Legal Assistance for Seniors (LAS) & HICAP
LAS and HICAP is continuing to deliver services during the shelter-in-place order. Clients are not being seen in the office, but staff are working remotely and available to assist seniors in the following areas:
Elder Abuse: The courts have set up drop boxes at the Hayward Hall of Justice and the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland so Elder Abuse Restraining Orders can still be filed while the courts are closed. There are blank forms beside the drop boxes. They are being reviewed daily by a Judge and will contact the party or attorney when the order has been ruled on.
The Sheriff is still accepting TROs for service and making service attempts.
LAS is trying to minimize contact with vulnerable clients. If they have a support person who can assist them with filing out the paperwork and filing it for them, LAS will assist them via telephone. If it is an emergency and they do not have someone who can assist them, LAS will work to provide services.
For Elder Abuse clients who need AHCD/DPOA: LAS is providing phone counseling for clients about these documents. If appropriate, they are sending the paperwork with instructions for them to fill out. They do not have notary services at this time.
Housing/Home safe: The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department is not currently enforcing evictions. The courts are closed so no new evictions can be filed at this time. Evictions that have been filed and have court dates are being continued for 3 weeks on a rolling basis. LAS has joined other non-profit agencies to send messages to the appropriate government officials to encourage ongoing delays in evictions.
*Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. It also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19.
The tenant would be required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. And the tenant would remain obligated to repay full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted. The order takes effect immediately, and provides immediate relief to tenants for whom rent is due on April 1st.
Most housing waitlists have been closed and facilities are not accepting new residents at this time.
Public Benefits: Social Security is not collecting or processing new overpayments and "allegedly" not trying to reduce, suspend or delay anyone’s benefits. Social Security offices are closed since March 17th but you can call. Waits are long. You can request an in-person meeting at the Social Security office, but will take a bit of time to get one. There are no in-person hearings right now. People have the right to ask for in person meetings but we do not know when that will start back up. The request for in-person hearings are being granted for now but *could* change --OHO is asking for flexibility and support at this time as they figure things out.
HICAP – HICAP assists with Medicare and related health insurance questions and needs. Our HICAP counselors are providing phone counseling during this period and appointments are usually available on a daily basis.
Scams LAS and HICAP have been alerted to -
- Scammers are approaching residents of senior housing and assisted living facilities about “opportunities” for COVID-19 testing
- Beneficiaries are receiving robocalls about "special virus kits" and being asked for their Medicare number to send a "free" test
- Health care agencies are receiving scam emails offering COVID-19 testing services that can be ordered through a telehealth provider
- Online services offer a free vaccine in exchange for Medicare #
- Fraudulent emails claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control or other experts offering information on the virus
- Cybersecurity scammers send a link which implants PC ransomware
If you need to reach LAS, please call 510-832-3040 and leave a message. If you would like to schedule a phone counseling appointment with HICAP, please call 510-893-0393. Please be patient, there may be delays in response time.
Seniors Around Town, Expanded Services During Shelter-in-Place
Seniors Around Town (SAT) is offering two services during the “shelter-in-place” period. Orinda volunteers are shopping for groceries, running errands and delivering these items to Orinda senior residents at their home. Other volunteers are calling their assigned seniors weekly just to check-in and see how they are doing and if they need anything- reassurance calls. Staying connected with community is vitally important for seniors in isolation at home.
If you know of anyone in your neighborhood who would benefit from either of these services, please encourage them to call us at 925-402-4506. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.