From the Chief Executive Officer by jolinmilioncherie


									From the Chief Executive Officer

                Once again, we here at Legal Services for the Elderly, have used the fiscal
realities of this recession to forge exciting new partnerships. This year, we started a new
collaboration called PULSE. The partners in PULSE are examples of programs that do not
receive any federal Legal Services Corporation funding and whose core programs provide
services to the most vulnerable, hard-to-reach populations. We are independent, non-profit
programs that get our support largely from private donations, foundations, government
funding from a variety of sources and IOLA funds. At the same time that our funding has
been cut or is being threatened, we have seen a tremendous increase in demand for our
services in responding to the needs of some of the most at risk—the elderly, victims of
abuse, seasonal workers and the rural poor.

        PULSE was established as part of an effort to respond to the unmet legal needs of
the underserved and rural poor in upstate New York. We foster collaboration and resource
sharing among our members in the provision of direct legal services and statewide policy
advocacy to low-income, rural and other underserved populations. Our intent is to enable
our programs to expand our current individual capacities to provide services to New
York’s most vulnerable. Although we expect 2011 to be even more challenging than this
past year, we look forward to working with our partners to find new creative, efficient
solutions to meet those challenges together.

                                                  Karen L. Nicolson, Esq. CEO

                                 The Mission of LSED

        It is the mission of Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or
        Disadvantaged of Western New York to improve the quality of life for
        elderly, disabled or disadvantaged persons in Western New York. We do
        so by providing free civil legal services, guardian and trustee
        services to economically and socially disadvantaged older adults, as
        well as to younger disabled and low income persons, as funding
        permits. Our primary goal is to use the legal system to assure that our
        clients may live independently and with dignity.

                                 Overview of Services

       LSED is a not-for-profit human service agency incorporated in 1978 to provide
specialized, free civil legal services to elderly people in the community of Western New
York. Currently we contract with the Departments of Senior Services in the following
counties: Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Allegany, and the Seneca Nation of Indians. In
Genesee and Niagara Counties we contract with the Department of Social Services to
handle Medicare appeals for disabled Medicaid recipients of any age directly referred
through the Departments of Social Services in those counties. In 2007, to respond to the
mortgage foreclosure crisis, we expanded our mortgage foreclosure prevention project
which previously had focused on the City of Buffalo and Erie County. In partnership with
our colleagues at the Legal Aid Bureau, we now handle referrals from the additional
counties of Niagara, Genesee, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, and Wyoming. In
addition, through a grant with the New York State Office for the Aging and in partnership
with the Empire Justice Center, we handle Medicare Part D appeals from any upstate
county. Finally, in 2004, we formed a pooled supplemental needs trust with People Inc.
and Key Bank to provide trustee services to disabled persons receiving public benefits.

       Through our health care program, we seek to ensure access to adequate health care
by handling appeals and questions regarding Medicaid, Medicare, prescription drug
coverage, private health insurance, home health care, long term care insurance and
patients= rights. Health care issues continue to be a major area of concern for seniors;
due, in part, to the significant changes to the federal Medicare program over the last few

       The goal of our housing program is to help our clients avoid homelessness by
defending them in evictions, tax and mortgage foreclosure proceedings and predatory
lending schemes. We also have represented elderly homeowners in the City of Buffalo
faced with housing code violations and assist those clients in obtaining grant money to

make the necessary repairs. Many seniors are long-term city residents and, by helping
them remain in the community, we also ensure the stability and character of local
neighborhoods. Our Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Project is a joint program with the
Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, and several HUD-certified counseling agencies.

       Pursuant to the federal Older Americans Act, we can provide defense counsel to
individuals who are the subject of proceedings pursuant to Article 81 of the Mental
Hygiene Law. We also draft advance directives for our clients, both powers of attorney
and health care proxies. It is our hope that by promoting the use of advance directives, we
can reduce the burden on our courts and community caused by the commencement of
guardianship proceedings.

        In 2007, through a grant with the US Department of Justice=s Office of Violence
against Women, we joined forces with the Unified Court System, Crisis Services, County
Protective Services, Buffalo City Police and the Erie County Sheriff to train local law
enforcement on elder abuse. This past year, we took over as the lead agency from the
court system and were awarded the second round of funding for the continuation of this
project. As a result of our work in training police on elder abuse, the Erie County
Department of Senior Services has seen a significant increase in reports of abuse to their

       We handle issues of income maintenance and some consumer matters with the goal
of increasing the self-sufficiency of our clients. We remove illegal liens on Social
Security accounts, handle utility shut-offs and represent clients in appealing adverse
decisions in the areas of Social Security retirement, non-disability SSI and Veterans=
benefits. We also handle bankruptcy matters for qualified clients who are in danger of
losing their homes.

