The Latest Supreme Court Decision on Parenthood

The Latest Supreme Court Decision on Parenthood

Imagine: Your child is conceived via artificial insemination and delivered safely ... after your husband's death.

Your primary concern might be your fatherless child, or the sadness of your husband's death. But the government has other concerns—namely, whether you get his Social Security survivors benefits for the child.


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The Wall Street Journal reports that the Supreme Court recently ruled no, you don't.

In the case of twins born in Florida 18 months after their father died of esophageal cancer, the court relied on state inheritance laws to make their decision.

Florida doesn't consider children born after a father's death to be his heirs, and the father in question only provided for his existing children (one with the mother of the twins and two from a previous relationship) in his will.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg acknowledged that the verdict might have been different had the family resided in another state with different inheritance laws.

We've written before about the complicated issues surrounding artificial insemination (only exacerbated by the use of sperm donors), so we'll add this one to the list. According to the Supreme Court, Social Security survivors insurance benefits aren't for "'needy persons' in general, but for the more specific purpose of alleviating a family's hardship upon a breadwinner's death."


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