Artifically inseminated Utah mom fights for son to get dead spouse's Social Security benefits

A Utah mom who gave birth after being impregnated with her late husband's sperm is fighting a ruling denying her son the Social Security survivor benefits of his father.

Gayle Burns gave birth to her child two years after her husband Michael’s death, and says it was her husband’s dying wish to have a son or daughter after he died. However, after the birth of her son Ian, she says her child was denied his father’s Social Security survivor benefits. Burns fought the ruling and the case went to the Utah Supreme Court.

Burns says there was no written statement from her husband confirming his intent, only a semen storage agreement.

“We never thought he was going to die, so it never occurred to us to make that finality of having that in black and white,” said Burns.

Burns is concerned that a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case similar to hers will hurt her chances. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court left it up to each state to decide on such cases. 

“It would be sad … yes the money would help me, definitely, but it’s more of the whole of them almost saying Michael didn’t intend to or didn’t want this child and it hurts,” says Burns.

At stake is up to $108,000 that could be paid to Ian until he turns 18.

“I didn’t just go in there and say 'Hey, can I get 600 bucks a month because that would really help?' No. They said based on what your husband put into the system, this is what your son would get,” Burns said.

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