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Survey Finds Ohio Seniors Lack Affordable Legal Assistance

January 6, 2009

Columbus, OH – Every day, many older Ohioans face situations that require an attorney's help, but a recent survey shows that often they don't get legal assistance because of the the cost. According to the survey released by the AARP, the primary legal issue for the sixty-plus set is keeping quality, affordable health care. The executive director of Pro Seniors, Rhonda Moore, says many respondents had experienced problems with health care coverage requiring legal advice.

"Those types of problems are billing or payment disputes, having their coverage terminated, issues about eligibility for health care coverage, or problems with long-term care."

Moore says another area of great concern for older Ohioans is consumer issues.

"We were somewhat surprised to find out that 16 percent of these older Ohioans indicated that they had been victimized by a consumer fraud or scam in the past three years."

Moore says there are factors besides cost that keep seniors from getting legal services.

"Many seniors have transportation or health-related problems that might make it difficult, and the complexity of the legal problems they face can be a real barrier to knowing how to approach those problems."

Moore says the findings show the need for state leaders to improve legal options for older Ohioans. For those with limited means who need help now, Pro Seniors offers a free statewide legal-advice hot line. The number to call toll-free is 800-488-6070.

Mary Kuhlman/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - OH