Justice in Aging
NHLA offers legal assistance to seniors (persons age 60 or older) through the Justice in Aging Project.
The Justice in Aging Project assists our state’s most economically and socially needy seniors with civil legal problems including:
- Abusive or illegal debt collection
- Financial Exploitation
- Access to health care
- Social Security
- Supplemental Security Income
- public and private housing
- Mobile home residents’ rights
- Property tax relief
- food stamps
- utility shut-off
- disputes with nursing facilities and assisted living/residential care facilities
Project legal services include legal advice, brief services and extended representation by attorneys and trained paralegals. The Justice in Aging Project also engages in outreach to increase awareness of the legal rights of seniors and to ensure that the community is aware of our services by means of presentations, pamphlets, and other written materials.
If you are a New Hampshire resident age 60 or older and need help with a civil legal problem, contact NHLA's Justice in Aging Project by phone at 1-888-353-9944. The Project has the capacity to serve elders who are housebound, isolated or institutionalized.
NHLA Justice in Aging Project Director Cheryl Steinberg recently published this guidebook to the many legal questions that seniors and their families and caregivers may face. From "What are my rights if I'm dissatisfied with a contractor's work on my home?" to "What coverage can I receive under Medicare?" and "What kind of transfers are exempt from New Hampshire's state and local real estate transfer taxes?" the manual contains general information about legal topics.
It is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for consulting an attorney about the details of your particular circumstances. If you are at least 60 years old, and have a civil legal concern, you may contact the NH Legal Assistance Justice in Aging Project for free legal advice. Our toll-free number is: 1-888-353-9944.
April 26, 2016 - Summit generates plan for NH's response to elder financial exploitation
Nearly 140 leaders from criminal justice, financial services, legal services and community-based supports from all regions of the state gathered at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on April 20, 2016 for Combating Elder Financial Exploitation in New Hampshire: A Leadership Summit. Participants learned about effective strategies, shared perspectives and generated ideas for improving our state’s response to elder financial exploitation in a collaborative, coordinated way.
To read the full report form the commission, click here: Report by the 2016 Coalition Against Later Life Abuse
Henry is a 78 year-old disabled man who never lived on his own. For many years he lived with his mother in her home, which she eventually deeded to Henry and his sister. When his niece expressed interest in living in the home, Henry’s sister sold her interest in the home to his niece and her husband.
The arrangement worked fine until Henry’s niece died. The niece’s husband remarried and both he and his new wife treated Henry very badly. Henry spent almost all of his time in his bedroom. In addition to being poorly treated by his housemates, his niece’s husband stopped paying the mortgage and he and his new wife demanded that Henry start paying the mortgage and other household expenses. After several months of failing to pay the mortgage, the bank moved to foreclose on the home.
NHLA negotiated with the bank to delay the foreclosure so that the home could be sold privately and proceeds split equitably. This resulted in Henry being able to receive some of the proceeds from the sale. Henry is now doing well and living in a new setting where he receives the supports he needs to remain independent.
NHLA saved a tax exemption for a widow so she could stay in her home
Eleanor and her husband bought their little grey house in 1952 just a few years after they married. The couple stayed healthy enough as they grew older to continue living in their own home into their 90s, with a little help and lots of visits from children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Despite a limited income, they were able to afford keeping the house thanks in part to a state law that reduces property taxes for low-income elderly residents.
Eleanor is now 96, and living alone after her husband passed away. Six months after he passed, she learned the city assessing department used the income they received together the year before to determine her tax exemption eligibility for the coming year. Being held to the eligibility of a single person, but having the income of two for almost all of the previous year, she was ruled ineligible.
“I’m a pretty laid back person, but that just set me off,” her son-in-law George says. He set out looking for a lawyer to help her appeal the ruling. He found Elliott Berry at NHLA.
“The intent of the law that Elliott really did such a wonderful job researching, is to help elderly people keep their home,” George said. “Elliott went above and beyond my farthest expectations. I knew it would have killed her if she had to leave this house."
The day her appeal was approved was “a happy day, a very happy day,” Eleanor said. “Here I am. It means everything to me. I just couldn’t imagine living anywhere else."
NHLA prevails in Superior Court to preserve a senior's nursing home care
NHLA recently prevailed in state court on behalf of a double amputee in her 80s who has lived in the same nursing home in Manchester for many years. In the middle of winter, she was transported to one of Manchester's hospitals for medical care. However, after her medical problem had been resolved and the hospital cleared her to return home, the nursing home refused to readmit her. NHLA Justice in Aging Project attorneys got involved. After the nursing home refused to relent, the NHLA team went to Superior Court and persuaded the Court to order the nursing home to readmit her. Our client is now back in familiar surroundings to recuperate from her hospital stay and continue her life.
NHLA receives support from the following organizations to fund our Justice in Aging Project:
Campaign for Legal Services
NH Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services
Mary Gale Foundation
Pearl Manor Fund of the Mary & John Elliot Foundation
IOLTA program of New Hampshire Bar Foundation