Vermont Legal Aid’s Elder Law Project focuses on the legal needs and problems of people over the age of 60. Through our Senior Citizens Law Project (SCLP) and Medicare Advocacy Project (MAP), we provide a full range of legal services that includes advice, assistance with documents such as powers of attorney and advance directives, advocacy and full representation.
SCLP represents seniors on legal issues like public housing, health care, government benefits and guardianship. We advocate on behalf of seniors, including testifying before the legislature, regarding policy matters that impact their safety, dignity and rights.
MAP represents Medicare beneficiaries who also receive Medicaid in Medicare appeals concerning home health services, durable medical equipment, nursing care, and prescription drug coverage. MAP has helped improve the lives of thousands of seniors in Vermont by prosecuting successful lawsuits that hold Medicare accountable to follow the rules when making decisions about care and services.
Vermont Legal Aid has developed online materials on a variety of legal topics that affect seniors. Access them on our VTLawHelp.org website.
In the Comfort of Her Own Home
Edna is in her 70s. Early last year, she allowed her daughter, son‑in‑law, and grandchild to move in to her home because they were having financial problems. Shortly after moving in, they padlocked several interior doors and prevented Edna from entering those rooms.
Feeling increasingly uncomfortable, Edna asked her daughter to move out several times. The daughter refused and made life even more unpleasant. Edna eventually abandoned her home and moved in with relatives, who encouraged her to contact Vermont Legal Aid for help.
We sent a written demand for the daughter and her family to leave the property, but they refused to move out. We requested an emergency abuse prevention order based on the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, which was granted by the Court.
On the day of the hearing, we negotiated a settlement with the daughter in which she agreed to move out in three weeks or admit to exploitation and abuse of a vulnerable person.
The daughter and her family moved out, and Edna is comfortably living in her own home again.
Name(s) and some details have been changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality.