SeniorLAW Center

Strengthening the Economic Security of Older Victims of Domestic Violence

Providing comprehensive, expanded, holistic legal services to older survivors of domestic violence to ensure their safe housing and financial independence.

SeniorLAW Center, a legal services and domestic violence services provider, is proud to bring enhanced critical services to older survivors of domestic violence through a generous grant provided by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Older survivors are easy prey to those who live in their homes and/or support them financially. Without ensuring that abusers cannot live with their victims, without ensuring that victims are free from financial manipulation by their abusers, and without ensuring additional means of financial independence and economic security, senior survivors are more likely to be dependent upon their abusers and to continue in or return to their abusive situations. By expanding the existing services we provide to include a broad range of holistic services to address senior victims’ housing, safety and economic security, we will promote dignity and independence. These expanded services include:

  • – Legal actions to assist survivors in having their abusers removed from their homes.
  • – Spousal support actions.
  • – Legal assistance with housing issues (including fraudulent deed transfers and ejectments) to guarantee that the senior survivor can remain in his/her home.
  • – Legal assistance to prevent or address abuse by Social Security Representative Payee and/or Power of Attorney.
  • – Providing information on and assistance with emergency and other financial assistance for crime victims.
  • – Assessing other physical, emotional and emergency needs of our domestic violence clients and connecting them to resources to address those additional needs resulting from the victimization, including food, clothing and shelter.
  • – Connecting survivors to resources to change locks, install security bars and other immediate safety needs.

*This Project is supported by Grant Number 2014-WL-AX-0023 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of SeniorLAW Center and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

  • Homeowners Assistance Program (“HAP”)

    Addressing the needs of low-income elderly homeowners in  Philadelphia, enabling them to maintain their homes and remain in their communities, helping them to lead safe, independent  lives and expand their long-term care options.  Made possible by the generous support of The Pew Charitable Trusts; American Bar Association, Section of Taxation; Capital One; Helen D. Groome Beatty Trust, a BNY Mellon Mid-Atlantic Charitable Trust; and Women’s Way. Read More

  • PROJECT S.A.F.E. (“Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation”)

    Working to end and prevent various forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly through direct services, educational workshops, and professional outreach. Read More

  • Protecting Older Veterans Who Once Protected Us

    Serving the wide-ranging needs of vulnerable older Philadelphia veterans 60 and older, their widows/widowers and other senior family members who are victims of crime and elder abuse with a range of focused, collaborative victim services and resources, addressing their continuum of needs, including safety, health, shelter, and economic security.

    Funded by a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, this project targets two currently underserved victim populations in Philadelphia: elders and veterans. Both face specific vulnerabilities which make access to victim services challenging and innovative services necessary. There are approximately 70,000 veterans currently living in Philadelphia. More than 50% of these vets are seniors (approximately 36,000 older veterans). Older veteran victims need focused, sensitive and accessible services to meet their special needs.

    Because veterans have their own health care system, they are often isolated from other non-veteran oriented social and legal support systems. Veterans are often reluctant to ask for assistance, in light of their strong personal histories and the military culture of independence, self-reliance and strength. This culture creates additional barriers for victimized older veterans against accessing the help they need in critical areas of their lives. This project addresses all of these many challenges facing older veterans.

    We provide the following services to older veteran victims of crime:

    o Four monthly community based clinics at the following partner venues:  Intercommunity Action/Journey’s Way, Martin Luther King, Jr. Older Adult Center, West Oak Lane Older Adult Center and Northeast Older Adult Center.

    Click here to see clinic schedule

    Legal assistance to veterans, including the following:

    • Housing: real estate taxes; mortgages and reverse mortgages; fraudulent deed transfers; landlord-tenant actions; probate and tangled titles
    •  Elder Abuse: misuse of powers of attorney; physical abuse; financial exploitation
    •  Family Law: custody; spousal support; domestic violence
    •  Consumer Issues: identity theft; debt collection; contract disputes; home repair contractor fraud
    •  VA benefits: misuse of VA Fiduciary status; appeals from denials of benefits
    •  Consumer Issues: advice on debt collection, bankruptcy filing, seeking debt counseling
    •  Other noncriminal legal issues: advance planning documents (financial and health care powers of attorney, living wills, simple wills), pensions

    o  Referral to emergency financial assistance, emergency food service, in-home care services and emergency shelter.

    Connection to the full network of other veterans’ services, including benefits available to veterans’ families, dependents, spouses or children, with multi-generational impact. For our veteran victims, we will pursue financial benefits (disability compensation, pension), Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits for homebound or seriously disabled veterans, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for dependents and survivors of veterans, burial and funeral expenses, and pensions for surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased veterans

    o  Connection to the full network of senior services including geriatric mental health counseling, senior housing counselors, senior home repair assistance programs, senior tax freeze and other real estate tax and utility programs, senior in-home meal and companionship services, and much more.

