Less than three months after the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare Foundation (NCF) in partnership with The LGBT Community Center of the Desert and the Mizell Senior Center will hold an important Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 to discuss Social Security benefits available to LGBT seniors.

Know Your Rights Initiative/ California encourages people ages 55 years and older, particularly those who are in same-sex marriages or contemplating a same-sex marriage to attend but all are welcome. The Town Hall will be held at the Mizell Senior Center beginning at 9 am with a complimentary continental breakfast at 8:30 am. To register for this event, email rights@thecenterps.org.

Inspired by the Windsor ruling, Know Your Rights Initiative/ California aims to educate LGBT elders about their potential enhanced benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Town Hall meeting is designed to educate attendees and motivate those eligible to file for potentially enhanced Social Security benefits. In 2014, the average increase in Social Security spousal benefits for a California same-sex married couple was between $600—700 a month.

Welcoming remarks will include a special video greeting from Congressman Raul Ruiz (CA-36), followed by a panel moderated by Mike Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, LGBT Community Center of the Desert, featuring U.S. government officials and local Palm Springs leaders. The following is a list of confirmed panelists for the morning event:

Steve Breen, Deputy Regional Commissioner, Social Security Administration – San Francisco Region
Web Phillips, Senior Policy Analyst, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
Eric Rudolph, Attorney, The Law Offices of Eric A. Rudolph
Janet Malachowsky, Associate Vice President, Financial Advisor, Portfolio Manager, Morgan Stanley  
Jill Gover, Ph.D., Director of Mental Health Services, LGBT Community Center of the Desert

Following the Windsor decision in June 2013 and the Obergefell decision in June 2015, many federal benefits became available to same-sex married couples, those most financially rewarding being Social Security. With an estimated 780,000 same-sex married couples in the U.S., the need to better understand these benefits and how to access them has increased significantly.

Every filing situation is different and many of the benefits depend on the work history of the spouses. Experts from local Social Security offices will be on-site at the event to help Town Hall attendees register for their own SSA account (MySSA.gov) that will allow them to keep up to date on their earned benefits. Knowledgeable staff will also be available after the event to answer individual questions about Social Security.

To register for the Town Hall, please email rights@thecenterps.org or call 760-416-7790.