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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51675 Find in a Library
Title: LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY UNDER TITLE 3 OF THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT - UTILIZATION OF A 'MEANS' TEST
Journal: CLEARINGHOUSE REVIEW  Volume:12  Issue:4  Dated:(AUGUST 1978)  Pages:225-230
Author(s): G T ROWSE
Corporate Author: Legal Services Corporation
Public Affairs Office
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Legal Services Corporation
Washington, DC 20005
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE EXPLORES THE LEGALITY AN DESIRABILITY OF USING MEANS TESTS TO DETERMINE AN ELDERLY PERSON'S ELIGIBILITY FOR LEGAL SERVICES BASED ON INCOME, AND CONSIDERS ALTERNATIVE METHODS FOR ASSESSING ELIGIBILITY.
Abstract: THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT OF 1965, TITLE 3, PROVIDES FUNDING FOR LEGAL SERVICES TO THE ELDERLY. IT DOES NOT MANDATE THE USE OF A MEANS TEST TO ESTABLISH ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES, BUT IMPLIES THAT PRIORITIES MUST BE ESTABLISHED WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES PREVENT PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES TO ALL THE ELDERLY POPULATION. MEANS TESTS ARE ONE METHOD OF ESTABLISHING PRIORITY, AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING TITLE 3 SEEM TO SUPPORT ITS USE. SEVERAL TYPES OF MEANS TESTS EXIST INCLUDING ONE WHICH SETS A FIRM MAXIMUM INCOME LEVEL FOR ELIGIBILITY AND ONE WHICH SETS UP A SERIES OF MAXIMUM INCOME LEVELS. RESOURCES SUCH AS PROPERTY MUST ALSO BE BELOW THE SPECIFIED LIMITATIONS. THE LIMITATIONS CAN BE ADJUSTED TO INCLUDE BOTH POVERTY AND MIDDLE LEVEL INCOMES AND CAN CONSIDER OUTSTANDING FACTORS SUCH AS DEBTS. OBJECTIONS TO THE MEANS TESTS INCLUDE ARGUMENTS THAT THEIR USE CONVERTS THE LEGAL SERVICES INTO ANOTHER WELFARE PROGRAM, THAT THEY ARE A VIOLATION OF THE PERSONS' DIGNITY AND PRIVACY, AND THAT THEY DENY ELIGIBILITY TO THE NONINDIGENT ELDERLY WHO CANNOT AFFORD LEGAL SERVICES. HOWEVER, OMISSION OF THE TESTS COULD RESULT IN AN INABILITY TO SERVE THE MOST NEEDY ELDERLY, HOSTILITY FROM PRIVATE LEGAL AGENCIES, AND INABILITY TO OBTAIN INEXPENSIVE MALPRACTICE INSURANCE. A PROGRAM MAY AVOID UTILIZATION OF MEANS TESTS BY LIMITING THE SUBSTANTIVE AREAS OF LAW WHICH IT COVERS, SUCH AS RESTRICTING SERVICES TO PERSONS NEEDING ASSISTANCE WITH PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BENEFIT PROBLEMS, OR TARGETING SERVICES IN LOW INCOME AREAS. A MODIFIED MEANS TEST, AS OUTLINED IN THE 1965 GUIDELINES DEVELOPED BY THE LOUISIANA CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEREST, MIGHT ALSO BE USED. (DAG)
Index Term(s): Citizen legal problems; Laws and Statutes; Legal aid services; Older Adults (65+); Testing and measurement
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51675

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