A hotline offering legal services to seniors dealing with financial scams is open for business and welcomes help from volunteer attorneys. The Texas Elder Exploitation Project (TEEP), an expansion of the Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC) Legal Hotline for Texans, has received a three-year, $300,000 federal grant, says Judy Doran (pictured), the managing attorney of the project. “We’d love to have volunteer attorneys,” Doran says. “We give free legal advice to seniors 60 and older and those on Medicare.” Volunteer attorneys will help answer the hotline in Austin or be available to handle clients referred for court actions, she says. The project helps seniors at risk of financial exploitation — harassment by debt collectors, overcharges for services or products, or being tricked into signing documents that give away their property or bank account control, Doran says. The grant to implement the TEEP is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging. The TLSC will also contribute $100,000 to the project over the three-year period, Doran says. “At the end of three years all that money goes away and we have to get private funding,” she says. Attorneys interested in helping can reach Doran by calling 512-637-5419, extension 146.
-- Jeanne Graham