by Mark A. Krohn, Esq., Partner
Jacobowitz & Gubits, LLP

The Administration on Aging (AoA), a federal advocacy agency, is responsible for representing and protecting the elderly. The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is allocated federal funds based on the number of older persons in New York. The State is divided into Planning and Service Areas for the purpose of properly assessing the needs of a particular area. The NYSOFA in turn provides funding to the Area Agencies on Aging. The Area Agencies on Aging in turn contract with public or private groups to provide the needed services to the elderly.

The primary responsibility of a Legal Assistance Provider is to provide residents, who are 60 years of age and older, with quality legal services. The federally provided funds must be used to maintain or increase, to that extent practicable, the level of legal assistance to eligible individuals not entitled to other federal or non-federal sources. The provider of legal services is required to file monthly reports to the Area Agency which provides detail as to the services it has rendered, as well as other information needed to meet planning, coordination, evaluation and reporting requirements imposed upon the Area Agency.

Near the end of each year, the Area Agency conducts a review of the Program Service Provider. As part of that review, the Provider is asked to prepare a Fiscal Monitoring Report. The report flags corrective actions taken by the Legal Service Prover based upon the prior recommendations made by the Area Agency. The report further discloses the Service Provider’s Key Personnel, internal administration and management procedures, internal controls utilized to provide reasonable assurance that it is managing funds in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and contract terms, and that it safeguards funds.

For the past several years Jacobowitz & Gubits, LLP has held the position of Legal Assistance Provider to the Orange County Office for the Aging. We have striven to ensure that quality legal assistance is provided to all individuals who qualify for assistance from the Office for the Aging. Without hesitation, I recommend that, if you are or know someone in need of legal assistance and believe you may qualify of federal assistance, I encourage you to telephone your county Office for the Aging.