To provide assistance to the terminally ill who often do not have the strength, energy or resources to manage their legal issues, Caring Way offers the Hospice Legal Project.
Hospice addresses the medical, social and emotional needs of patients and their families, but the legal issues facing this vulnerable population are frequently overlooked.
The Hospice Legal Project offers free legal services to patients though an innovative medical-legal partnership with SeniorLAW Center, an independent, nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to Pennsylvania seniors. Thanks to funding from the Independence Foundation to SeniorLAW Center, services such as estate planning, financial management, housing problems, custody and collections are available to Caring Way patients.
Unresolved legal problems may decrease a patient's quality of life and complicate bereavement due to unsettled estates, family and financial issues. A SeniorLAW Center attorney with significant experience working with hospice patients and their families performs a full assessment of a patient's situation to determine their legal needs. The attorney can provide direct legal representation, legal advice and counseling, and/or make referrals to agencies that can provide further assistance.
A SeniorLAW Center attorney can help with:
- Personal planning – Wills, inheritance questions, life insurance policies, powers of attorney, living wills, probate questions, funeral planning
- Family issues – Custody, child/spousal support, divorce, domestic abuse, guardianship, stand-by guardianship
- Benefits and pensions – Social Security benefits, Medicare/medical assistance (including medical assistance estate recovery), pensions, Veteran's benefits
- Employment – Unemployment, disability, employment rights, discrimination
- Housing and long-term care – Deed questions, general housing issues (including landlord/tenant problems and delinquent real estate taxes), long-term care questions, discharge rights
To be eligible for the program, patients must live in Philadelphia, be age 60 or older, and be enrolled as a Penn Wissahickon Hospice or Caring Way patient. All services are confidential and free of charge.
For more information about Caring Way legal services, call 866.888.8598. To receive legal assistance, Caring Way patients can ask their social worker for a referral for legal assessment.
For more information about SeniorLAW Center, please visit www.seniorlawcenter.org.