Authorizing Legislation: Title IV, Section 420 (2)(a) of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended
The Purpose of the Program and How it Works
Model Approaches to Statewide Legal Assistance Systems grants help states develop and implement effective approaches for integrating low-cost legal mechanisms into statewide legal/aging service delivery networks to enhance overall service delivery capacity. Legal assistance provided through well-integrated and cost-effective delivery systems enables older adults to remain independent, healthy, and financially secure in their homes and communities.
Strong leadership at the state level helps achieve various service delivery enhancement objectives. State Legal Assistance Developers (LADs) demonstrate effective leadership in incorporating Senior Legal Helplines (SLHs) and other low-cost mechanisms into statewide legal services delivery infrastructures. Key project partners also include Title III-B legal services providers, private bar pro-bono attorneys, law school clinics, and self-help sites. By promoting the seamless integration of vital legal service delivery components that maximize service delivery capacity, these projects enable senior to access quality legal services in priority areas. Those issues can include income security, health care financing, consumer fraud, housing and foreclosure prevention, and elder abuse.
As a key centerpiece of the Model Approaches projects, SLHs assist seniors in accessing legal services to ensure their rights and enhance their independence and financial security. Since 2006, Model Approaches projects have assisted thousands of older consumers with priority legal issues related to public benefits, health care, housing, advance planning, and consumer protection. In addition, the projects have created important partnerships and linkages between the legal assistance community and broader community-based aging and elder rights networks, including AAAs, ADRCs, state long-term care ombudsmen, and Adult Protective Services.
In FY 2013, in addition to awarding 4 new Model Approaches projects, ACL awarded 7 new Model Approaches Phase II grants to evolve legal service delivery systems to even higher levels of capacity, performance, and service delivery impact. Phase II projects are primarily focused on enhancing legal responses to complex issues that emerge from elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. In addition, the new projects expand outreach to older adults most in need, and implement legal data collection and reporting systems that show the beneficial impact of legal services on the independence, health, and financial security of older adults.
Thirty-five states have received funding under the Model Approaches grant program:
2006 Grantees: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota, Virginia
2007 Grantees: Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania
2009 Grantees: California, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont
2010 Grantees: Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia
2013 Grantees: Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington
2013 Grantees (Phase II): California, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan Nebraska
Model Approaches grantees are currently involved in:
Strengthening, coordinating, and leveraging the existing legal network and its resources;
Involving stakeholders in statewide planning, collaboration, and legal needs assessment;
Creating statewide legal standards and implementing legal data collection and reporting systems;
Enhancing legal responses to complex issues that emerge from elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation; and
Providing legal education to empower seniors and help prevent legal problems.
Data Highlights: Extensive Services Provided to Seniors
Model Approaches Senior Legal Helpline component in FY 2015 demonstrated that the program:
Closed nearly 19,995 cases with telephone advice or additional brief service;
Reached low income populations with over 75 percent of older clients having incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines; and
Reached older minority populations facing complex legal issues, constituting 26 percent of all clients served.
Outcomes achieved and anticipated include:
Enhanced collaboration among Area Agencies on Aging, ADRCs, and legal providers;
Improved visibility and capacity of legal services programs and helplines;
Fostered private-bar initiatives and collaborations;
Strengthened systems that reach underserved and hard-to-reach seniors most in need; and
Strengthened legal responses to elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
FY 2005: $1,471,147
FY 2006: $1,455,435
FY 2007: $1,456,436
FY 2008: $1,431,547
FY 2009: $1,974,000
FY 2010: $1,999,569
FY 2011: $1,999,569
FY 2012: $1,940,442
FY 2013: $1,966,323
FY 2014: $1,862,245
FY 2015: $1,966,329