Tag Archives: elder abuse

Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Removes LGBT Seniors From Annual Survey


Via NBC News reports:

Advocates are outraged that questions about LGBTQ seniors have suddenly been removed from an annual survey that determines services for elderly Americans. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) uses the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP) to decide how to allocate federal funding to groups that work with the elderly.

For years, LGBTQ groups lobbied to have the survey include questions that would help identify the amount of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elderly people who live in the U.S. and participate in services.

In 2014, questions about sexual orientation and gender identity were added to the survey — helping researchers determine the U.S. is home to about 3 million LGBTQ people over the age of 55. The Trump administration released a draft of the 2017 survey, with only one noticeable change from previous years: The LGBTQ questions are gone.

SAGE responds:  (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders)

Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) announced today that it is launching a nationwide effort to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed erasure of LGBT elders from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP). Specifically, SAGE opposes changes that would eliminate questions that allow the federal government to assess the extent to which LGBT older adults are receiving federally funded elder services. According to a March 13 notice in the Federal Register, those questions (which have been included in the Survey since 2014) are proposed for elimination in the 2017 Survey. This is the only change the Trump Administration proposes to the Survey.

This annual survey is conducted by the federal government to evaluate the effectiveness of programs funded under Title III of the Older Americans Act, including who is being served by such programs. Results from the survey are used to determine how to direct billions of dollars toward older people’s needs through publicly funded senior centers, home-delivered meals, family caregiver support, transportation, and other key supports.

Community advocates have made inclusion of LGBT people in government surveys a top priority as a way of ensuring that they are counted and that those in need receive their fair share of taxpayer-funded services. This is especially true for the more than 3 million LGBT older Americans, who often confront severe challenges, including intense social isolation. LGBT elders are twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single, and 3-4 times less likely to have children to help care for them in their later years; many are estranged from their families of origin as a result of historical bias. LGBT elders, who suffer from the accumulated results of a lifetime of discrimination, are more likely to live in poverty than older Americans in general, and more likely to struggle with serious health conditions.


Greedy Relatives Try To Seize Elderly Gay Man’s Home After Partner Of 55 Years Passes Away In NYC

Greedy Relatives Try To Sieze Elderly Gay Man's Home After Partner Of 55 Years Passes Away In NYC

Tom Doyle (pictured above) and his partner, Bill Cornwell, lived together in a three-story West Village brownstone for 55 years. Now that Cromwell has passed his greedy relatives are contesting the will, a legal battle that could force Doyle out of the home the men shared which is valued in todays market at over 7 million dollars.

Cornwell, who passed away at the age of 88 in 2014, left Doyle everything in his will. There was, though, just one problem: The document was only signed by one person—Doyle’s niece, Sheila McNichols. Without a second signature on the will, it’s legally invalid. That means that claims on the home goes to his next of kin.

Cornwell’s family, thus, argue that they have a legal right to own, operate, or sell the building if they so please.

“He had 50 years to put Tom’s name on any of these papers,” Carole DeMaio, Cornwell’s niece told The New York Times. “The will was never a valid will.” DeMaio further claimed that the two—despite their many years of cohabitation—were never a couple. She said that they were just “friends” or “great companions.”

“I’m not so concerned about the money, I’m more concerned about a roof over my head for the rest of my life, and I wouldn’t have to be in a nursing home,” Mr. Doyle, 85, said, as he sat outside the cluttered one-bedroom apartment he shared with Mr. Cornwell. “As long as I am here, I have all the familiar surroundings. It’s almost as if Bill is still here.”

Another issue is that the men, who lived most of their life together at a time when same-sex marriage was illegal, never wed.

Wedding rings were purchased at the time gay marriage became legal in New York State, but never used. Going to City Hall to get married felt like a strain to the couple, particularly for Mr. Cornwell, who had heart problems, Mr. Doyle said. And, after so much time together, it also felt unnecessary.

One niece of Mr. Cromwell’s, Shelia McNichols, had attempted to abide by her uncle’s wishes by assigning her piece of the inheritance to Mr. Doyle, but the rest of Mr. Cornwell’s relatives chose not to go along, and instead offered a contract that would allow him to remain in thier garden-level apartment, at a rent of $10 a month, for five years. He would also receive $250,000 from the eventual sale of the building after he filed suit against them  in the  Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan, asserting his claim to the building.

Arthur Z. Schwartz, a lawyer who is representing Mr. Doyle, said there was legal precedent claiming that the two men were in a “common law marriage’’ — even though New York State does not legally recognize such arrangements. But Pennsylvania, which the couple visited in 1991 to buy their dog Bingo — a symbol of their commitment — did recognize common law marriages until 2005, the suit argues. As a result, Pennsylvania law at the time should apply.

The situation has left Tom Doyle frightened, feeling a loss of control over his life and suspicious of people he once considered his extended family. “It’s as if I’ve been deserted,’’ he said. “I don’t hate them, but they are fighting over what is legally mine and Bill’s.’