THE LATEST: We supported a coalition of organizations led by Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders  (“SAGE”) in responding to proposed revisions to the Older Americans Act Regulations to highlight the importance of addressing the unique needs of LGBTQI+ older adults, as well as older people living with HIV/AIDS, through the submission of a comment letter on August 15, 2023. 

BACKGROUND: Lifetime disparities in earnings, employment, and retirement saving opportunities put LGBTQI+ older adults at risk of financial instability and poverty. Many LGBTQI+ older adults are forced to rely on institutional and professional care and support; they are also more likely to live alone and less likely to have children to help them. This isolation from traditional family support while aging results in a significant need for informal care and support.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL) implements programs authorized by and funded through the Older Americans Act (OAA) that provide essential support to LGBTQI+ older adults. ACL has recently proposed changes that advance the purpose of the OAA, further centering equitable service of older adults and family caregivers from underserved and marginalized communities. That includes the explicit mention of LGBTQI+ older adults and those living with HIV/AIDS in ACL’s definition of a population with greatest social need.

Some of the suggestions in SAGE’s submission in response to the proposed rule include: 

  • ACL should support the adoption of a minimum eligibility age other than 60 years old for older adults living with HIV/AIDS to qualify for benefits and services under the OAA;
  • ACL should consider additional examples of “best available data” that capture the experiences of LGBTQI+ older adults and those living with HIV/AIDS;
  • ACL thoughtfully expands the “family caregiver” definition in a way that recognizes the lived realities of LGBTQI+ chosen families; and more.

The comment also outlines several unmet needs for ACL’s consideration in future rulemaking.

Read the full submission here.