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THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2007
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Free number links seniors to legal advice

By M.J. Ellington
mjellington@decaturdaily.com (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — If you are at least 60 years old and have legal questions, the Alabama Senior Services Department has a number you can call to get answers.

A three-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging will fund the Elder Law Helpline, said Senior Services Director Irene Collins.

An attorney and a paralegal from Legal Services Alabama will staff the hotline weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

The toll-free number, (866) 456-3959, is available statewide.

Collins said her agency wants to help seniors, who may not have access to transportation, with topics like wills, trusts and financial counseling.

Senior Services spokesman John Matson said the help line will give priority to low-income, minority seniors but will help anyone 60 or older.

The help line began with a trial run Feb. 14 in the state's Black Belt region.

"Now we feel it is ready to take statewide," Matson said.

Legal Services Alabama is a nonprofit legal firm with offices in 10 cities statewide.

Collins said those staffing the hotline have training to understand the needs of seniors and the knowledge to connect them with other services they may need, such as counseling about health insurance and prescription drug coverage.

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