    We have also formed a volunteer Senior Veterans Advisory Corps, who serve as advisors, contributors, and ambassadors for this program.  The peer corps strategizes on the project and brainstorms outreach ideas, focusing on methods to strengthen SeniorLAW Center’s bonds within the veterans’ community, raise awareness of our services and program, and encourage veterans to access services when needed. The group has made such an extraordinary impact on this project that the group was honored at SeniorLAW Center’s annual gala on May 4, 2016. Members of the advisory corps participated in a special video which was shown at the gala, which can be watched HERE.

    For additional information see our informational flyers, Veterans Consumer FlyerProfessional Flyer

     

  • Kin C.A.N. (“Kinship Caregiver Assistance Network”)

    Addressing the needs of grandparents and other elders raising young relative children, many of whom have been abandoned, neglected or abused by birth parents. Read More

  • The Fostering Kinship Care Legal Project

    The Fostering Kinship Care Legal Project provides legal advice and representation to senior relatives who wish to participate in the care and placement of children in their families who are involved in the Philadelphia child welfare system.  Recognizing the importance and necessity of kinship care families, this project seeks to assist senior relatives as they navigate their way through the difficulties inherent in the dependency court process.

    Click here to download The Fostering Kinship Care Legal Project flyer.

  • Community Legal Clinics

    SeniorLAW Center offers direct services in diverse communities at seven sites in Philadelphia on specified dates and times each month. Community-based services expand SeniorLAW Center’s ability to reach isolated clients and provide services in a comfortable environment in their own neighborhoods.  Many of our clinics provide bilingual, bicultural legal services to language and cultural minorities.  Please CLICK HERE if you would like to view our calendar of community legal clinics.

    Please call the community site if you would like to make an appointment to meet with our staff at a community intake site on the day our clinics are scheduled. Our current partners are:

    Mann Older Adult Center
    3201 North 5th Street, Kensington (19140)
    Phone: (215)685-9844
    Services provided the second Monday of the month
    Norris Square Senior Citizens Center
    2121-37 N. Howard Street, North Philadelphia (19122)
    Phone:(215)423-7241 or 215-423-7242
    Services provided the Third Thursday of the month
    Juniata Park Older Adult Center
    1251 East Sedgley Avenue (19122)
    Phone:(215)685-1490
    Services provided the first Wednesday of the month
    Northeast Older Adult Center
    8101 Bustleton Avenue (19152)
    Phone:(215)685-0576
    Services provided the fourth Wednesday of the month

    South Philadelphia Older Adult Center
    1430 E. Passyunk Avenue, PA (19147)
    Call (215)685-1697
    Services Provided the second Thursday of the month 9:30 am – 1:00 pm

    West Oak Lane Older Adult Center
    7210-18 Ogontz Avenue (19138)
    Phone:215-685-3511
    Services provided the first Thursday of the month 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
    Martin Luther King, Jr. Older Adult Center
    2101 W. Cecil B. Moore Avenue (19121)
    Phone:215-685-2715
    Services provided the third Wednesday the month 9:30 am – 1:00 pm

    Services available at all clinics in Spanish on-site and telephone interpretation services available for other languages.

  • Property and Inheritance Tax Aid for Elders

    Launched in February 2013 with the generous award of an ABA Section of Taxation Public Service Fellowship, SeniorLAW Center’s newest project, Property and Inheritance Tax Aid for Elders, provides the following services for seniors:

    • Free legal representation and counsel to help seniors facing real estate tax and inheritance tax issues affecting homeownership and shelter
    • Free legal assistance to help seniors sort out tangled titles to their homes, so that the deeds to their homes will be in their own names
    • Community education and outreach to help seniors facing crippling real estate tax debt

    For more information about important real estate tax developments, CLICK HERE.

     

  • Strengthening the Economic Security of Older Victims of Domestic Violence

    Providing comprehensive, expanded, holistic legal services to older survivors of domestic violence to ensure their safe housing and financial independence.

    SeniorLAW Center, a legal services and domestic violence services provider, is proud to bring enhanced critical services to older survivors of domestic violence through a generous grant provided by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Older survivors are easy prey to those who live in their homes and/or support them financially. Without ensuring that abusers cannot live with their victims, without ensuring that victims are free from financial manipulation by their abusers, and without ensuring additional means of financial independence and economic security, senior survivors are more likely to be dependent upon their abusers and to continue in or return to their abusive situations. By expanding the existing services we provide to include a broad range of holistic services to address senior victims’ housing, safety and economic security, we will promote dignity and independence. These expanded services include:

    • – Legal actions to assist survivors in having their abusers removed from their homes.
    • – Spousal support actions.
    • – Legal assistance with housing issues (including fraudulent deed transfers and ejectments) to guarantee that the senior survivor can remain in his/her home.
    • – Legal assistance to prevent or address abuse by Social Security Representative Payee and/or Power of Attorney.
    • – Providing information on and assistance with emergency and other financial assistance for crime victims.
    • – Assessing other physical, emotional and emergency needs of our domestic violence clients and connecting them to resources to address those additional needs resulting from the victimization, including food, clothing and shelter.
    • – Connecting survivors to resources to change locks, install security bars and other immediate safety needs.

