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U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court to Decide if Kids Conceived with Dead Dad’s Sperm Can Collect Survivor Benefits

Posted Nov 14, 2011 1:01 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether children conceived by in vitro fertilization after the death of their biological father are entitled to collect Social Security survivor benefits.

The court granted cert today in the case, Astrue v. Capato, report SCOTUSblog, Courthouse News Service and Bloomberg News.

The case involves twins conceived after their father, Robert Capato, died of cancer. Capato’s widow, Karen, used frozen sperm for the in vitro process. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in January that the twins fit the definition of “child” in the Social Security Act.

The issue is surfacing more often, according to government court papers cited by Bloomberg. More than 100 applications have been filed for survivor benefits for children conceived posthumously.

The government contends the children are not entitled to benefits because they could not inherit from their father under applicable state law in Florida. SCOTUSblog posted the cert petition (PDF).

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