29 posts categorized "News Roundup"

December 12, 2013

Social Security Update: Check out same-sex couples benefits!

2212726UPDATE: On December 16, 2013, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, released a new statement on payments to same-sex married couples. Read it now.

As 2013 draws to a close, we want to highlight some important changes in Social Security that affects all older adults—including the LGBT community! Check out the following and stay informed. For a large list of Social Security resources and articles geared to LGBT older adults, visit the resource page at the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

News from the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • The SSA announced on October 30, 2013 that for people who already receive a monthly Social Security benefit, the monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 1.5% in 2014.  The 1.5%cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 57 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2014.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2013.
  • Social Security is now processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. In the coming weeks and months, SSA will work with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. If you know someone who you believe may be eligible for Social Security benefits, we encourage you to tell them to apply now to protect against the loss of any potential benefits. The SSA will process claims as soon as additional instructions become finalized.  Information also will be posted on a web page dedicated to issues relevant to same-sex couples.  
  • The SSA is encouraging people to apply for a My Social Security account.  For people who already receive a monthly Social Security and/or SSI cash benefit, they may use their account to get proof of their monthly income without having to call or visit a local Social Security office!  They’ll also be able to change their address and direct deposit online!  If you need help, the SSA has created two fact sheets on creating an account and verifying benefits.

Interested in learning more? The official website of the Social Security Administration has a plethora of information about various programs and benefits with easy to follow instructions and guides.

 

December 10, 2013

International Human Rights Day: LGBT Around the World

MandelaquoteIn 1993, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights. This declaration reaffirmed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter and remains a blueprint for reaffirming human rights as a universal standard throughout the world. Today is International Human Rights Day and the U.N. is marking the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declration. We recognize this day for its affect on promoting all freedoms--civil, political, economical, social and cultural--under a large umbrella. While sad, it almost seems appropriate that this day also marks the memorial to Nelson Mandela--that tireless fighter for human rights.

On this day, many are making a call for renewing a committment to LGBT rights. While we have much to celebrate in 2013, there is still progress to be made, both in the United States and around the world.

In the United States, 16 states have legal same-sex marriage and 33 states have same-sex marriage bans. Also, 21 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 17 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression. We have to remember that these stats don't encompass the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community every day in their schools, places of work or where they live.

According to Stonewall UK, "being gay is illegal in 78 countries across the world and being a lesbian is illegal in 49. In five countries same-sex sexual activity carries the death penalty.
Even where it’s legal to be gay other laws often stand in the way of equality. In some cases gay pride marches are not allowed and neither is literature that ‘promotes homosexuality’ - which often means it simply states its existence." Another breakdown from 76Crimes, lists 78 (plus 4) countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by LGBTI people.

On this International Human Rights Day, SAGE joins the chorus in calling for a better recognition of human rights for our community around the world and commends the work of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. We encourage folks to watch this excellent video from the United Nations and share.

 

December 1, 2013

Recognizing World AIDS Day

WAD-logo-2013In recognition of World AIDS Day, SAGE honors those who we have lost to the disease and all people currently living and caring for those who have HIV/AIDS.  Considering that research indicates that by 2015 half of the people living with HIV in the U.S. will be over 50 years old, this is an issue that SAGE is deeply involved in, both in the services we offer and the federal policy work we do in conjunction with AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) and Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). 

Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation," this year's theme, focuses on the strides made with preventative care and treatment with the goal of ending this devastating epidemic. Watch the video below from UNAIDS for a hopeful message from Executive Director Michel Sidibé and read on for more links about the day.

October 25, 2013

The 2013 SAGE Awards & Gala

On October 21, 2013, SAGE staff, board, supporters and constitutents gathered at Gotham Hall in NYC to celebrate another year of providing services and advocacy to LGBT older adults. We all extend a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to the honorees and supporters of the 18th Annual SAGE Awards & Gala.  With your support, we were able to exceed our fundraising goal of $500,000! Our honorees included the amazing Roberta Kaplan, Jay Lesiger, Chris Kann and Jewish Home Lifecare for all of the work they do on behalf of our LGBT older adult population.

October 4, 2013

Resources for Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplaces

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It’s day 4 of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplaces, and by many accounts, interest in the Marketplaces is high. If you’re thinking about getting coverage, but aren’t sure what to do, SAGE’s Health Insurance Action Center is a good place to start. In addition, there are many resources online to help you navigate the application process, figure out what kind of paperwork you need, and help you choose the right plan for you—the most comprehensive of these sites is Healthcare.gov.*

Here are a few other resources that can help you understand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how the Marketplaces work. If you need health insurance, you can take your time to research all your options—the open enrollment period doesn’t end until March 31, 2014.

*If you visit Healthcare.gov, you may encounter a “wait page” because traffic to the site has been high. Please note that this is a hold page – it is not an error page.  Please be patient, wait on that page to ensure that the system works when you get in, and don’t reload your browser. 

September 19, 2013

The Road Ahead: SAGE’s New Strategic Plan

Michael-AdamsToday's blog post is written by SAGE Executive Director, Michael Adams.

I am proud to introduce SAGE’s new strategic plan, The Road Ahead.

As our prior 5-year plan wound down, SAGE celebrated many accomplishments, such as the successful opening of The SAGE Center, the first publicly-funded LGBT senior center; raising the profile of LGBT aging issues at the federal policy level; vastly expanding our nationwide network of affiliates; and launching the country’s first and only LGBT aging resource center. We also explored what still needs to be done, and came to the inescapable conclusion that while we have accomplished a great deal in recent years to improve the quality of life for LGBT older people, much remains to be done.

