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MATHEWS V. DE CASTRO, 429 U. S. 181 (1976)

U.S. Supreme Court

Mathews v. De Castro, 429 U.S. 181 (1976)

Mathews v. De Castro

No. 75-1197

Argued November 8, 1976

Decided December 13, 1976

429 U.S. 181


The statutory classification of § 202(b)(1) of the Social Security Act whereby a married woman under 62 whose husband retires or becomes disabled is granted monthly benefits under the Act if she has a minor or other dependent child in her care, but a divorced woman under 62 whose ex-husband retires or becomes disabled does not receive such benefits, held not to violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Such classification, by enabling a married woman already burdened with dependent children to meet the addition need created when her husband reaches old age or becomes disabled, comports with the Act's primary objective of providing workers and their families with basic protection against hardships created by the loss of earnings due to illness or old age; and it was not irrational for Congress, in deciding to defer monthly payments to divorced wives of retired or disabled wage earners until they reach the age of 62, to recognize the basic fact that divorced couples typically live separate lives. Pp. 429 U. S. 185-189.

403 F.Supp. 23, reversed.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., concurred in the judgment.

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