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amount of employment income they receive. Due to state bans on marriage equality, members of same-sex couples are not recognized as surviving spouses or dependents, barring them from receiving surviving spouse benefits if their partners die. Although the invalidation of Section 3 of DOMA ends this problem in states that recognize the equality of same-sex marriage, state bans on marriage equality frequently force surviving partners to give up their residences, as they are unable to afford keeping them on their single and very limited incomes.  “…If you come to a household of seniors and you become a one-income household, the government does not recognize the retirement, Social Security, so there are no benefits for the surviving partner. And so they may go for a household income of three or four thousand dollars a month down to $700 and that’s just in general, for the LGBT community. And the fact that they are Hispanic, or any people of color, is likely to put them in the position to make less money through their working years.” (editor’s note: This statement was made before the Supreme Court ruled DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional. The federal government now provides full Social Security benefits to same-sex married couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage.) LGBT seniors may qualify for some existing housing programs if they meet income, age, and disability requirements. There are very few such programs, however, and there is a need for many more. Few LGBT Hispanic older adults qualify for Section 8 housing, but are unable to receive it, as many lack immigration status documentation or Social Security registration. Some LGBT Hispanic older adults who live in shelters are placed on waiting lists for subsidized housing, but are not advanced on the list if they are ill. Social service organizations offer support, and centers in Washington, DC and New York City offer services specifically to LGBT Hispanic older adults. In many other areas, however, LGBT aging services are not available. Some participants also identified shortage of information in Spanish as a barrier to the utilization of services. Some of the programs mentioned that aid LGBT Hispanic older adults include Andromeda, La Clinica del Pueblo, and Casa Ruby in Washington, DC. Casa Ruby does not receive government funds and is able to serve everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Andromeda focuses on providing mental health and HIV services for LGBT people. La Clinica del Pueblo is limited to accepting only HIV patients who have Social Security benefits. Health Challenges Among the many health challenges that Hispanic LGBT older adults face, the participants mentioned (1) limited affordability of services, when the utilization and degree of satisfaction differ depending on older adults’ insurance coverage; (2) low availability of culturally appropriate services; (3) overall poor physical and mental health status, including higher rates of substance abuse, depression, alcoholism, chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, lack of medications, loneliness, isolation, lack of exercise, and a higher risk of HIV infection and STDs. 30

In Their Own Words: Hispanic LGBT Older Adults  

This report was created by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in partnership with SAGE and sponsored by the Diverse Elder Coalit...

In Their Own Words: Hispanic LGBT Older Adults  

This report was created by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in partnership with SAGE and sponsored by the Diverse Elder Coalit...

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