Should boy, born 3 years after dad’s death, get Social Security?

Here is a case that pushes moral, ethical, medical, scientific, and political concerns, into a legal mash-up that's sure to tie up court calendars and become a hotly debated issue, for a long time (and could have been posted under any number of different topics).

 

From the Headlines -

 

Should boy born 3 years after dad’s death get Social Security?

 

In a highly unusual case, the Utah Supreme Court is considering the rights of a child born to a man who died three years earlier.

 

By brooke adams - The Salt Lake Tribune  -  Updated Jul 12, 2010 08:10PM

 

There is no question that Ian Burns is the son of Michael Burns.

 

But did Michael intend to father a child nearly three years after his own death from cancer?

 

For his wife Gayle, there is no doubt.

 

But for the Social Security Administration, which is fighting her efforts to get survivor’s benefits for their son, the answer is no.

 

 

(Gayle Burns holds her son Ian in their home in Murray Wednesday Jun 30, 2010. Burns' husband Michael died after cancer treatment in 2001. Before undergoing therapy, Michael stored sperm because the treatments made him sterile. After he died, Gayle conceived a son — Ian — who was born in 2003. She is fighting to get Ian recognized as MIchael's son so he can receive Social Security survivor's benefits. The case is at the Utah Supreme Court, and is the first case of its type in the state. The issue has also been raised in other states. Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune)

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Now the Utah Supreme Court is entering the debate in a first-of its-kind case here, though the issue has been debated in a handful of other states.

 

The justices are poised to answer two questions: Is a signed sperm donor agreement evidence of a man’s desire to become a father, even after his death? And is that child then his legal heir? Continue reading . . .

[ http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/49775477-76/michael-gayle-ian-utah.html.csp ]

 

Please note that the religious asshats haven't even begun to weigh in on this one yet.

 

Tags: Ethics, Insurance, Legal-heir, Medical, Moral, Paternity, Political, Science, Social-Security, Survivorship

Views: 38

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Replies to This Discussion

(OK - Had to change that title.)
Agreed.

At the outset, the SSA's position is weak. If "intent" of the deceased husband is their only issue then it is obviously moot, IMO. The reason one saves his sperm is simple - depository for future offspring. The wife is the legitimate mother. It's a solid case from a uniquely solid family unit.
DNRTA

I can assume that the reason that this is a debate at all is because with SS it's basically a public benefit and is passed on to the child when one dies unexpectedly. The difference in this case is that the father had been dead before conception and therefore the mother had an actual choice to have the child without a living father. She was aware of the lifestyle and financial position and wasn't suddenly put into the position of single parent.

One could argue that someone might then get pregnant just to gain benefits. I am going to vote "neigh" on this one.

FYI, I am not familiar with SS benefits and how they work.
I'm afraid I agree - and your insights into the mother's choice very cogent.

SS is basically run like an insurance policy, and with sufficient 'stores' in the freezer, you could keep collecting SS in perpituity, by poppin' a kid every few years.

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