       In 2001 we began a Grandparents= Rights Program (renamed the Relative Rights=
Project) through a partnership with the Erie County Department of Senior Services. The
goal of this program is to provide support to seniors caring for minor children. A
secondary goal is to preserve intact families and keep children out of the foster care
system. The project is funded by Erie County with a federal grant through Title III-E of
the Older Americans Act. Older relative caregivers can get assistance with custody and
adoption of their minor family members and can also obtain help with issues involving the
child=s (and their own) public benefits.

                                      Clients Served

       Buffalo is the second poorest large city in the country. According to the 2000
census, although Western New York is generally losing population, as the baby boomers
age, the number of seniors in our area will actually increase. Erie County estimates that by
2015 there will be a 73.8% increase in the number of seniors age 85 and older as
compared to 1990 and that almost 1 in 4 residents will be sixty or older. As the number and percentage of seniors increase in
all counties of Western New York, there will be an increased need for our services to
advocate for clients, many of whom will have lost family support, as younger people leave
the area.

       This year LSED closed 1049 cases, and opened an additional 552 mortgage
foreclosure cases with our project Partner the Legal Aid Bureau. Based upon the
information from our closed cases, it is possible to get a picture of our client population.
The typical client in 2009 was more likely to be female (71%) and disabled (56%). Thirty-
six percent (36%) of our clients identified themselves as belonging to a minority group.
As our local population ages, our client base does as well: 45% of our clients were age 75
or older in 2009. Although the Older Americans Act prohibits us from having a strict
income test for eligibility, we target economically and socially disadvantaged individuals
and 70% of our clients identify themselves as low-income.

        As required by the Older Americans Act, every client receives a survey at the
close of his or her case. An impressive 94% of our clients are either very satisfied or
satisfied by our services and staff. The following comments are typical:

       “This program is very important to help keep our children safe. There
       should be more publicity on this program to help grandparents know
       there are resources out there to help.”

       “I just want to say that this office was our beacon of hope. We are
       grandparents who care deeply what was happening to our grandson but
       had no other means other than this office to take action on his behalf.”

       “The service was very professional, courteous and knowledgeable. I was
       very impressed. I certainly appreciate the high quality and knowledgeable
       assistance I received. Thank you.”

       “Thank you for always being there for Mom and me. You are really the
       person closest to the situation. You know it better than anybody. I could
       always trust you. You have a special and very important place. Thank
       you forever, Bill.”


        LSED receives significant funding through the federal Older Americans Act, which
is distributed to the New York State Office for the Aging and finally to the county
Departments of Senior Services. LSED contracts with several Western New York
counties in the proportions illustrated in the attached graph. Our single largest contract is
with the Erie County Department of Senior Services.

        In 2010, LSED received two grants from the Interest on Lawyers Account (IOLA)
Fund: one for general operating expenses and one for our Mortgage Foreclosure
Prevention Project with the Legal Aid Bureau. The IOLA fund was established to receive
the interest earned by funds held in client accounts by attorneys. Although the interest on
individual accounts is negligible, when pooled in an IOLA account, the income is
sufficient to benefit needy persons. This source of revenue supplemented our
governmental contracts, allowing us to serve many more clients than otherwise would
have been possible. IOLA provides critical support for our outreach programs to Hispanic
and African-American elderly.

        Our local New York State Assembly Members and Senators have been instrumental
this year in obtaining continued funding for our program. In the past years, we have been
fortunate to receive local initiative funding from both the Assembly and the Senate, as
well a small budget line for civil legal services from the Assembly. In 2009 for the first
time, the Senate also provided critical funding for civil legal services programs throughout
New York. Although state funding for the 2010-2011 budget has not been decided, we
are hopeful that our local legislators will continue to see the benefit of our program to
their constitutents.

       Each year we must ask the local community to support the work we do. We run
both an annual golf tournament and a direct mail drive. In addition, we use staff and
board members to handle all special events, so that all of the funds raised can go back into
our program. As government funding has gotten more scarce, we have had to ask more of
our friends. Without their support, we would be unable to accommodate the ever-
increasing calls for help. In 2010, private donations, special events and fundraising
totaled $82,115.00.

