Mar 20, 2012

Tough Sledding At The Supreme Court

     It sounds like it was tough sledding at the Supreme Court for the attorney arguing for Social Security children's benefits for twins conceived after the death of their father using frozen sperm.


Nobbins said...

I heard about this on NPR. Kagan made a good point during the hearing, saying that in cases in which federal/state law is ambiguous, the ultimate decision rests with the federal agency administering the program. Seems pretty clear cut when you look at it that way.

And is it odd that it's Astrue v Capato, and not the other way around?

Anonymous said...

It's "Astrue v Capato" because SSA is the petitioner (they are appealing the 3rd circuit decision).

The 3rd circuit said "The court concluded that, under Section 416(e), “the undisputed biological children of a deceased wage earner and his widow [are] ‘children’ within the meaning of the Act,” without regard to state intestacy law. Id. at 12a."

SSA is saying that they get to decide what laws apply...and in this case, they want to apply Florida law, which would result in a denial of benefits to the children.

the writer of the Beeler decision upheld by the 8th Circuit and referenced in the SC briefs said...

This is a case SSA should win. If the states want to change their intestacy laws to recognize posthumuously conceived children, the states can do so. But until that happens, the state laws apply and SSA made the correct determination. The third circuit is wrong in its interpretation of the regulations.

Anonymous said...

How many years after death can conception occur? One, two, ten, twenty, a hundred? And once there is precedent for benefits for posthumously conceived children, who is to say who the mother is going to be?

I think that children conceived posthumously should not be entitled because the mother CHOSE to have a child without a father to support them. The children did not suffer any loss from the death, disability or retirement of the wage-earner since they were not around when he died. And loss of support of the wage-earner is the reason children are entitled anyway.

But I also don't think children who are conceived after entitlement to disability or retirement should be paid as dependents either. The disabled or retired parent knew that they didn't have the means to support the child.