Existing law is unfair to same-sex couples seeking earned benefits

Although private businesses and many local and state governments recognize the rights, citizenship and contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the federal government has failed to update its laws and regulations on Social Security benefits for spouses and families.

While the US Supreme Court prepares its rulings on cases that could strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation join the University of California, San Francisco to offer a 90 minute symposium on the report the two groups have authored, entitled “Living Outside the Safety Net – LGBT Families & Social Security.”

The report shows that while the Congress has consistently updated and improved Social Security benefits since the program’s inception in 1935, the Defense of Marriage Act has prevented recognition of LGBT families for Social Security family and spousal benefits that virtually all Americans have earned through their contributions. The result is that same-sex couples and their families are unfairly excluded from all but the most basic Social Security benefits. This exclusion inevitably leads to poorer health among these families because of the link between good health and adequate income.

“This is simply a matter of fairness. Anyone paying into the Social Security system should be entitled to the same benefits as anyone else, regardless of lifestyle. It’s long past time that federal law is changed to meet reality.” – Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee.

Legislation to amend Social Security law designed to extend full benefits to LGBT families was introduced by Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-38) in the 112th Congress. The symposium at the University of California, San Francisco will detail the report, discuss the shortcomings and discriminatory aspects of existing law and what should be done to change it.

A Symposium on Living Outside the Safety Net – LGBT Families and Social SecurityWHEN:
June 3, 2013    1pm – 2:30pm

Laurel Heights UCSF Campus, Laurel Heights Auditorium
3333 California St.
San Francisco, CA

Belva Davis
, Broadcast Journalist and Author, Moderator of the panel, Carroll Estes, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Sociology and Founding and first Director of the Institute for Health & Aging at UCSF and Board Chair of the NCPSSMF,Max Richtman, President and CEO of The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Shane Snowdon, Director of Health & Aging at the HRCF and past Director of UCSF LGBT Center for Health and Equity, Jay Leffew, a social justice advocate whose adopted son Daniel recently gained visibility through his YouTube message to Chief Justice Roberts urging the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. Jay and his husband, Bryan, live in Santa Rosa, California. Therese M. Stewart, Chief Deputy City Attorney City & County of San Francisco, who has been in the forefront of arguing for same-sex marriage throughout her career before the California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court.    
With millions of members and supporters across America, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is the nation’s # 1 advocacy group fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare for all citizens from younger workers and baby-boomers to the nation’s 40 million seniors. The National Committee informs its members and other citizens about legislative and regulatory proposals, which will affect their working and retirement life. In turn, we take their concerns directly to the White House and the Congress with our staff of professional lobbyists and grassroots advocates.

For more information about the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, call 1-800-966-1935.\

###The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters. The National Committee also advocates in the electoral arena through the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare PAC, a separate and segregated fund.

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