      We would like to thank the following donors who supported us in 2010. We
apologize if we neglected to include anyone. Please call Karen Nicolson at 853-3087 if
you need to make any corrections.

Joseph Ables, Esq.                            Jil Bond, Esq.
Abota Buffalo Chapter                         Diane Bosse, Esq.
Peter S. Aiello, Esq.                         Robert Boreanaz, Esq.
John Aigner                                   Jennifer D. Bowen, Esq.
David Alexander, Esq.                         John Brady
Joseph Allen, Esq.                            Brautigam & Brautigam
Michelle Allen, Esq.                          Christopher Brechtel, Esq.
Amato, Fox Company PC                         Briarwood Manor
Nicholas P. Amigone III, Esq.                 Philip Brothman, Esq.
Grace Andriette, Esq.                         Joel Brownstein, Esq.
Sharon Anscombe-Osgood                        Gregory Brown, Esq.
Thomas Ansuini, Esq.                          Kelly Brunacini – Feminists Choosing Life
Ann Arnold, Esq.                              Chris Brunea, Esq.
James Arnone, Esq.                            Thomas Brydges, Esq.
AXA Advisors, LLP                             Buffalo Law Journal
Hedwig Auletta, Esq.                          Joseph Burgio, Esq.
Diane Avery, Esq.                             Kathleen Burr, Esq.
Brian Baird, Esq.                             Thomas Butler, Esq.
The Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation         Margaret Butler
Sunil Bakshi, Esq.                            Campbell & Shelton
The Ballow Law Firm                           Richard Campbell, Esq.
Beata Banas, Esq.                             Canterbury Woods
Peter Battagia, Esq.                          Kathleen Carmody, Esq.
Michaelene Bauer                              Alan Carrel, Esq.
Holly Baum, Esq.                              Jerome Carrel, Esq.
Beechwood Continuing Care                     Patricia I. Carrington, Esq.
Charles Beinhauer, Esq.                       Robert Castellani, Esq.
Joseph Bergen, Esq.                           Joe R.Cavan, Esq.
Paul William Beltz PC                         Anthony Cerrone, Esq.
Thomas Bender, Esq.                           Paul Cesara
Cindy Kaplan Bennes, Esq.                     Chiacchia & Fleming
J. Fred Bennes                                Dexter Chow-Yuk
Ericka Bennett, Esq.                          Patricia Ciccarelli, Esq.
Jan Berg                                      Paula Ciprich, Esq.
Joseph R. Bergen, Esq.                        Clark & Whipple
Bergen & Schiffmacher, LLP                    Lynn Clarke, Esq.
William C. Bernhardi                          Sanford Clark, Esq.
Donna Berry                                   Michael Collins
William W. Berry, Esq.                        Anthony J. Colucci III, Esq.
Katherine Bestine, Esq.                       Frederick Cohen, Esq.
Better Business Bureau                        Cohen & Lombardo
David W. Beyer, Esq.                          Cornelius Collins, Esq.
Edward Bickford, Bickford Paper               J. Michael & Mrs. Collins
Gary Billingsley, Esq.                        Williams B. Collins, Esq.
George R. Blair, Jr., Esq.                    MaryAnn Connell, Esq.
Richard Blewett, Esq.                         Joseph Connelly, Esq.
Hon. Lisa Bloch-Rodwin                        Mary Ann Connelly
Edward Bloomberg, Esq.                        Robert Conklin, Esq.

