Statement by the President Upon Signing Private Bills Relating to Social Security Benefits for Adopted Children.
AS A RULE, I am opposed to special legislation providing benefits to some people when others are being denied similar treatment. However, I am signing two private bills this morning because they show the need for a change in our Social Security Act.
Under that act a child can get social security benefits only if he has been legally adopted by the surviving spouse within 2 years after the worker's death.
Katherine M. Perakis was placed in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Perakis on a conditional basis for the purpose of eventual adoption several months before Mr. Perakis' death. Because of factors beyond her control and through no fault of her own, Mrs. Perakis was not able to adopt Katherine legally until more than 2 years after the date of the death.
Susan Jeanne Clynes has lived with her paternal grandmother since shortly after her birth. Her grandmother married Mr. George I. Clynes on June 28, 1958, and he supported Susan until his death on January 16, 1959. Mrs. Clynes legally adopted Susan on February 15, 1962, 13 months after the 2-year eligibility period provided by law had expired. The death of Mr. Clynes deprived Susan of support which she had been receiving from him in the same manner as though she had been his own child.
In both these cases, the strict enforcement of the law has defeated the purpose of the program. I have asked Secretary Gardner to review these cases and to recommend an amendment to the Social Security Act so that similar hardships can be avoided in the future.
Note: The bill for the relief of Mrs. Perakis is Private Law 89-740 (80 Stat. 1713); the bill for the relief of Mrs. Clynes is Private Law 89-454 (80 Stat. 1707).
The statement was released at Fredericksburg, Texas.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing Private Bills Relating to Social Security Benefits for Adopted Children. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238495