New York Law To Improve Services For LGBT Seniors

Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has signed into law a bill requiring New York state to better assess the needs of elders from underserved communities, including the LGBT community. Specifically, the law (S01303) requires the New York State Office of the Aging (NYSOFA) to report annually on what services are working or need to be expanded for seniors whose access is impaired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, among other dimensions of identity that are protected. The bill also authorizes the director of NYSOFA to fund training, outreach, and education to provide improved services for LGBT elders. A 2010 study shows that LGBT elders are particularly vulnerable to inequitable treatment and face greater obstacles to obtaining the care they deserve. This law hopefully will start to uncover solutions to these disparities as well as address the discrimination elders face in senior centers and care facilities.