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This website has been condensed and is no longer being updated as of November 28, 2016. Some resources previously available on this website may no longer be available. Content may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available. An upcoming 2017 website for the new National Center of Law and Elder Rights (NCLER) will provide an enhanced experience in access to national legal resource support in the priority legal issue areas currently featured on this site. The new NCLER Website will include access to:

  • Legal Basics Training and Advanced Training program
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NCLER experts are available now for case consultations in substantive legal issues and technical assistance on the enhancement of legal service delivery systems. Please Contact ncler@justiceinaging.org

LGBT Aging

Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same-Sex Couples
Source: The Equal Rights Center
Content Type: PDF
Report on matched pair testing in senior housing, reveals disparities in treatment of same sex couples and makes recommendations for changes in law, policy and practice.

In Their Own Words: A Needs Assessment of Hispanic LGBT Older Adults
Source: SAGE USA
Content Type: PDF report
In Their Own Words: A Needs Assessment of Hispanic LGBT Older Adults, includes a literature review, focus groups and key informant interviews with LGBT Hispanic older adults around the country, as well as with service providers who work LGBT Hispanic elders. The report assesses the status of Hispanic LGBT older adults and the challenges they face. Key findings include:  There is a lack of research, knowledge and understanding of the needs and perspectives of the Hispanic LGBT older adult population;  Healthcare providers should demonstrate respect and cultural competency when working with Hispanic LGBT older adults;  Hispanic LGBT older adults have low awareness of and difficulty accessing available services, including health care due to lack of cultural and linguistic competence from providers;  Hispanic LGBT older adults face ageism, homophobia, and racial/ethnic discrimination and throughout life, this negatively impacts economic security and health; and  There is a need to reduce stigma by increasing awareness of diversity in sexual identity and orientation within Hispanic communities, among other findings.

Aging Out: A Qualitative Exploration of Ageism and Heterosexism Among Aging African American Lesbians and Gay Men
Source: Taylor and Francis Online
Content Type: Website with links to PDF article
Article exploring the impact of ageism and heterosexism on older LGBT African Americans. "Several themes were identified in the study, including (a) Sense of Alienation in the African American Community, (b) Deliberate Concealment of Sexual Identity and Orientation, (c) Aversion to LGBT Labels, (d) Perceived Discrimination and Alienation From Organized Religion, (e) Feelings of Grief and Loss Related to Aging, (f)Isolation, and (g) Fear of Financial and Physical Dependence.

Federal Benefits for Same Sex Couples
Source: NCOA
Content Type: Online video of webinar
Recorded webinar on federal benefits for married same sex couples (December 2013.)

NSCLC webinar, August 20, 2013: The Demise of DOMA: The Impact on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid For Same Sex Couples
Source: NSCLC
Content Type: PDF of power point
An overview of the evolving picture of federal benefits for married same sex couples.

When I am Old and Gay: Culture and Housing in Later Life
Source: American Prospect
Content Type: Online article
Well written article discussing cultural and housing issues for older LGBT adults.

Same-sex Divorce
Source: National Center on Lesbian Rights
Content Type: PDF
The National Center for Lesbian Rights has created a short guide for attorneys on how same-sex couples who are in marriages/civil unions/registered domestic partnerships may be able to divorce even if they live in states that do not recognize their relationships.

Source: Lewis & Clark Graduate School
Content Type: online tool kit
This Guide is intended to give tribal legislators a brief overview of legal issues that impact the equal treatment of Two Spirit or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. The Guide identifies areas in which existing laws may discriminate against LGBT individuals, and provides sample resolution and code language for tribal lawmakers to consider adopting to maximize LGBT equality within their communities. Commentary to the draft language is also provided to address some of the policy issues that tribal legislators should consider when developing or revising tribal laws to promote LGBT justice.

Inclusive Services for LGBT Older Adults: A Practical Guide to Creating Welcoming Agencies
Source: SAGE – National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
Content Type: PDF
This publication helps to answers the question: “How can our mainstream aging organization provide inclusive and welcoming services to older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults?” Written with suggestions, tips and practical ideas from mainstream aging providers in the field, along with SAGE and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging's partners.

Gay and Lesbian Elders: Estate Planning and End-of-Life Decision making
Source: Bepress
Content Type: Article on website
This Article addresses the three areas of core concern for gay and lesbian elders — chosen family, financial insecurity, and anti-gay bias in the context of estate planning. The first section provides an overview of the current generation of gay and lesbian elders, including a summary of pre-Stonewall history and existing demographic information. The second section outlines the challenges associated with drafting an estate plan that favors chosen family over next of kin. The third section engages the topic of financial insecurity, discussing various benefits and government programs, such as social security and Medicaid planning. The fourth and final section discusses why an integrated elder care plan is an essential component of estate planning for gay and lesbian elders and how anti-gay bias and homophobia can threaten to derail even the most well designed estate plan. A brief conclusion notes that estate planning is at best an imperfect solution to a much larger problem because significant legal and policy reform will be necessary to ensure equity and dignity in aging regardless of sexual orientation.

Public Policy & Aging Report: Integrating LGBT Older Adults into Aging Policy & Practice - Summer 2011
Source: SAGE / National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
Content Type: PDF report
This issue, cosponsored by SAGE, explores several topics related to LGBT aging, including the absence of research and public policies devoted to LGBT populations; the failure of existing broad-based aging policies to incorporate LGBT needs and interests; the need for cultural competency training among services personnel; coalition work between organizations working with LGBT and elders of color to advance common policy goals; and the profound implications of a demographic estimate showing that one in two Americans living with HIV will be 50 and older by 2015. The issue also gives an overview of the current state of LGBT aging policy and advocacy, and highlights important new research from a landmark nationwide study of LGBT older adults and their health.