    *This Project is supported by Grant Number 2014-WL-AX-0023 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of SeniorLAW Center and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

  • Hispanic Seniors Legal Project

    SERVICIOS LEGALES PARA HISPANOS DE LA TERCERA EDAD

    SeniorLAW Center is committed to providing services to language and cultural minority elders in their own language and neighborhoods and was one of the first aging and legal services providers committed to meaningful language access and community-based services. SeniorLAW Center provides bilingual bicultural services for Hispanic elders, holding workshops and community-based legal clinics each month in Hispanic communities in Kensington and North Philadelphia, at senior centers focusing on Spanish-speaking elders from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and other countries. SeniorLAW Center’s Hispanic Legal Services Coordinator, Margarita Martinez holds a law degree from Colombia, her native country, and a Masters of Law from the University of Barcelona, Spain. She coordinates client services, professional collaborations, media relations, outreach for Spanish-speaking elders, translation of legal documents and community education materials.

    SeniorLAW Center is truly in the forefront of serving immigrant and minority elders and in finding creative and innovative ways to provide meaningful access to services to underserved populations, including those with limited English proficiency. In order to provide services to Hispanic elders in a comfortable environment, in their own language and neighborhood, the coordinator of the program offers them directly at two sites in the community: The Mann Older Adult Center at 3201 N. 5th Street: This community legal clinic in Kensington started in 1998 and it has been a success since then, serving Spanish-speaking seniors from a variety of Latin countries such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

    Norris Square Senior Citizens Center at 2121 N. Howard Street: As a result of publicity of our services at the Mann Center, SeniorLAW Center was requested by staff at the Norris Square Senior Center to open a second community legal clinic at this new location, a beautiful new building which accommodates not only a lively Spanish language senior center but also senior housing for Hispanic elders on the upper floors. This legal services clinic opened in April 2001 and hasproven to be very successful.

    The coordinator of the program also works extensively on outreach and publicity and examples of her efforts are the articles about SeniorLAW Center written by her in Spanish for publication in important newspapers circulating in this community including El Hispano, Al Día and La Actualidad. She has also been invited to the radio show “Punto y Aparte”, sponsored by the Latino Partnership Initiative, and the Univision TV show “Voces del Valle.”

    SeniorLAW Center is proud to serve Latino elders with SERVICIOS LEGALES PARA HISPANOS DE LA TERCERA EDAD.

  • The Pension Rights Project

    Pensions often are critical in helping older Americans maintain financial security and independence.  Because many retired individuals experience problems in accessing the pension benefits they are entitled to, the U. S. Administration on Aging funds several regional Pension Counseling Projects, one of which helps Pennsylvania workers, oh_pen1retirees and their families with pension problems.

    Any Pennsylvania resident can contact the Mid-America Pension Rights Project at 1-866-735-7737 for assistance with a pension problem, at no charge.  The Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline is proud to be a partner of this regional pension counseling project.

    In addition, people who are not Pennsylvania residents but who are seeking retirement benefits from a Pennsylvania-based company or employment can contact the Mid-America Pension Rights Project for help.

    The Mid-America Pension Rights Project handles a variety of issues related to pension benefits, including eligibility and vesting, military pensions, union pensions, 401(k) plans, and survivor, divorce and common-law marriage pension benefits.  The Project will pursue pension questions and problems through the administrative process.  In cases where litigation is required, the Mid-America Pension Rights Project may be able to assist people in finding a pension attorney to bring their case to court.

    Lost pensions are a common problem.  Individuals who worked for a company prior to a merger or before it went out of business often have no idea how to apply for pension benefits because the company has moved, changed names or closed down.

    Another common problem affects surviving and divorced spouses who may not know what pension benefits they are entitled to or how to get them.  In one case, a widow was told by her deceased husband’s employer that she would get nothing from her late husband’s pension. Then she contacted the Pension Rights Project.  The Project told her that she was in fact entitled to survivor’s benefits and requested the benefits from the company on her behalf.  As a result, the company reversed its position, and the widow began receiving her benefits.

    The Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline is a member of the Mid-America Pension Rights Project.  The Project also serves Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Special thanks to Gail Webb at Pro Seniors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping older Ohions maintain their independence by empowering them, by protecting their interests, and by helping them access resources, for her assistance with this article.

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