San Diego legal aid organization Elder Law & Advocacy (EL&A) meets the needs of seniors. They devote all of their resources to helping both rural and urban seniors through a community-based delivery system. EL&A seeks to help those in greatest need, from those who are unable to travel due to illness or frailty, to those who are isolated, homebound or institutionalized. By sending EL&A’s attorneys and highly trained staff and volunteers throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties to assist clients, expert counseling is made available for those in greatest need.
Their compassionate group of staff and volunteers serve over 8,000 seniors annually. They are skilled in addressing complex issues with clients who may be frail, emotionally distraught, hard-of-hearing, or have cognitive impairments. EL&A provide services at low- to no-cost.
Their programs include:
- Senior Legal Services: Legal services for seniors aged 60 and over in matters of income maintenance, debt collection protection, health insurance, long-term care, small claims court matters, landlord-tenant matters, defense of guardianship, abuse, neglect, and age discrimination;
- Family Caregiver Legal Services: Legal services for caregivers of seniors;
- Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP): Medicare counseling, legal services, and community education regarding Medicare benefits, long-term care, and health insurance;
- Nursing Home Rights Enforcement Project: Assistance for residents of skilled nursing facilities with problems related to care;
- Imperial County Court Clinic: Assistance with court procedures and forms related to landlord-tenant issues and elder abuse.
In addition, EL&A has recently implemented a Virtual Legal Services (VLS) program. The program is an innovative way to reach older individuals who are in need of legal services, who do not have or use computer technology, and who would benefit from legal services provided remotely through technology and the Internet. Through VLS, the attorney and client have a visual consultation without having to either travel long distances or wait several weeks for an in-person appointment. The client goes to a community-based site such as a local library, and with the help of site staff or volunteers, establishes a virtual consultation using a computer and fax/copier/scanner provided by EL&A. Site staff or volunteers initiate the connection between the staff attorney and the client and facilitate the transmission of documents. VLS will encourage more attorneys to provide pro bono legal services and the program will allow EL&A to serve more seniors in the community.
Due to their invotation, passion, and dedication, EL&A has been fortunate enough to see many client success stories:
- Recovering twice the amount of money a low-income client spent on expensive and unauthorized car repairs when the original problem was not fixed and the auto repair company repeatedly refused to refund the money;
- Successfully assisting a low-income disabled client with adding his adopted daughter to his Section 8 housing voucher after the housing authority originally refused to do so because they would not accept his daughter’s Mexican birth certificate and adoption order;
- Assisting a family with obtaining medical records and advising them about a potential case against a nursing home when a family member died after developing pressure ulcers and pneumonia while in the nursing home.
For more information about Elder Law & Advocacy visit their website, and be sure to check out their blog for more in-depth posts on senior law. You can reach EL&A in their San Diego County office at 858-565- 1392, or their Imperial County office at 760-353- 0223.
Organizations mentioned/involved: Elder Law & Advocacy