Court Denies Benefits to Posthumously Conceived Children

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that children who are conceived after the death of their biological father, using frozen sperm, are not automatically entitled to Social Security dependent’s benefits. (Astrue v. Capato, May 21, 2012.) In similar cases across the country, some lower federal courts had ruled in favor of the children, and some had ruled in favor of the government.

In an unanimous decision, the Court concluded that under federal law, only a child who is entitled to inherit from the deceased parent under state law can claim Social Security benefits dependent’s benefits. Several states do allow such inheritance for posthumously conceived children, under limited circumstances.

For more on this subject, see "Inheritance Rights of Posthumously Conceived Children."