In Gillett-Netting v. Barnhart, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that posthumously conceived children born to a married couple were dependent under the Social Security Act ("Act") and entitled to child's survivor benefits. The posthumously conceived children in Gillett-Netting were born as a result of an in vitro fertilization process conducted after the husband's death. After the birth of her twins, the mother filed for benefits under the Act based on her late husband's earnings. The court ruled that because the twins were their father's legitimate children under Arizona law, they were to be considered his dependents under the Act and were entitled to child's insurance benefits. The case was one of first impression because neither federal law nor Arizona law dealt with legal issues created by posthumous conception, which is now possible through developing reproductive technology.
"A New Era of Dead-Beat Dads: Determining Social Security Survivor Benefits for Children Who Are Posthumously Conceived,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 56:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol56/iss2/9