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Social Security Benefits
"In the long run we are all dead."
John Maynard Keynes

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Social Security Benefits

Justice Rehnquist Opinion
June 26, 1975
Seal Of The Supreme Court

Appellee Salfi married the deceased wage earner, Londo L. Salfi, on May 27, 1972. Despite his alleged apparent good health at the time of the marriage, he suffered a heart attack less than a month later, and died on November 21, 1972, less than six months after the marriage. Appellee Salfi filed applications for mother's insurance benefits for herself and child's insurance benefits for her daughter by a previous marriage, appellee Doreen Kalnins. These applications were denied by the Social Security Administration, both initially and on reconsideration at the regional level, solely on the basis of the duration-of-relationship requirements of 416 (c) and (e) which define "widow" and "child." The definitions exclude surviving wives and stepchildren who had their respective relationships to a deceased wage earner for less than nine months prior to his death.

... It would also appear to be necessary to set an outside limit on the length of the period within which death was expected that would disqualify applicants (after all, and paraphrasing Lord Keynes, in the long run we are all expected to die). Yet there will always be persons on one side of such lines who are seriously disadvantaged vis-a-vis persons on the other side.

Text Excerpt:

1923 TRACT ON MONETARY REFORM, John Maynard Keynes

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.