What services do you provide?
SeniorLAW Center provides free legal advice, information, and representation for a variety of legal issues. We also provide information about and referrals to legal, social service, aging and other organizations and partners, as needed, and provide screenings for seniors upon request to insure they receive all the government benefits to which they are entitled. Our staff also provides community education and professional training. Finally, our office works on systemic issues to help find solutions to recurring problems facing older Pennsylvanians.
Who does SeniorLAW Center help?
The mission of SeniorLAW Center is to protect the rights of older Pennsylvanians aged 60 and older. We can provide limited counsel and information to family members and others who seek assistance, but our direct legal services must be provided to senior citizens themselves. SeniorLAW Center prioritizes our services to those with the greatest social and economic need. Our HelpLine services and introductory counsel, information and referral services are available to all, regardless of income.
How can I get help?
There are several ways you can get help from SeniorLAW Center. You can speak to a member of our staff by calling our Intake Line at (215) 988-1242 Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. Leave your name and phone number clearly on the answering machine, and a staff member will return your call as soon as possible, normally within 1-2 business days. If you would like to get help closer to home, you may be interested in making an appointment at one of our community clinics located throughout Philadelphia. For more information on these once a month clinics, please click here.
If your problem is a true emergency, which we define as abuse or violence, imminent loss of home or shelter, or facing a court date in the very near future, please advise of this when you contact us. If you are being abused, please call 911 immediately. We see clients with an emergency from 9am – 1pm on Tuesday and Thursday. We see those who are being abused at any time our office is open (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm).
If you are a Pennsylvania resident outside of Philadelphia, please call the Pennsylvania SeniorLAW HelpLine (1-877-PA SR LAW ) for legal free advice, counsel, information and referral services.
What is the Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline?
The SeniorLAW Helpline is our state-wide helpline, which provides legal advice, information and referrals to residents of Pennsylvania. Call toll free 1-877- PA SR LAW (1-877-727-7529) and leave your name and phone number, and a staff member will return your call.
What if I have an emergency and need to speak to an attorney right away?Call us or come to our walk-in hours as soon as possible, and state that you have an emergency legal issue. Remember that we define emergencies as abuse, violence loss of home, shelter, or necessary utilities, or other conditions which affect a senior’s safety. Please call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
Does the senior have to speak to the attorney by herself/himself?
Yes. Attorneys have ethical obligation to make it clear who their client is, because it is to the client alone that the attorney owes professional duties of competence, loyalty, and confidentiality. Attorneys also have an ethical duty to avoid conflicts of interests, which means that in most situations, a lawyer may only represent one individual. Once our staff has spoken to the senior by him or herself, the senior may request to have another person join the conversation.
What if my loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia and needs legal help?
The person needing legal help should still contact us if possible. A medical diagnosis, even if it is Alzheimer’s or dementia, does not automatically mean that a senior lacks legal capacity. This is a determination our staff must make. If we determine that a senior does lack legal capacity and has a pressing legal issue, we may be able to represent him or her through a duly appointed agent or guardian if necessary, but each case is examined individually.
What if I’m the Agent or “Power of Attorney” for a senior?
An agent is the person who can act for another as identified in a Power of Attorney document. Our office represents agents acting on behalf of a senior only in limited circumstances and on a case-by-case basis, when the senior is unable to communicate or is determined to be legally incapacitated. We will always first seek to speak with the senior, who would be our client.
I’m a health care professional or social worker and my patient/client needs legal help. Will someone speak to me?
Yes. Please leave your name, phone number, the name of your organization and the nature of your call on our Intake Line at (215) 988-1242. A staff member will return your call as soon as possible.
Can I get help for any area of law?
SeniorLAW focuses our services on the priority areas of housing, domestic violence, financial exploitation and victim services, consumer protection, family law, and personal planning. We provide counseling, information and referrals for other areas of law. The SeniorLAW Helpline provides legal advice and information (but not extended representation) on most areas of law. Call us toll free at (877) 727-7529 and leave your name and phone number, and a staff member will return your call.
Is there a charge for your services?
Our services are free. If you become a client, you will be responsible for paying any costs associated with your case, such as notary charges and court filing fees. Please note that our office provides a low-cost notary service for clients. In many cases, we are able to have the court waive filing fees and many other fees for our client, but out-of-pocket expenses (not the services themselves) are the client’s responsibility. These will be discussed with you if you become a client of SeniorLAW Center.
What if a senior does not speak English?
SeniorLAW Center is committed to serving diverse communities of seniors and to language access. We have multi-lingual staff and also use Language Line interpretation services. We encourage those with limited English, language and cultural minorities to seek our assistance.