Janice M. Ahern


After his wife's death, Wiesenfeld applied for social security survivor benefits for himself and his infant son. While he was able to obtain benefits for his son under 42 U.S.C. Section 402(d), he was denied benefits under Section 402(g) because those benefits were available only to widows and surviving divorced mothers. When his application was denied, Wiesenfeld brought suit in federal district court to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief,' contending that the gender-based classification of 42 U.S.C. Section 402(g) violated equal protection as found within the due process clause of the fifth amendment.' A three-judge district court panel granted relief finding that the different treatment mandated by 42 U.S.C. Section 402(g) unjustifiably discriminated against women wage-earners by affording their survivors less protection than is provided the survivors of male wage-earners.