Schafer v. Astrue
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
641 F.3d 49 (2011)
Janice Schafer (plaintiff) and Don Schafer were married. Don was diagnosed with cancer and deposited his sperm into a sperm bank. Don’s intention was that Janice would use the sperm to conceive a child after his death. Don did not, however, state this intent in writing. Don died; he was domiciled in Virginia at the time. Janice used Don’s sperm to conceive a child via in vitro fertilization approximately seven years after Don’s death. After the child, W.M.S., was born, Janice applied on W.M.S.’s behalf to the Social Security Administration (SSA) (defendant) for surviving-child benefits. The SSA denied the claim, because it determined that W.M.S. was not Don’s legal child under Virginia law, as applied under the Social Security Act (Act). Specifically, the Act provided that a posthumously conceived child qualified as a “child” of an insured individual only if the child could inherit from the individual under the intestacy laws of the state in which the individual was domiciled at the time of the individual’s death. Virginia law did not recognize the parenthood of any individual whose biological child was born more than 10 months after the individual’s death. The district court affirmed the SSA’s decision. Janice appealed, arguing that the intestacy law provision did not apply if there was no dispute as to the child’s parentage.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wilkinson, J.)
Dissent (Davis, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.