West Virginia Senior Legal Aid (WVSLA) has had the great fortune of hosting two Public Interest Fellows this summer. The WV Fund for Law in the Public Interest (WVFLIPI) provided the funds to pay two students from WVU College of Law to work for us full-time for 10 weeks. They will be finishing up their Fellowships next week, and we will be sad to see them go! They have done fantastic work for senior West Virginians this summer.
They are finishing up elderlaw projects to make sure the information we offer to our individual clients and on our website and in publications is accurate, relevant, and understandable. This includes the annual update of our Frequently Asked Questions publication and the creation of a new legal guide for LGBT senior West Virginians. Creating and maintaining these resources wouldn't be possible without the great work of our Fellows.
In the past 2 months our Public Interest Fellows have helped us serve the legal needs of 156 individual senior West Virginians from 42 counties across the state. 98 are female, 58 are male. 128 live below 200% of the federal poverty line, 73 live below 100% of the federal poverty line. 24 were over 80 yrs old, 48 were between 70 and 80, 84 were between 60 and 70 years old. 6 were victims of financial exploitation. Legal issues clients presented included insurance, planning for incapacity, torts, problems with drivers licenses, nursing home rights, landlord/tenant, home ownership, taxation, long-term care Medicaid, Medicare coverage denials, grandparent rights, spousal support, divorce, utilities, warranties, dealing with debt and collections, and more.
We reviewed documents, drafted documents, negotiated with adverse parties, assessed for eligibility for benefits, gave referrals for representation, provided printed legal information, and gave personalized legal advice to answer legal questions and resolve legal problems.
Thank you to WVFLIPI and to Brown Holston and Laura Lee Partington for helping all these WV seniors protect their homes, their incomes, their access to healthcare, and their personal autonomy.