New Resource for SC Seniors and Caregivers

The South Carolina Bar Public Services Division and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging recently collaborated together with members of the South Carolina Bar Elder Law Committee to update the SOUTH CAROLINA SENIOR CITIZENS’ HANDBOOK: A Guide to Laws and Programs Affecting Senior Citizens. This project was funded by a grant from the Administration on Aging.

Senior Handbook Cover

This is a FREE resource and is now available online at http://www.scbar.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QL4xW3AqA8Q%3d&tabid=204.

The print versions should start arriving in local South Carolina libraries soon.

This is a great resource for SC Seniors and/or their caregivers; it covers topics related to:

And an entire portion is devoted to a Community Resource Directory.

Even if you’re not yet a Senior or caregiver, you may want to look into some of these sections. The information is really helpful and easily accessible. Plus, it’s never too early to start planning.

~RFW

Disabilities Awareness Public Forum, Wed., Oct. 26, 2011

Tomorrow as part of Celebrate Pro Bono 2011, several attorneys will be speaking at a Disabilities Awareness Public Forum in Greenville, South Carolina.

The event is FREE and open to the public. We do have ASL Interpreters available for the event, but if you need additional accomodations, please contact Stephanie Gutzman at 864-235-0273 or by email at gutzman@pandasc.org.

Hope to see you there!

~RFW

Reporting Your Pro Bono Hours

Seeking Comments from South Carolina Attorneys!

The South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Committee and the South Carolina Supreme Court Access to Justice (SCATJ) Commission are seeking input on proposed changes to Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (SCACR 407).

This rule concerns the provision of pro bono service to individuals of limited means or public service/charitable organizations. The proposed changes include the creation of a reporting mechanism for pro bono hours and a requirement that those hours be reported to the Bar.

Pro bono participation remains voluntary.

Click here to view the proposed changes to the rule. Should Rule 6.1 be amended in the future, the Bar would provide additional information to facilitate the reporting.

Please send comments on the proposed changes to Cindy Coker, Public Services Director or Stuart Andrews, Vice- Chair of the SCATJ Commission.

Comments should be received no later than Friday, November 5.

Calling ALL South Carolina Medicaid Advocates and Beneficiaries!

This just in from SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center!

Public Hearing on S.C. Medicaid Managed-Care Plan

MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010  10:00 AM

THIS is your chance to tell CMS and the state Medicaid agency what you think of the proposal to mandate managed care.

A public hearing by telephone has been scheduled for Monday, August 23rd, at 10:00 a.m. to receive public input about the Medicaid changes proposed by DHHS.

On July 1, 2010, DHHS filed a Medicaid state-plan amendment asking the federal government to make Managed Care mandatory for more than 500,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in our state, as well as allowing DHHS to qualify people for Managed Care who are currently ineligible.

This is the perfect opportunity to tell CMS how South Carolina DHHS’ proposed changes would impact you or the people you serve.

To participate, call (877) 251-0301 and provide the operator with the conference ID 93410633.

CMS suggests you call in 10 minutes prior to the 10:00 a.m. start time.

If you have further questions, contact Sue Berkowitz at sberk@scjustice.org.

-RFW

New Report from Appleseed: Focus on Kids

Good News:

SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center released its FOCUS ON KIDS report.

Bad News:

The information contained in the report.

Did you know that South Carolina ranks forty-fifth among states for overall child well-being?

Click on the link to read the report, Focus on Kids full budget.

-RFW

National Adoption Month by Guest Blogger Rita Roache

SCLS Annual Conference 2009 213

Rita Roache

November is designated as National Adoption Month, a time to recognize the benefits of adoption for families and children.

South Carolina Legal Services marks this observance through partnerships and community education. The law firm is available to represent clients in Adoption cases and also to provide education and conduct outreach.

If you would like a speaker for a community education event, please call Tene’ Staley at 843-266-2171. If you need representation, please call our Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service (LATIS) at 1-888-346-5592.

For more information, see http://lawhelp.org/SC/.

- Rita Roache

Rita Roache is a staff attorney and the Family Law Unit head of South Carolina Legal Services.

Friday Resource: SC Center for Fathers and Families

Recently I’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries from fathers who want assistance with child support or child custody issues. And I have the perfect resource for them, the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families.

Friday Resource-SC Fathers and Families

The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, a statewide nonprofit organization, was founded in 2002 by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. If you are not already familiar with the center, please explore their website.

And, for additional information about the impact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration of Children and Families Office of Family Assistance featured the SC Center for Fathers and Families in a report released in May 2009.

-RFW

8.24.09 Ask-A-Lawyer: Nosy’s Report

8/24/09 Ask-A-Lawyer Call Center at WLTX

8/24/09 Ask-A-Lawyer Call Center at WLTX

On Monday Night, WLTX became ground zero for ASK-A-LAWYER. We arrived in time to start and learned that the calls had started as early as 4:30 p.m. Once we were shown our call-center, we started answering phones “Ask-A-Lawyer, how may I help you?” while our web counter-parts began their online-duty.

