She wasn’t born until two years after her father died, but a little girl has officially won the rights to his Social Security benefits.
Patti Beeler used her late husband’s sperm to conceive daughter Brynn two years after he died of leukemia at age thirty-seven. When she tried to apply for Social Security benefits the first time, the feds said no.
But Beeler took it higher, and six years later she’s gotten the OK from a judge. Brynn Beeler, now six, is legally her father’s heir according to a federal judge in Iowa. The Des Moines Register says the decision will stand as a precedent in not only Iowa but other states within the eight circuit unless the Social Security Administration appeals (and wins).
This is a tough call. Legally Brynn is her father’s daughter and he died through no fault of his own. It’s horrible to lose a spouse so young, horrible to die before you can have children. On the other hand, it is of Patti Beeler’s own choosing that she underwent IVF without a living spouse to help support their child.
According to the Social Security Administration’s own survivor benefits description, “The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die.”
But Brynn Beeler’s father was already dead. There was no extra family wage earner when she was born, no expectation there would be one. We argue that OctoMom does not deserve benefits when she went through IVF of her own volition without another adult to help her cover the burden. Should the same hold for Patti Beeler? Or does she get a bye simply because her sperm donor happens to have once been her husband?
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