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AoA Awards $700,000 to States to Help Seniors Access Legal Services

Coordinated Approaches will help Seniors Remain Independent

The Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration on Aging (AoA) awarded more than $700,000 to seven states to develop innovative ways to enhance access to low-cost legal services for seniors who are most in need. Awards of approximately $100,000 each were made to Connecticut , Kentucky , Florida , Michigan , Nevada , New Hampshire , and Pennsylvania to expand the “Model Approaches to Statewide Legal Systems” Program established by the AoA earlier in 2007.

The new awards will help promote the continued development of statewide legal services delivery systems that coordinate efforts of senior legal help lines, legal resources, private bar pro bono activities, law school clinics, and self - help sites to ensure maximum impact from limited resources.

“ Well-integrated aging and legal service delivery systems will enhance states' responses to critical threats facing elders who wish to remain independent. These threats include the loss of one's home through predatory lending and consumer scams, and the protection of essential benefits such as assisting with and access to disability benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and other public programs that promote safety and health,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell said. “We expect innovative service delivery models to emerge from these collaborative projects that can be replicated in other states that wish to increase legal services to those most in need.”

Effective coordination of legal service delivery systems will help connect the best possible low-cost legal resources in states and communities to help at-risk seniors avoid legal pitfalls that may threaten their independence and direct them to important benefits and protections that can enhance their quality of life.

Upon completion of the three-year grant period, the seven states will present cost-effective examples of well-integrated legal services delivery systems and strategies that increase overall service access for elders. In addition to today's new awards, the following states received funding earlier in 2007 to continue their Model Approaches projects: Alabama , Idaho , Iowa , Maryland , North Dakota , and Virginia .

For more information about the U.S. Administration on Aging, visit http://www.aoa.gov

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging (AoA), works with a nationwide network of organizations and service providers to develop a comprehensive and cost-effective system of long-term care that helps elderly individuals maintain their independence and dignity in their homes and communities. For more information about the AoA, please contact: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, Washington, D.C. 20201, Phone (202) 401-4541.