Social Security and Medicare are two critical supports for most older Americans and older West Virginians, no matter their gender or sexual orientation. There are also some unique legal issues that LGBTQ+ seniors can face regarding eligibility for these benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a new web portal and some new information sheets targeting LGBTQ+ beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries.
Specifically there are some US Supreme Court cases that establish the rights of individuals in same-sex couples who have been wrongfully denied legal marriage, which can be the door that leads to eligibility for benefits. You can read more about how these cases have changed who can be eligible in this new fact sheet from SSA https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-17-019.pdf
SSA's new LGBTQ+ web portal, also available in Spanish, was published this month in celebration of Pride. Like other pages on the SSA website it is likely to continue to expand. https://www.ssa.gov/people/lgbtq/
We still have a long way to go to create real equity and fairness. West Virginia Senior Legal Aid is dedicated to providing legal assistance that promotes the autonomy of every senior, and we seek to do a better job servin LGBTQ+ senior West Virginians who can use our help. Any senior West Virginian age 60 or over can call us at 1-800-229-5068 to speak to a lawyer for free and to be treated with dignity and respect by all our staff.