MEDIA ADVISORY: UCSF Holds Symposium on Social Security Inequities for LBGT Families

WHAT: UC San Francisco will hold a special symposium, “Living Outside the Safety Net: LGBT Families & Social Security,” in which a panel of experts will discuss disparities in Social Security laws for same-sex couples and their children.

The forum will focus on a report issued in February 2013 by the Foundation of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Foundation of the Human Rights Campaign. The report highlights inequities in current Social Security laws and regulations for spouses and family members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and urges Congress to strengthen protections provided by Social Security to spouses and family members.

WHEN: June 3, 2013 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: UCSF Laurel Heights Auditorium; 3333 California Street, San Francisco.

WHO: The program will be moderated by journalist and author Belva Davis. Panelists include:

  • Carroll Estes, PhD, professor and founding director of the UCSF Institute for Health & Aging, and board chair of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare Foundation (NCPSSMF);
  • Seth Kilbourn, executive director of Openhouse, a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides housing and other services to San Francisco’s LGBT seniors;
  • Jay Leffew, a social justice advocate and parent;
  • Max Richtman, president and chief executive of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare;
  • Shane Snowdon, director of the health and aging program at the Human Rights Campaign;
  • Therese Stewart, chief deputy city attorney, San Francisco.

WHY: Research has shown a strong link between economic security and health, and Social Security plays a vital role in the lives of Americans. Under existing Social Security and federal law, same-sex married couples and their families are excluded from all but the most basic Social Security benefits. Experts say that one consequence is that many LGBT families are at higher risk of poverty and poorer health.

Children whose parents’ same-sex marriage is not legally recognized for Social Security purposes receive nothing when the non-biological or non-adoptive parent retires, dies or becomes disabled, even if that parent is the primary breadwinner for the family, according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. The organization also reports that an adult disabled child of a legally-unrecognized parent would forfeit, on average over 30 years, $254,102 in Social Security benefits; and on average, a same-sex married couple who has reached full retirement age forfeits $675 monthly or $8,100 annually in lost spousal benefits when only one member of the couple is insured for Social Security.     

To access the webcast:

The event is co-sponsored by UCSF, the Human Rights Campaign and the NCPSSMF.