On March 19 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the oral argument in “Astrue v. Capato”---a case about whether a child who was conceived after the death of his biological father can receive Social Security benefits as his father’s surviving child.
And Saturday, February 11 on C-SPAN Radio’s Historic Supreme Court Oral argument, a case cited in “Astrue v. Capato”. From 2003: “Washington Dept. Of Social & Health Services, Petitioners v. The Guardianship Estate of Keffeler, Respondents.”
The state of Washington, through its Department of Social and Health Services, provides foster care to certain children. It also receives and manages Social Security benefits, which it uses to cover its costs for many of those children. Representatives for some of these beneficiary children filed suit, alleging that the department's use of their benefits to reimburse itself for the foster care costs violated the "Anti-attachment" provision of Title II of the Social Security Act, which protects certain benefits from "execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process."
The trial court enjoined the department from continuing to charge its foster care costs against Social Security benefits and ordered restitution of previous reimbursement transfers. The Washington State Supreme Court later affirmed the trial court's holding that the department's practices violated the Anti-attachment provision. The case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The audio and information in this program are courtesy of the Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.