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LGBT Older Adults and Social Security

September 2010 | Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), Movement Advancement Project (MAP)

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LGBT older adults are not eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, survivor benefits, or death benefits. This disparate treatment is especially unjust because Social Security benefits are not freely given; they are based on the contributions people make throughout their working lives—and LGBT people work and pay into Social Security in the same manner as their heterosexual counterparts. The lack of equal Social Security benefits contributes to higher poverty rates among older same-sex couples and significantly reduces their retirement income, potentially leaving a surviving same-sex spouse without a living-wage income. One of eleven issue briefs based on the SAGE/MAP report Improving the Lives of LGBT Older Adults.


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