Provide Social Services Specific to LGBT Seniors

Target: Members of Congress

Goal: Develop unique social services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) seniors.

As baby boomers continue to age, it is necessary that we understand and cater to the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) seniors facing difficult life decisions without trusted supports and legal spouses. The Older Americans Act (OAA) is the largest vehicle for funding and delivering services to older people in the U.S. and includes no mention of LGBT older adults. Please sign this petition and support Senator Michael Bennet’s (CO) introduction of the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012.

LGBT pioneers are reaching retirement age and feeling the effects of a system that does not see them for what they need. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, LGBT seniors have been isolating themselves for decades because the majority did not have children or spouses to help care for them. Even if they do have the benefit of a partner, they face extra financial burdens not encountered by straight couples. Without federal marriage equality, gay couples cannot inherit each other’s Social Security benefits, even if they were legally married in the handful of states that allow it. They can be designated as the beneficiaries of each other’s retirement savings, but must pay inheritance taxes that straight widows and widowers do not. Gay couples must also pay additional legal fees to be granted medical power of attorney.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) which provides support and funding to older people in the U.S. is up for reauthorization and features no mention of the LGBT aging community. In response to this neglect, Senator Bennet has introduced the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012. These LGBT specific provisions amend aspects of the OAA to provide for the unique needs of the LGBT aging community. If enacted, the bill’s amendments would include LGBT older adults as a vulnerable population; establish a national resource center aimed at improving the quality of services offered to LGBT older adults; prioritize research and development grants for organizations working to improve LGBT health, long-term care needs, and access to culturally responsive services; and require improved data collection and analysis on the effectiveness of the sate units on aging and targeting services to LGBT older adults.

Please sign this petition and support the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012 to provide LGBT specific services, resources, advocacy, and research for LGBT older adults in the U.S.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of Congress,

The Older Americans Act (OAA) is currently up for reauthorization and includes no mention of LGBT older adults. LGBT older adults are a vulnerable population facing economic and social need as a result of a lifetime of discrimination. It is necessary that specific provisions be afforded to the LGBT aging population to deal with the financial and emotional stress of aging without legal spouses and children. Sen. Michael Bennet (CO) has introduced important amendments to the OAA in the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012.

The LGBT Elder Americans Act includes LGBT older adults as a population that requires specific provisions due to the nature of discrimination that has prevented them the same allowances as straight couples. Currently LGBT couples have no federal marriage equality and so they cannot inherit each other’s Social Security benefits. They can be designated as the beneficiaries of each other’s retirement savings, but must pay inheritance taxes that straight widows do not. Gay couples must also pay additional feels to granted medical power of attorney in order to make health care decisions on behalf of an incapacitated partner.

As baby boomers continue into old age, it is necessary for the U.S. to plan ahead for the unique needs of LGBT again adults. Please approve the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012 and afford the LGBT community the rights they deserve as they contemplate end-of-life decisions.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: instinctmagazine.com via Yahoo

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Signatures

  • alper arslan
  • stefan hellmann
  • Alessandra Merkt
  • Dimitri Xenos
  • Ryan Braldey
  • Nick Scholtes
  • Glovina-albrecht
  • afoster
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