Iowa Girl Born After Father’s Death May Not Get Benefits

A variety of Social Security programs are available for Americans to receive financial support during difficult times. They all center on the idea that people who spend a lifetime paying into the system should be able to expect help from the government when they face difficult times. Children – who obviously have not spent a long time working – can often receive benefits when their parents or guardians either become disabled or pass away. Disability benefits and survivor benefits are one way for young children and their guardians to cope with the loss of someone who had been providing for the child.

An 8-year-old Iowa girl is at the center of an interesting Social Security benefits case that a court recently decided against her. The girl’s father died in 2001 after a battle with leukemia. Usually, the girl and her surviving mother would have been able to receive Social Security benefits for the money that the father and husband had already paid into the system. The problem is that the girl was born through in-vitro fertilization, and her mom had her two years following her husband’s passing.

The Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide this case. A federal district court found in favor of the girl, but the appeals court recently ruled against her. A lot is at stake for the girl and her mother – nearly $150,000 that could fund her college studies. The appeals court questioned whether granting the girl benefits would support the point of Social Security programs, since her father was never around to support her.

Your thoughts on whether the girl should receive benefits are welcome below. Would giving her benefits go against Social Security’s aims? Or does the fact that her father knew that her mother might conceive a child after his passing suggest that he just did not live long enough to be able to begin supporting his daughter?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security SSI attorneys


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