Social Security Benefits for Posthumously Conceived Kids?


The Wall Street Journal has an intriguing blogpost today about one of the legal conundrums surrounding children conceived using dead men's sperm. The Journal's Law Blog reports:

Every year, more babies are born stemming from sperm or embryos that have been stored for months or years. In some cases, one parent has already died at the time of birth or conception, usually the father.

Although the federal government generally must pay monthly benefits to children when parents die, the law is murky on whether it has to do the same for a child conceived after a parent's death.

The Journal notes that a kid would qualify for Survivor's Benefits if his or her dad happened to die before they are born. So should the timing of the father's death, i.e., before actual conception, make a difference?

Sometimes, the Social Security Administration pays, sometimes it doesn't. So far, the decision has largely depended on the laws in the state in which the deceased parent lived.

But state laws on posthumous birth—or the birth of a child after the death of a parent—vary widely. Eleven states explicitly allow recognition of a parent-child relationship that begins with posthumous conception. The laws of most states, however, define the parent-child relationship more traditionally. For the relationship to exist, a parent must be alive at the time of conception.

My Solomonic solution: Just abolish Social Security.