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SSA awaits Supreme Court review of sperm donor case

Social Security payments are an important benefit for many in New York and across the country. The payments can assist in supporting a person, helping with bill payments and basic needs. The Social Security Administration provides benefit payments under several programs for people all across our state.

The Social Security Administration also pays benefits to some survivors of New York recipients, in certain cases. Often these payments go to minor children of Social Security benefit recipients who have died. The surviving parent of the children can apply for benefit payments with the Social Security Administration.

In a recent case, the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to consider a survivor benefit case. The agency previously rejected a request by a mother for survivor benefit payments for her young twins. While their biological father is indeed deceased, the twins were actually conceived with the father's frozen sperm after he had died.

In effect, the court has been asked to award benefits to the children of a person that was dead at the time of conception. The SSA's position is that the father had to have been alive during their conception. A lower federal court agreed, holding that the only other manner in which benefits could be awarded was if the inheritance laws of an individual state decreed that such a child was eligible to inherit. However, it was noted that in many states children conceived posthumously are barred from inheritance. The case is currently under consideration and a decision from the Court is expected this summer.

The Social Security Administration will pay benefits to the children if the court orders that they are eligible. Like those who receive benefits for disability or for retirement, the payments of benefits may be invaluable to assist the family as the children grow. Anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation may want to follow the news media as it further reports on any action over the pending issue.

Source: CBS News, "Can kids inherit sperm donor's federal benefits?" March 19, 2012


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