SAGE_STRATEGIC-PLAN_Final2-1To build on the exciting advances made over the past 5 years and address the vast challenges that remain, this spring SAGE’s Board of Directors adopted a visionary Strategic Framework to guide the next phase of the organization’s work.  Over the next 3 years, SAGE intends to deepen its federal policy work and its affiliate reach to achieve true national impact for the LGBT aging field.  SAGE’s efforts will continually emphasize inclusion of all LGBT older adults—regardless of where they live, and especially for those LGBT elders who have been most marginalized and are most in need of support. We will deepen our commitment to model service provision for LGBT older adults by adapting our services so that they are responsive to health and long-term care trends, evaluating and pinpointing which services are most effective, and using the resulting data to help replicate those services through our affiliate network. As the country’s largest repository of expertise on LGBT aging, SAGE will focus on knowledge-sharing by bolstering our one-of-a-kind National Resource Center on LGBT Aging to continue training aging providers around the country and by providing LGBT older people with the information they need to plan for the future. And having catalyzed a fast-growing LGBT aging field in recent years, SAGE will now focus on sustaining that growth by encouraging and supporting the work of our partners, leveraging strategic alliances, harnessing trends in health care and other sectors to build self-supporting LGBT aging work, and strengthening SAGE’s own infrastructure and support. 

It’s 2013 and we at SAGE are determined to once again change the game for LGBT older adults across the country.  Thank you for your ongoing support as we ramp up our work to turn our Plan into reality.

To read The Road Ahead in your browser, use the Issuu Reader below.

September 17, 2013

SAGE Mourns Ever Orozco, 69-Year-Old Man Killed in Anti-LGBT Attack in Jackson Heights, NY

Sage_logo_eblastServices and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) expressed sadness and outrage that Ever Orozco, a 69-year-old man, has died following an alleged anti-LGBT attack in Jackson Heights, NY. (Read the news report here.) The attacker, 22-year-old Steven Torres, reportedly told police that he attacked Orozco because he believed the older man was gay. This is the third reported instance of an anti-LGBT homicide in New York City this year, and the first of an older person. Torres has been charged with murder as a hate crime, and is also being charged in another anti-LGBT attack against a 47-year-old man that occurred last week.

Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE, said, “I am outraged and heartbroken about the murder of Ever Orozco. Any instance of violence motivated by hatred against LGBT people is shameful, and even more so when directed at the most vulnerable members of our community. No one who is LGBT, including our elders, should live in fear of being attacked or losing their life simply for being who they are.”

SAGE offers community, support and safe spaces for LGBT older New Yorkers through The SAGE Center; call 212-741-2247 for more information. SAGE is a proud community partner of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), which is organizing a Community Safety Night on Friday, September 20, 2013 in Jackson Heights, NY.  Visit facebook.com/sageusa for more information.

In addition, AVP offers a free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1141, where callers can report any instances of violence they have witnessed, and speak with a trained counselor for support. Violence can also be reported anonymously online at avp.org/get-help/report-violence.

 

September 3, 2013

Congrats to Diana Nyad on Her Epic Swim

SAGE congratulates Diana Nyad on completing her historic swim from Cuba to Florida! Not only is she role model for the LGBT community, but her positive attitude on aging is a joy to watch.

Listen to Diana talk about how at 64 she is at "the prime of her life." A great message to us all!

August 21, 2013

Victories Large and Small: Five Years of Program Wins for LGBT Older Adults

Today’s post is from Catherine Thurston, Senior Director for Programs at SAGE.

SageMatters_summer2013This past June, the LGBT community across the country (and around the world) celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the days following the decision, I heard many SAGE constituents say that this was as seminal a moment for the LGBT civil rights movement as the Stonewall Riots 45 years ago—and that they felt privileged to have witnessed both events. There is no doubt that this is true, and we at SAGE celebrated that victory joyously, especially because we have a long and deep relationship with the wonderful Edie Windsor. Yet as I thought about what SAGE has accomplished in these last five years, I realized that for the LGBT older adults we engage, SAGE has led victories that, while not as publicized, have been life-changing all the same. Here are four areas where LGBT older adults have seen—and helped make—significant  changes in their lives and in their systems of support:

Continue reading "Victories Large and Small: Five Years of Program Wins for LGBT Older Adults" »

August 15, 2013

HHS awards $67 million to Navigators and recognizes SAGE as part of the 'Champions for Coverage' Network

Sec-bio-picKathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced $67 million in grant awards to 105 Navigator grant applicants in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. The full press release highlights new resources available to consumers to navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace. In addition to the Navigators, a full list of 'Champions for Coverage' was released. These Champions will be crucial in helping Americans with the upcoming health insurance changes.

SAGE is proud to be recognized as part of the ‘Champions for Coverage’ network—a series of organizations and business dedicated to helping people understand the options for coverage and navigating the system. We will be providing workshops and online information to help LGBT older adults understand the options in the marketplace. In the meantime, HHS is providing 24-hour helplines via the Internet and phone—with a call center staff boasting 150 different languages!

The Navigators will help consumers directly in providing unbiased information on a variety of health insurance and government programs in a culturally competent manner and also help enroll those consumers if needed. SAGE recognizes our Diverse Elders Coalition member, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), for being chosen as a Navigators in Dade County, Florida, and Dallas County, Texas.  NCHOA will be responsible for enrolling the uninsured Hispanic population in these two counties with a focus on members of this population that are socially isolated due to cultural and linguistic differences. A full list of Navigators can be found here.