More Seniors in Poverty Than Previously Thought – Especially LGBT Seniors

by Daniel Redman, Esq., NCLR Elder Law Project Fellow

A recent report out of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that many more American seniors are impoverished than the Federal Poverty Guidelines suggest.  “This new…data shows that the cost of living for California seniors far outpaces the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL) in every county in California.”

For LGBT elders, the true numbers are even worse.   According to a SAGE and MAP Project report, “LGBT older adults as a group are poorer and less financially secure than American elders as a whole.”  Older lesbian couples suffer poverty at double the rate of straight couples.  Federal agencies don’t recognize our relationships and – as a result – treat LGBT people differently for  Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare, harming many low-income same-sex couples.

It’s time for the federal government not only to update its yardstick for measuring poverty but also to stop discriminating in a way that pushes so many LGBT people into it.

For more information on how LGBT elders can protect themselves, click here for links to our publications.

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