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007

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