Should Kids Born After Dad’s Death Get Benefits? [UPDATED]


If you’re widowed and used frozen sperm to conceive children, are those children entitled to their deceased father’s Social Security benefits?

The Supreme Court is now deciding what to do with just such a case after a woman’s request for Social Security benefits for her twins, born 18 months after their father died of cancer, was denied, the Associated Press reported

Here’s the story:

Karen and Robert Capato were married for only a few months before Robert was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2000. Fearing that his chemotherapy treatment might leave him sterile, Robert deposited sperm at a fertility clinic before his treatment began.

Although he initially appeared to recover, by Thanksgiving of 2001 his condition had begun to deteriorate. Because the couple wanted siblings for their son, they made plans for Karen to use the frozen sperm to conceive a child after Robert’s death.

Less than four months later, Robert died at the age of 44. Karen then resumed the couple’s attempt to have another child. And in 2003, after a successful round of in vitro fertilization using her husband’s sperm, she gave birth to twins.

When Karen Capato applied for survivor benefits on behalf of the twins, it was rejected by the Social Security Administration on the grounds that for them to qualify, Robert Capato needed to be alive during their conception.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said: “What is at issue here is not whether children that have been born through artificial insemination get benefits. It’s whether children are born after the father’s death gets benefits,” the AP quoted him as saying. A ruling is expected this summer. 

What do you think? Should children conceived after the death of a parent be entitled to death benefits?

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