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$1.4 Million in Grants to Enhance Access to Senior Legal Services
WASHINGTON, DC- The U.S. Administration on Aging announced today the award of over $1.4 million under the Legal Assistance Grants Program to support legal staff and specially trained volunteers who provide advice on legal questions or problems, distribute self-help materials, and refer older individuals to legal aid offices, pro-bono, or reduced-fee private attorneys who specialize in elder rights protection.
"These programs help to ensure that older Americans have access to critical information on a myriad of legal issues involving wills, guardianship, consumer matters, housing, powers of attorney, and health care concerns including Medicare and Medicaid,” says the Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina Carbonell. “This access to information helps to maintain a good quality of life and brings peace of mind to many seniors who would otherwise struggle with legal issues."
The following programs have been awarded new grants:
- AARP Foundation (Technical Assistance Project), Washington, DC $100,000
- Bay Area Legal Services, Tampa, FL $150,000
- Connecticut Legal Services, Inc., Middletown, CT $110,000
- Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. Lansing, MI $150,000
- Legal Aid of Nebraska, Omaha, NE $110,000
- Legal Services for the Elderly, New York, NY $150,000
- SeniorLaw Center, Philadelphia, PA $150,000
- Vermont Legal Aid, Burlington, VT $110,000
The following programs have received funding to continue their projects:
- Legal Services of Northern California Sacramento, CA $135,000
- New Hampshire Legal Assistance Manchester, NH $90,000
- Northwest Justice Project Seattle, WA $100,000
- Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corp. Hammond, LA $95,000
Currently, the Legal Assistance Grants Program includes seven newly-awarded projects, four on-going projects, and one newly-awarded technical assistance project. The program supports the development and testing of innovative ways to provide legal information and counseling to seniors, including self-help offices staffed by non-legal volunteers, interactive website assistance at community service agencies and libraries, and call centers which serve as the first point of contact in the statewide system of legal service delivery.
- Older Women's League, Gateway Chapter St. Louis, MO $149,972
- Pension Rights Center Washington, DC $346,000
AoA first funded pension counseling and information projects in 1992. The success of the original projects resulted in Congress incorporating the program permanently into the Older Americans Act. The program now includes six regional pension counseling projects, and a National Pension Assistance Resource Center, which provides legal consultation and training to pension counseling projects, State and Area Agencies on Aging, and legal services for the elderly providers. The Resource Center is also developing an Internet-based dataset of pension information and assistance resources and will use this data to launch a nationwide Internet initiative offering single point of entry access to pension assistance and referral.