Reporting from Washington — The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a child conceived through in vitro fertilization after a father's death was entitled to a Social Security survivor's benefit.
At least 100 such claims are pending at the Social Security Administration while officials try to resolve how the Depression-era law should be interpreted in an era of modern reproductive technology.
Since 1939, the Social Security system has provided a benefit to the family of a deceased wage earner, including his children. But it is unclear whether these benefits should be extended to children who were yet to be conceived when the wage earner died.
Karen Capato brought such a claim on behalf of her twins, who were born in 2003, about 18 months after her husband, Robert, died of cancer. The couple had married in Washington state in the late 1990s and later moved to Florida to start a business. After being diagnosed with esophageal cancer, Robert deposited semen in a sperm bank.