Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Strengthening NYC’s LGBTQ Senior Support Network

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.78-A/A.7855) that changes the program administered by the New York State Office for the Aging to support older New Yorkers. This law clarifies that the Older Americans Act of 1965, which directs funding and services to “greatest social need”, includes consideration of barriers or isolation caused by racial and ethnic status, l orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV status. These factors are non-economic factors that can impact an older person’s ability to perform normal daily tasks and this bill will ensure that these factors are used to guide services to support each person’s ability to live independently.

“As governor, one of my top priorities is to ensure that all New Yorkers receive the care and support they need, regardless of their identity,” Governor Hochul said. “There is a drastic inequity in physical and mental care for older adults in the LGBTQ community, and this legislation is an important step in addressing those inequities while helping to ensure that older LGBTQ New Yorkers receive the same respect and the same support as anyone else in the state.”

Currently, federal law requires state plans that administer Older Americans Act (OAA) programs and services to target populations in rural areas, with multiple disabilities, limited English proficiency, those with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, those at risk of institutionalization, those in the most economic need and those in the most social need.

According to SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), LGBTQ older adults often lack traditional sources of support and care, tend to have poorer physical and mental health, and higher rates of poverty. than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. , and face pronounced cultural and social isolation due to a decades-long experience of real and perceived discrimination.

The 1965 Federal OAA does not explicitly include LGBTQ seniors in its guidelines. Through the act’s guidelines, states can include LGBTQ older adults in their state plans for administering OAA programs and services, and this legislation will codify their inclusion, as well as older adults living with the HIV as populations of “greatest social need” in New York. State Elder Act. New York will join other states that already recognize the unique social needs of this population, such as California and Illinois, and ensure that New York State provides LGBTQ seniors with the services and supports they need. need as they age.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “The Federal Seniors Act is one of the most important vehicles for providing our seniors with the resources to lead dignified lives, and we must ensure that New York administers the law holistically. Our proposed law (S.78A) with Assemblyman Bronson ensures that non-economic factors – such as physical or mental disability, language barriers, and cultural or social isolation caused by racial and ethnic status, l orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV scats – are considered by the state Thank you Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins ​​for bringing this bill to the vote and to Governor Hochul for signing our bill into law today.

Assemblyman Harry B. Bronson said: “I want to thank my colleague, Senator Hoylman and Governor Hochul for making sure this important piece of legislation becomes law. The Seniors Act affects everyone – seniors, people who support them to their needs and all of us who hope to grow old also underlies the promise to uphold the right to live independently, with dignity, making daily decisions based on our individual preferences and goals throughout our lives. That promise is more important than ever, and this legislation will help fulfill that promise to many more New Yorkers.”

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