U.S. Supreme Court
Public Health — disability benefits — posthumously conceived children
Posthumously conceived children are not entitled to recover Social Security survivor benefits.
Because a child who may take from a father’s estate is more likely to “be dependent during the parent’s life and at his death,” Mathews v. Lucas, 427 U. S. 495, 514, reliance on state intestacy law to determine who is a “child” serves the Act’s driving objective, which is to “provide . . . dependent members of [a wage earner’s] family with protection against the hardship occasioned by [the] loss of [the insured’s]earnings,” Califano v. Jobst, 434 U. S. 47, 52. Although the Act and regulations set different eligibility requirements for adopted children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and stepgrandchildren, it hardly follows, as respondent argues, that applicants in those categories are treated more advantageously than are children who must meet a §416(h) criterion. Respondent charges that the SSA’s construction of the Act raises serious constitutional concerns under the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause. But under rational-basis review, the appropriate standard here, the regime passed by Congress easily passes inspection.
631 F. 3d 626, reversed and remanded.