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Contact: AoA Press Office
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

States Awarded $700,000 for Enhanced Access to Legal Services for Older Americans

Coordinated legal service delivery will help older Americans remain Independent

HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee has announced the award of $700,000 to seven states to help at-risk older Americans have better access legal services.

Awards of $100,000 each were made to legal service provider organizations in Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. These grants will bring aging and legal service delivery systems together to improve efforts to protect the independence, health, and financial security of older adults. Many older individuals are facing critical threats to their independence, including the loss of their homes through foreclosure, the destruction of nest eggs through consumer scams, the risk of elder abuse, the challenges in accessing important public benefits, as well as the prevalence of health care fraud and financial exploitation.

“We know there are older adults who need legal assistance from time to time. This can be overwhelming as well as costly especially on a fixed income,” said Assistant Secretary Greenlee. “As a former elder law attorney, I know first hand that these programs help at-risk older adults and their caregivers avoid and address legal situations that may threaten their independence and quality of life.”

The grantees will work to develop statewide legal service delivery systems that coordinate efforts of senior legal help-lines, pro-bono attorneys, law school clinics, self-help sites, and Older Americans Act-funded legal services providers to ensure maximum impact from limited resources. The target populations are underserved seniors, with particular emphasis upon low-income, minority, rural, homebound, Native American, and limited-English speaking older individuals.

Through the “Model Approaches to Statewide Legal Assistance Systems” (Model Approaches) demonstration grants, the Administration on Aging (AoA) assists states in integrating help-lines and other low-cost legal assistance mechanisms as critical, permanent, and sustained components of comprehensive legal services delivery programs across the country. Upon completion of the three-year grant period, the Model Approaches projects will present cost-effective examples of well-integrated legal services delivery systems and strategies that increase overall service access for elders. It is anticipated that innovative service delivery models will emerge from these collaborative projects that can be replicated in other states that wish to target scarce resources and increase legal services to seniors in greatest social or economic need.

The Administration on Aging has now funded 31 Model Approaches projects to date. More information about AoA services and programs may be found at For more information on AoA’s Legal Services programs, please visit: