Legal Assistance for Older Adults

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Clients eligible for legal services must be North Carolina residents 60 years of age or older, need legal assistance and not be excluded from receiving legal services under federal law, state law or prohibited otherwise.

Consistent with federal law, outreach efforts will be taken to offer legal services to the following groups of people:

  •  older individuals residing in rural areas;
  •  older individuals with greatest economic needs, with particular attention to low-income minority individuals;
  • older individuals with greatest social need, with particular attention to low-income minority individuals;
  • older individuals with severe disabilities;
  • older individuals with limited English proficiency;
  • older individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders with neurological and organic brain dysfunction (and the caretakers of such individuals); and
  • older individuals at risk for institutional placement.

Statutory Healthcare Power of Attorney  
Statutory Living Will
NC Courts: Guide & File
LANC: Videos
Law Help NC

The Division of Aging & Adult Services does not provide legal advice and the resources are for educational purposes ONLY.  Resources are not an endorsement of any specific group or program and are for educational purposes only. 

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Topics under income include social security, pension disputes, and unemployment insurance (eligibility, termination, reduction, and overpayments).

Who should I contact if I have a question regarding my social security income?

Your local social security office can assist you regarding your social security income. Information on how to apply for social security, set up direct deposit, or change your address can be found here

Who administers unemployment benefits in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security through the North Carolina Department of Commerce administers unemployment benefits. Information on how to apply for benefits, file an appeal and laws regarding unemployment benefits can be found on the North Carolina Division of Employment Security’s website

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Topics under healthcare include Medicaid and Medicare (eligibility, termination, or reduction in benefits) and Veteran’s Benefits.

Who should I contact if I have a question regarding Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health insurance program administered by the State of North Carolina to assist those with health costs.   The Division of Health Benefits administers the North Carolina Medicaid program.  To qualify for NC Medicaid, you can go here.

Who administers Medicare?

Unlike Medicaid, which is administered by the State of North Carolina, Medicare is a federal program.  North Carolina has established the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP) to assist North Carolina residents in navigating Medicare.

How can I receive more information about Veteran’s Benefits?

The North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (NC DMVA) provides resources, services and events for North Carolina Veterans.  More information about NC DMVA can be located here

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Topics under housing include eviction, habitability, foreclosure and predatory lending claims.

Who is the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency?

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency assists NC residents in obtaining affordable housing and maintaining in their homes.  The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency assists both homeowners and renters.

Where can I find more information about evictions?

The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts has developed answers to commonly asked questions.  Information about evictions can be found here

Videos are the views of Legal Aid of North Carolina and do not necessarily represent the views of the Division.  All information is for educational purposes.

How Tenants Can Ask for Repairs I
How Tenants Can Ask for Repairs II

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Topics under defense of guardianship include representation to oppose guardianship, limiting guardianship or documents to promote self-autonomy such as general (financial) and healthcare powers of attorney.

Where can I find more information about guardianships?

The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services collaborates with local county departments of social services for guardianship services in which an employee from the department of social services will often serve as a public guardian. Once guardianship is deemed appropriate, guardianship is obtained through the North Carolina Court system.

What are the different types of guardianship?

A general guardian has been appointed by the court to be in charge of both of the person and their finances, often referred to as their estate.  A guardian of the person is in charge of the person’s well-being and care.  Finally, a guardian of the estate is in charge of the person’s assets.

Where can I find more information about powers of attorney?

There are two types of powers of attorney.  There is the general power of attorney which is when someone is appointed to take care of your finances during your lifetime when you are unable. Then, there is the healthcare power of attorney in which you appoint someone to take care of you when you are unable to make your own medical decisions. Many people also obtain a Living Will when executing powers of attorney.  The Secretary of State provides additional information about the healthcare power of attorney and living will, including statutory forms.

What are the pros and cons of powers of attorney?

A power of attorney permits you to determine who should be in charge of your finances and medical decisions if you cannot make those decisions for yourself. In most cases, if a person has a valid general (financial) power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney, there is no need to obtain a guardianship.  However, when you appoint someone to be in charge of your finances and medical decisions, you should determine which individuals are best suited for these positions as potential exploitation of your finances and neglect of the person can occur.

When does a power of attorney take effect?

A power of attorney takes effect when you sign the document or when you are deemed incompetent.  It is wise to discuss with you medical provider or attorney, if you have one, when it is best suited for your power of attorney to take effect.  If your power(s) of attorney take effect when you are deemed incompetent, it is often stated that two physicians, your attending physician and another physician, should make the determination you are unable to make decisions for yourself and place their opinions in your medical record before the power(s) of attorney take effect. 

This page was last modified on 02/22/2024