Between the signing of Assembly Bill 663 by California Governor Jerry Brown and the Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been given a sense of financial security they never had before.

According to ABC News San Francisco , “one of the most significant benefits being offered now to same sex married couples is expanded social security benefits. The benefits received from Social Security alone would be equivalent to a half-million-dollar life insurance policy. Social security benefits are now also available for children and spouses of retired, disabled or deceased married gay workers.”

There are an estimated 1,100 new benefits available to same sex couples, including federal benefits, such as social security, tax and veterans benefits, which were previously reserved only for heterosexual couples.

In addition to new access to federal benefits, same sex couples will also benefit from the ground-breaking legislation that was signed by the California governor in October 2013 which ensures LGBT senior citizens will receive respectful and competent elder care.

As many of the trailblazers for fought for equal rights for the LGBT community become senior citizens, the new California law is will help them live out their final years with dignity by integrating LGBT cultural competency instruction into the regular training received by residential care facility administrators. Residential care administrators will learn about the unique needs of this community, including the isolation and discrimination many LGBT individuals have had to cope with throughout their lives.

California will now lead the United States in training professional caretakers to recognize the needs of this community. For more information about Social Security benefits for the LGBT community, please contact The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation.

If you or a family member is no longer able to maintain an independent lifestyle, please contact ElderLink to receive personalized recommendations for assisted living facilities, nursing homes and elder care services within California.