HRC Marks Victory for Older LGB Americans

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration on Community Living (ACL) proposed a single change to the 2017 National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP) —the removal of a question relating to sexual orientation.  After receiving more than 14,000 comments, including 4,800 from HRC members and supporters — the vast majority urging that LGBTQ seniors be counted — the agency announced it would retain the question to help assess the needs of older LGBTQ Americans.

There are an estimated 1.5 million LGBTQ seniors living in America today, and this number is estimated to double by 2030. LGBTQ older adults are extremely vulnerable and face the challenges of age and illness often without the traditional support systems and legal protections other seniors take for granted. Studies have also shown that LGBTQ older adults are more likely to rely on community and governmental supports like those provided by the Older Americans Act than their straight counterparts due to this absence of family and the reliance on peer support networks. Comprehensive, uniform data collection is an essential tool to ensure that LGBTQ seniors have equal access to the federal programs and services that they’re entitled to.

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