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For Most Gays, The Golden Years Are Looking Something Less Than Golden: VIDEO

Albaugh.Jim

Kathy Murphy stands to lose $600 a month because the Social Security Administration refuses to recognize her marriage to her late wife.

Murphy, who recently lost her wife to breast cancer, lives in Texas, and the SSA currently bases eligibility for spousal benefits on laws in states where same-sex couples reside.

She recently filed a lawsuit against the SSA, and now she's among the subjects of a new Associated Press video report, focusing on why gays and lesbians are woefully unprepared for retirement. 

An AP study found that the average gay couple has $66,000 saved for retirement, compared to the average straight couple's $88,000. Then there are people like 55-year-old Jim Albaugh, also featured in the report, who's a long-term HIV survivor and hasn't saved for retirement in part because he didn't think he'd be alive this long. 

"I have enough to get me through the next bad time, but that's it," Albaugh tells AP. 

A Prudential study mentioned in the report found that just 14 percent of LGBT respondents said they are well-prepared for retirement, compared to 29 percent of non-LGBT people. Although both figures are alarming, this means the golden years are looking less than golden for more than six out of every seven LGBT people.

In addition to unequal laws affecting taxes and benefits, as well as the AIDS epidemic, gays often earn less thanks to job discrimination and start families later, the AP notes. 

It's a sobering report that should serve as a reminder about the importance of programs and support for aging LGBT people, who are already facing a whole new round of discrimination when they enter retirement homes — if they can afford one.  

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP ...  

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What The Death Of DOMA Means For Medicare

SiegelkopelovToday has already seen the unprecedented advancement of rights for same-sex married couples with the U.S. Department of Treasury's decision to extend tax benefits to same-sex married couples, regardless of the state in which they live. This is, or course, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services is following suit, and has released guidelines for what the end of DOMA means for Medicare.

Same-sex married couples will now have access to nursing home care through their Medicare-funded private insurance, a benefit that has always been available to opposite-sex married couples. According to the Washington Blade, in the days before DOMA was struck down:

"Seniors with Medicare Advantage previously may have had to choose between receiving coverage in a nursing home away from their same-sex spouse or disenrolling from their plan to be with their loved one. The latter option would mean paying more out of pocket for care."

Thankfully, those days are now over. Danielle Moon, director of the Medicare Drug & Health Plan Contract Administration Group, lays out The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new post-DOMA interpretation of the term "spouse":

"In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, CMS believes it would be impermissible to interpret the term ‘spouse,’ as used in section 1852(l)(4)(A)(iii), to exclude individuals who are in a legally valid same-sex marriage sanctioned by a state, territorial or foreign government...MA organizations therefore are required, effective immediately, to cover services in a SNF in which a validly married same sex spouse resides to the extent that they would be required to cover the services if an opposite sex spouse resided in the SNF."

Fed-dept-of-health-and-human-servicesIn a news statement accompanying the new guidelines, Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius noted that this new guideline is the first of many more that will be on the way:

“HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs. Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

Better yet, Moon has clarified that the new guideline applies to couples, across the country, even if they live in a state that does not yet recognize marriage equality:

“The foregoing analysis applies to individuals of the same sex who are domiciled in a state or territory that recognizes their relationship as a marriage. It also applies to individuals of the same sex who were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction without regard to whether they are domiciled in a state or territory that recognizes their relationship as a marriage.”

You can read the full release, via the Washington Blade, HERE.


New Documentary 'Before You Know It' Takes A Look At The Senior Gay Community: VIDEO

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Before You Know It, opening this weekend in New York City, peeks in on the everyday interactions of three individuals who are enjoying the third trimester of their lives. It just so happens that these men are gay, and leading fabulous lives of their own. Love, marriage, drag, dancing, music, and community color shapes these men's lives.  

Joe.My.God. has the full synopsis:

The subjects of BEFORE YOU KNOW IT are no ordinary senior citizens. They are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the United States, many of whom face heightened levels of discrimination, neglect and exclusion. But BEFORE is not a film about cold statistics and gloomy realities, it’s a film about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie – whether these communities be affable senior living facilities, lively activist enclaves or wacky queer bars brimming with glittered trinkets and colorful drag queens.

Enjoy the trailer (and catch the doc in a theater near you) AFTER THE JUMP...

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What Seniors Think About Gay Sex: VIDEO

Senior

"Wanna know what the 'F' stands for? Flexibility."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NYT Looks at the Plight of the Gay Elderly

Elderly gay people are at risk of neglect due to homophobia and many experience discrimination and abuse with no one there to defend or assist them. The New York Times today looks at the growing number of advocacy programs for the gay elderly and tells their stories, some of which can be heartbreaking:

Riley_dufour"In one nursing home, an openly gay man, without family or friends, was recently moved off his floor to quiet the protests of other residents and their families. He was given a room among patients with severe disabilities or dementia. The home called upon Amber Hollibaugh, now a senior strategist at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the author of the first training curriculum for nursing homes. Ms. Hollibaugh assured the 79-year-old man that a more humane solution would be found, but he hanged himself, Ms. Hollibaugh said."

They also take a multimedia look at Emile Dufour, 70 and Fred Riley, 75, (pictured) together for 20 years, and married in 2004, and the fear that clouds their future:

"The pair have been together for two decades and married in 2004. But their default position, should they need nursing care, will be to hide their gayness, as they did for half a lifetime, rather than face slurs and whispers. 'As strong as I am today,' Mr. Riley said, 'when I’m at the gate of the nursing home, the closet door is going to slam shut behind me.'"

Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice in Twilight [nyt]

And here's a resource:
S.A.G.E. (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders) [official website]


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