Interesting legal question
It is a fantastically entertaining year for the Supreme Court. I don't think there have been this many interesting legal questions in one year during my lifetime. Today I would like to consider Astrue v. Capato which will be argued on March 19th. The question is whether a child born two years after the fathers death through in vitro fertilization qualifies for survivor benefits under social security.
My initial reaction is WTF of course not. In many ways, the idea that someone would even try is an example of the entitlement cultural problem we have. You don't "accidentally" have a baby through in vitro. To pay for the expense of doing so and then turning around and applying for benefits right away strikes me as absurd. Apparently the SSA agreed with me and denied the claim. On the third appeal the Third Circuit court ruled that the children (they were twins) were the children of the deceased father under social security law and therefore qualified for benefits.
Legally, I think the mother trying to get the benefits might have a strong argument just following the letter of the law. However, this is obviously a situation that was not considered when the law was passed in which case the Court might be willing to look past the letter of the law and consider the intent which can be interpreted as meant to provide benefits to children under 18 in the event of an unexpected death of a parent. In this case the death occurred before the pregnancy occurred. It should make for an interesting argument. I suspect that if SCOTUS rules in the mother's favor Congress will pass a law addressing this situation, but then again maybe we have a new entitlement. Freeze your sperm so your wife can pop out a kid when she needs money....
If a child is born two years after the death of the father are they really that man's child? Should they qualify for the same benefits children conceived before the fathers death receive?