LGBTQ+ Americans Face Retirement Inequities

LGBTQ+ Americans Face Retirement Inequities


Pride Month is observed each June to mark the 1969 Stonewall Uprising that sparked the LGBTQ+  rights movement in the United States. Celebrations are centered around building community, recognizing the progress made towards equality, and honoring those who have made that progress possible. But Pride Month is also an opportunity to reflect on the work yet to be done, including the inequities that persist when it comes to the retirement income security of LGBTQ+ older adults. 

According to a new report from The National Council on Aging and the LeadingAge LTSS Center at UMass Boston, LGBTQ+ older adults earn less money and are more likely to have trouble paying their bills than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. Additionally, they are more likely to be forced into retirement due to health issues (NCOA reports that they are also more likely to face discrimination while seeking or receiving medical care).

Consequently, LGBTQ+ Americans are less likely to have confidence that they will have the financial ability to live comfortably throughout retirement. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, they are also less likely to have traditional pensions, which the Pension Rights Center has found contribute to greater financial security in retirement. 

These disparities persist regardless of marital status–the LGBT Aging Center reports that 50% of single LGBTQ+ older Americans believe that they will have to work beyond the typical retirement age, compared to 27% of single non-LGBTQ+ older Americans, and that older same-sex partnered couples have about 38% less income from retirement savings than heterosexual couples. 

These complex issues require multifaceted solutions, but by advocating for increased access to pensions and closing the healthcare gap for LGBTQ+ people, we can help make a secure retirement more accessible to all Americans, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Learn more about the history of Pride Month and explore resources for LGBTQ older adults.

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