SeniorLAW Center is an independent 501(c)(3) legal services agency founded in 1978 as Senior Citizen Judicare Project by members of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Our original focus was to protect the legal rights and interests of Philadelphia’s needy, elderly residents through a volunteer-driven program. We now have an array of programs and services, a diverse staff of lawyers and advocates, and have expanded our outreach and services to communities throughout Pennsylvania.
Through the efforts of its dedicated and experienced legal staff and volunteers from Pennsylvania’s legal community, SeniorLAW Center today serves approximately 10,000 older Pennsylvanians each year, including victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation, elders facing housing crises and homelessness, and grandparents raising grandchildren.
Twenty percent or 1 in 5 Pennsylvanians today are age 60 or older. Pennsylvania has the third highest percentage of people over 60 in the United States and the fifth largest population of older Americans. By 2020, Pennsylvania’s 60 and older population is expected to be 25 percent of its total population – more than three million people. Pennsylvania’s 67 counties cover an expansive rural area bounded by the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas, home to some of the largest and poorest concentrations of seniors in the country. Philadelphia, for example, has the largest percentage of older adults among the country’s 10 largest cities (17.9%), and 1 in 5 of those older adults live in poverty. Pennsylvania has the fourth highest population of adults over age 85 in the nation. Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) is ranked 12th nationally in population over age 85.
Philadelphia’s senior citizens experience a higher poverty rate than their peers in other parts of Pennsylvania and the nation. Almost 20% of Philadelphia’s elders are poor or economically vulnerable. Most are women. Many are raising young children, whose birth parents are deceased, incarcerated, ill, or substance addicts.
Since its founding in 1978, SeniorLAW Center has provided free legal representation for over 50,000 seniors, focusing on the most vital and recurring legal problems facing our elders: housing, elder abuse, financial exploitation, consumer problems, grandparent custody, personal and end-of-life planning needs. SeniorLAW Center has educated more than 75,000 elders through community education workshops informing seniors of their legal rights and helping avoid future legal crises, and assisted over 100,000 seniors through advice, information, and referral services to other agencies. SeniorLAW Center has also conducted professional training for thousands of professionals who work with seniors in other fields, to sensitize them to the legal problems facing their senior consumers, patients and clients so to further expand the scope of our work. SeniorLAW Center staff also serves on numerous committees, task forces, and coalitions addressing the needs of seniors, women, immigrants, families, and the poor, to provide advocacy and address systemic solutions to the problems facing our clients.
SeniorLAW Center thanks the many generous foundations, corporate and law firm sponsors, and individual donors who make our work possible. Join us in this important work!
SeniorLAW Center is supported in part by funds received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Aging, through a contract with Philadelphia Corporation of Aging and through a separate partnership with the Department and the U.S. Administration on Aging which supports the Pennsylvania SeniorLAW HelpLine.