National Resource Center on LGBT Aging Introduces Legal and Financial Support Resources
New interactive features help address the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.
The Resource Center's latest offerings include an interactive U.S. map to help LGBT older adults pinpoint legal resources in their state, information on Social Security and the LGBT community, and articles and videos with tips from practicing attorneys about legal documents every LGBT older adult needs.
"The support systems of LGBT people are often not recognized by many of our country's programs or laws," said Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. "This means that LGBT people's partners and families of choice can be excluded from medical and end-of-life decision-making, and from inheritances, unless they have put specific legal and financial arrangements in place."
According to Meyer, state-specific resources are especially important for LGBT people, which reinforces the value of the state-by-state data map with legal resources.
"Because laws vary widely from state to state, it can be confusing to figure out exactly what is needed. That's where the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging can help," added Meyer.
LGBT older people are often treated unequally under current laws, programs and services intended to support elders. Many safety net programs, such as Social Security and Medicaid, exclude key benefits and protections from same-sex couples and their partners.
For example, LGBT partners can be shut out of an inheritance, or can be required to pay steep taxes on an estate that a surviving heterosexual spouse would inherit tax-free. In addition, spouses and blood relatives can be legally prioritized over partners, friends and caregivers who are not related by blood or legally allowed to marry, if proper documentation is not in place.
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides critical legal information and tips to LGBT older adults, and seeks to inform aging services providers and LGBT organizations of LGBT elders' legal needs. New resources include:
- An interactive state-by-state map designed to direct LGBT older adults to legal resources specific to the state they live in;
- Informative articles on the legal documents every LGBT older adult should have, such as wills, advance directives, financial power of attorney, and more;
- Videos that clearly illustrate the legal and financial issues unique to LGBT older adults;
- Publications to help LGBT elders get a jumpstart on legal and financial planning; and
- Various multimedia resources explaining Social Security and its importance to LGBT older people.
The legal support section is one in a series of interactive, multimedia resources that the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging will unveil over the next year. These online resources will span the many issues affecting LGBT older adults—from housing and HIV/AIDS, to retirement and healthcare access, and much, much more.
Established in 2010, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. The Resource Center is a project of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in partnership with 10 LGBT and aging organizations nationwide, including the American Society on Aging; CenterLink (the national association of LGBT community centers); FORGE Transgender Aging Network; GRIOT Circle; Hunter College; The LGBT Aging Project; the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); the National Institute of Senior Centers (National Council on Aging); Openhouse and PHI (a national training expert).
To learn more about the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, please visit lgbtagingcenter.org.
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.