Girl Born Via In Vitro Can’t Receive Late Father’s Social Security Benefits, Says Court

An eight-year-old Iowa girl who was conceived via in vitro fertilization almost two years after her father died is not eligible to receive his Social Security benefits, a federal appeals court ruled this week.

The girl and her mother traveled a long judicial road before this verdict was reached. On behalf of her daughter, the mother originally filed for benefits from the Social Security Administration in 2003 and was denied. The mother then sued to challenge that decision, and a district court ruling granted benefits to the girl. However, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision on Monday, asserting that the girl didn’t satisfy requirements under Iowa’s inheritance laws to be eligible for her father’s benefits.

The girl’s 37-year-old father died of leukemia in May 2001, and his wife was later artificially inseminated with sperm that the couple had preserved at a hospital in the event of his death. The man signed documents bequeathing the sperm to his wife so that she could conceive a child; three months later he died and 14 months after he died his wife was pregnant with his child.

The Houston Chronicle reports, “At dispute in the Iowa case is an outdated law that limited inheritance rights to a child who had a relationship with a person at the time of that person’s death. The Iowa Legislature passed a bill earlier this year granting inheritance rights to children conceived posthumously, but did not make those rights retroactive. The measure was signed into law in May.”

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Do you think this child should be able to receive her father’s Social Security benefits?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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