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Legal Assistance Developer

Authorizing legislation: Title VII, Chapter 4, Section 731 of the Older Americans Act, as amended.

The Purpose of the Program and How it Works

Title VII of the OAA requires each state to appoint a legal assistance developer (LAD). Similar to a state Long-term Care Ombudsman, the LAD is responsible for developing and coordinating the state’s legal services and elder rights programs. The LAD’s role is becoming even more crucial as states begin to move toward integrated legal and aging service delivery models that strive to create a seamless interface among provider networks on legal issues impacting older persons.

Under the OAA, the LAD Is directly involved in the promotion and enhancement of:

  • State leadership in securing and maintaining the legal rights of older individuals
  • State capacity for coordinating the provision of legal assistance
  • State capacity to provide technical assistance, training and other
    supportive functions to area agencies on aging, legal assistance providers, ombudsmen, and other persons, as appropriate
  • State capacity to promote financial management services for older
    individuals at risk of conservatorship
  • State capacity to assist older individuals in understanding their rights, exercising choices, benefiting from services and opportunities authorized by law, and maintaining the rights of older individuals at risk of guardianship
  • State capacity to improve the quality and quantity of legal services
    provided to older individuals

Title VII, Section 705(a), calls on states to develop plans that contain elder rights provisions, which prioritize statewide activities, to ensure that older persons have access to, and assistance in, securing and maintaining their benefits and rights. The LAD can play a key role in designing and implementing the elder rights provisions of state plans. More broadly, LADs may also be involved in activities that promote the creation of comprehensive, cost effective, and well integrated legal service delivery systems that enhance access to those elders in the most social and economic need.

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Data Highlight Extensive Services Provided to Seniors

Data on the LAD program is not available at this time.

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Funding History

Funding history is not available at this time.

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Resources and Useful links

Directory of LADs by State