Resources on Older Persons Living with HIV
Source: Resource Center on LGBT Aging
Content Type: Web site
LGBT older adults living with HIV also face other risk factors that can lead to poorer health outcomes. For example, 80% of LGBT older people with HIV live alone, compared to 67% of older heterosexuals living with HIV. The effects of such social isolation include depression, poor nutrition and premature mortality. Fear of discrimination often prevents LGBT elders from seeking the health care they need until it is too late. In addition, HIV prevention and intervention messages ignore LGBT older people or assume that older people are not sexually active.

LGBT Older Adults in Long Term Care Facilities: Refusal to Accept Medical Power of Attorney
Source: National Senior Citizens Law Center
Content Type: Webpage
A Medical Power of Attorney, also known as a Health Care Proxy, is a legally binding document that allows individuals to designate an agent to make health-care decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated. This document protects a resident from mistreatment by biological family members who may make medical decisions contrary to their wants and needs.

Movement Advancement Project
Source: Movement Advancement Project
Content Type: Webpage
The Movement Advancement Project started in 2006. It is an independent think tank that provides research, insight, and analysis that help secure equal rights for the LGBT community.

Finding LGBT-Friendly Care
Source: AARP
Content Type: Article
Provides a list of resources that can be used when finding care services for LGBT elders.

LGBT Aging and other research
Source: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Content Type: Webpage
Links to ongoing research reports on aging and non-aging topics.

LGBT Advocate Sees Hurdles Ahead
Source: AARP
Content Type: Article
Discusses the challenges LGBT elders could face if policies are not changed/altered in the near future. Some of these hurdles include basic health care, caregiving issues, financial (in)security, social isolation, and access to various aging services.

Medicaid guidance for same sex couples
Source: CMS
Content Type: PDF guidance letter
CMS issued a letter to State Medicaid Directors today regarding same sex partners and Medicaid liens, transfers of assets, and estate recovery. This letter informed directors of the options available and flexibilities regarding same sex couples.

Williams Institute Collection of Demographic Data on LGBT population
Source: The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law
Content Type: Web page
Williams Institute - numerous studies on demographics, poverty, race in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community.

Legal Issues for LGBT Caregivers
Source: Assist Guide Information Services
Content Type: Website
For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) persons of any age-and especially for older adults-certain legal and financial issues become increasingly important. These determine who has the responsibility to provide care, the power to make medical decisions, and the legal authority to utilize financial resources on someone's behalf if he or she is incapacitated. As a caregiver to a partner, friend or family member, it is essential to discuss with the care recipient what legal protections are available and become familiar with the limitations of these protections. Since most states do not recognize LGBT committed relationships, referred to here as same-sex relationships or domestic partnerships, LGBT couples need to complete certain legal documents prior to incapacity. Some members of the LGBT community rely on their “family of choice,” a group of trusted and valued friends who provide care and support during an illness. However, without legal protections in place, these relationships might not be legally recognized, and could easily be questioned or contested by a biological family member. It is imperative that LGBT caregivers and care recipients understand relevant local, state and federal laws and act to secure legal protections.

Take the Power: tools for life planning for LGBT adults
Source: Lambda Legal
Content Type: Website with links to fact sheets
We're constantly making plans-to finish school, get a better job, find ways to save money and make time for family. Creating plans helps us reach our goals and organize life's priorities. Of course, there are some areas of life planning that we tend to put off because they seem complex or unpleasant-drawing up a will, for example, or deciding who will make medical decisions in the event of an emergency. Nevertheless, it's necessary that everyone take steps to plan for these events. Lambda Legal has prepared this toolkit, so that you can take the power and create a more secure future for yourself and your family.

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
Source: SAGE
Content Type: Website
Program home page of AoA funded National Resource Center on LGBT Resource Center. Information for providers, organizations and indicviduals. 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. Established in 2010 through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides training, technical assistance and educational resources to aging providers, LGBT organizations and LGBT older adults. The center is led by Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in partnership with 10 leading organizations from around the country.

Funeral Planning for LGBT Adults
Source: Lambda Legal
Content Type: PDF tip sheet
Funeral planning falls to the “legal next of kin” anyone in a long term non-martil relationship needs to take affirmative steps to assure that the family of choice is not excluded from funeral and burial arrangements.

White House Memorandum on Hospital Visitation and Health Care Surrogates
Source: White House.gov
Content Type: PDF of White House Memo
On April 15, 2010 President Barack Obama issued a memo directing HHS to promulgate regulations requiring all hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding to allow patients to designate anyone as a visitor and to honor advance directives naming the patients’ choice as a health care surrogate without regard to familial status of the surrogate.

Planning with Purpose Legal Basics for LGBT Elders
Source: National Center on Lesbian Rights
Content Type: Pdf booklet
Consumer guide to common legal challenges faced by older LGBT adults.

Lifelines: Documents to Protect You and Your Family
Source: National Center on Lesbian Rights
Content Type: Pdf booklet
A consumer guide to advance directives and estate planning for LGBT families.

Three Legs on the Ground: Retirement Income Essentials for LGBT Adults
Source: American Society on Aging Content
Content Type: Article
This article stresses the importance of financial planning for LGBT seniors, emphasizing social security, pensions, and savings and investments.