The State Council on Aging, a governor appointed council, recently gave the Excellence in Action Award to Senior Legal Advice Clinic at the recent Washington State Senior Citizens’ Foundation 2017 Fall Conference. More than 380 people attended the conference and heard from key statewide policy makers about issues impacting older Americans. (See www.waseniorlobby.org/2017-fall-conference-recap).
The Senior Legal Advice Clinic is the only one of its kind in Washington state. Mark Harvey, Olympic Area Agency on Aging (O3A) Regional Director, has led the efforts of the O3A Information and Assistance staff and local attorneys who make it work.
The Olympic Area Agency on Aging serves older adults and adults with disabilities so they can stay in a home of their choice in Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, and Pacific Counties. Staffers coordinate the Medicaid network of in-home and community services and supports to assist older adults and adults with disabilities in Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties.
Most of the seniors who use the SLAC services are seeking legal advice on very simple wills, power of attorneys, transfer of assets, incapacity planning, landlord/tenant rights, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Many face multiple challenges of survival, financial, health, and housing needs. For the past three years, the O3A SLAC lawyers have provided over 1,179 hours of legal services to 1,015 clients.
O3A Information and Assistance staff manage the clinic schedules and appointments, complete pre-screening the clients prior to the appointments and manage the busy flow of clients through the appointments on Senior Legal Advice Clinic days. Attorneys agree to staff the clinics at greatly reduced rates.
The Older Americans Act funds these services as well as other critical services for older adults like meals, job training, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, health insurance benefits enrollment and more.
For additional information about this program or for help for older adults and adults with disabilities, contact the O3A Information and Assistance offices in Sequim, 411 W. Washington St., at 360-452-3221 or 800-801-0070.