Jeff Goodwyn answers questions at WLTX Ask-A-Lawyer

Jeff Goodwyn answers questions at WLTX Ask-A-Lawyer

The 6 on-camera attorneys were Cynthia A. Coker, T. Jeff Goodwyn, Edna Primus, Jennifer W. Rubin, Tana Vanderbilt and Robin F. Wheeler.

Cindy Coker, SC Bar Public Services Director

Cindy Coker, SC Bar Public Services Director

The phones were ringing non-stop. WLTX graciously provided us with water and chocolate; both of which were appreciated. Darci Strickland and Andrea Mock interviewed us during the session and helped us maintain our energy with their enthusiasm. And at the end of the evening, JR Berry dropped by to thank us for our hard work.

Edna Primus and Tana Vanderbilt field questions

Edna Primus and Tana Vanderbilt field questions

Caller Origin:

  • 18 of my 30 calls originated from Richland County;
  • 1 from Fairfield;
  • 1 from Florence;
  • 1 from Greenwood;
  • 2 from Kershaw;
  • 3 from Lexington;
  • 3 from Orangeburg; and
  • 1 from Sumter.

Mind you, I had 30 calls total in a 2 1/2 hour span and I even took a moment off the phones for an interview.

Caller Issues:

  • 6 questions about Divorce/Alimony
  • 5 Child Support/Child Custody and Visitation/Adoption
  • 4 Consumer Law including Bankruptcy
  • 3 Wills and Estates
  • 2 Employment
  • 2 Medical Malpractice/Health Care
  • 1 Social Security
  • 1 Landlord/Tenant
  • 1 Homeowners Associations
  • 1 Immigration
  • 1 Traffic Laws
  • 1 question about Taxes; and
  • 2 non-legal questions.

Ask-A-Lawyer also included the “web-chat” piece. Three attorneys (Peter M. Balthazor, K. Cameron Currie, and Jennifer L. Locklier) fielded web questions during the same time.

All in all, it was a busy time, but I enjoyed every caller and hope that they felt that they had received a worthy service from us. I will DEFINITELY do this again.

Thanks to SC Bar staff Deborah Morris who coordinates the event, Joey Heape who insures that the web equipment functioned properly, and Elizabeth Martin who popped in for a few photos.

And special thanks to our host station, WLTX. You helped us make this a success!

-NOSY WHEELER

LATE PS – I wish I had asked the name of the camera operator at our station because he was an absolute delight. When he saw us running out of water, he brought the new bottle to us. Thank you Camera Operator!

Don’t Get Hurled Away by a Hurricane!

Hurricane 09

Hurricane season is here! (June 1-November 30) 

A hurricane can have potentially long lasting and devastating effects if you are caught unprepared.  It is not difficult to take steps before a hurricane hits to protect you and your home, but dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane when you did not prepare can be a long painful process.  Don’t wait until a hurricane is on its way toward your home town; take the time now to secure the safety of you and your family so you are not caught off-guard by a hurricane this season.  In South Carolina, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division is a great place to start to prepare for a disaster.

Steps to take before a hurricane hits (FEMA):

  1. Secure your home with permanent storm shutters or plywood.
  2. Make sure your roof is securely fastened to the frame structure of your home.
  3. Trim trees and shrubs.
  4. Clean out rain gutters and downspouts.
  5. If you have a boat, secure it.
  6. Build or determine which room in your house is the most secure in case of an emergency.
  7. Make copies of your personal records including Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Passport, etc.  Give the copies to relatives in another state or keep them stored electronically where they can be accessed from anywhere.

How to get help after a hurricane hits (National Disaster Legal Aid):

  1. A list of local organizations that can help can be found at www.lawhelp.org
  2. If you lose your ID, passport, Social Security card, or other important documents you can find out how to replace them at www.uslegalforms.com/life-documents.htm
  3. Sometimes homes are destroyed or inaccessible in the wake of a hurricane and families are not able to return home.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing and FEMA have programs that provide temporary housing.
  4. Families that are displaced due to hurricane might have problems finding employment.  The Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program gives assistance through unemployment benefits.  You cannot be eligible for these benefits if you already receive unemployment.  Visit their website for eligibility requirements.
  5. If you are displaced because of a hurricane then your children will need to find a temporary school to meet their education needs.  www.serve.org/nche/downloads/dis_hb/parents.pdf.
  6. Disaster food stamps assistance is available in the wake of a hurricane.
  7. Legal aid attorneys can help with landlord/tenant issues, contractor disputes, insurance issues and more.
  8. Other websites that can help in disaster preparedness:
    1. www.redcross.org
    2. www.abanet.org/disaster
    3. www.nilc.org/disaster_assistance/index.htm

-Allie

In the News: Commissioner Sue Berkowitz

Forbes.com features a story about Medicaid in South Carolina and Commissioner Sue Berkowitz is quoted in the article.

According to the Forbes article:

A deal reached Thursday will send $173 million immediately to South Carolina’s Medicaid programs to restore money lost to budget cuts for everything from cancer treatments to wheelchair ramps.

-RFW