Cooke & Steffan                      Robert Fleming, Esq.
Peter Costa, Esq.                    David Floyd, Esq.
Patricia Costanzo, Esq.              Hon. Lenore Foote-Beavers
Paul Crapsi, Jr., Esq.               Shari Franco – Canterbury Woods
Paul Curtin, Esq.                    Robert Frangooles, Esq.
Leslie Curtin                        Howard Frank, Esq.
Alfonso Cutaia, Esq.                 Dr. Jack Freer
Tara Cutaia                          Wayne Freid, Esq.
Victoria D’Angelo, Esq.              Sandra B. Friedfertig
William Daetsch, Esq.                Kenneth Friedman, Esq.
Damon & Morey                        John J. Fromen, Sr. Esq.
Michael Daumen, Esq.                 Joe Frusicone – M&T Bank
Barbara J. Davies                    Jeffrey Fuchs, Esq.
Roger Davison, Esq.                  Thomas Gaffney, Esq.
Mark Della Posta, Esq.               Sarah Galvan, Esq.
Sheila Dickinson, Esq.               GAR Associates
DiFilippo & Flaherty, PC             Jeff Gangi, Esq.
Daniel Dillon, Esq.                  Sue Gardner, Esq.
Melinda Disare, Esq.                 William Gardner, Esq.
Thomas Disare, Esq.                  Henry Gartner, Esq.
John Dorn, Esq.                      Hon. Joseph Gerace
John Doscher, Esq.                   Lloyd Gerbush
Greta Doscher                        Arthur Giacalone, Esq.
John Drexelius, Esq.                 Gibson, McAskill & Crosby
Margaret Drexelius                   Peter Gilfillan, Esq.
Thadeus Dziekonski, Esq.             Herman Ginsburg, Esq.
Gayle L. Eagan, Esq.                 Eric Glazer, Esq.
James Eagan                          Howard Gondree, Esq.
John D. Edick                        Lillian Gondree
Susan Egloff, Esq.                   Hon. Jerome Gorski
John Elliott, Esq.                   Gerald Grace, Jr., Esq.
Patrick Emmerling, Esq.              William Grande, Esq.
Catherine Emmerling                  Josephine A. Greco & Associates, PLLC
Tonya Ervin                          Leslie Mark Greenbaum, Esq.
Robert S. Esposito                   Richard Griffin, Esq.
Joanna Esquilin                      Dr. Jane Griffin
Anne Evans, Esq.                     J. Mark Gruber, Esq.
Evans-Devereux Memorial Fund         Mara Gruber
Evans & Evans                        Frederick Gugino, Esq.
Lydia Evans, Esq.                    Gurney Becker & Bourne
Randy Fahs, Esq.                     Rita Merino Hager, Esq.
Margaret Fahs                        David Hall, Esq.
Anna Falicov, Esq.                   Bonne Hall
Hon. Leo Fallon                      Harold Halpern, Esq.
Family Choice of New York, LLC       Hamberger &Weiss
David Farmelo, Esq.                  Mark Hamberger, Esq.
Wendy Fechter, Esq.                  Rita M. Hamilton
Felman Kieffer, LLP                  Thomas Hanifin, Esq.
Feminists Choosing Life              Vincent Hanley, Esq.
John Feroleto, Esq.                  Jeffrey Harrington, Esq.
Hon. Paula L. Feroleto               Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP
John Feroleto, Esq.                  Paul Hassett, Esq.
Helen Ferraro-Zaffram                Jennifer Hayes
Hon. Joseph Fiorella                 Nan Haynes, Esq.
Brian Fitzgerald, Esq.               Robert Heary, Esq.
Mary Flanagan                        Michele Heffernan, Esq.

Franklin Heller, Esq.                       Courtland LaVallee, Esq.
Barbra Heller                               Kathleen Lawley Best – Lawley Insurance
Audrey Herman                               David Lazenski,Esq.
Thomas Hewner, Esq.                         Patricia Lazenski
George Hezel, Esq.                          Legal Med
Sally Clough-Hezel, Esq.                    Paula Leszak
Carla Higgins, Esq.                         Mark Lillenstein, Esq.
William Hites, Esq.                         Martin Linihan, Esq.
Marilyn Hochfield, Esq.                     Lipsitz & Ponterio
Hodgson Russ LLP                            Sally Logan, Esq.
HoganWillig                                 Thomas Lokken, Esq.
Sally Hogan, Esq.                           Lombardo Funeral Home
Home Instead Senior Care                    Mary Ellen Loncto
David Hoover, Esq.                          Leonard London, Esq.
Hurwitz & Fine                              Frank Longo, Esq.
Thomas Hyde, Esq.                           Colleen Losi, Esq.
Martha Hyde                                 The M&T Charitable Foundation
James W. Ingham – Mentholatum Co.           James Magavern, Esq.
Paul Issac, Esq.                            Magavern Magavern Grimm, LLP
Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel, LLP           Main Seneca Corporation
James Jarvis, Jr., Esq.                     Sam Maislin, Esq.
Alice Joseffer, Esq.                        William Maldovan, Esq.
Todd M. Joseph, Esq.                        James Maloy, Esq.
Josephine A. Greco & Associates, PLLC       Henry Mancinelli, Esq.
Hon. Norman Joslin                          Susan Mangold
Karen Kaczmarski, Esq.                      Giles Manias, Esq.
Gary Kanaley, Esq.                          Robert Marinelli, Esq.
Kathleen Kanaley                            Mindy Marranca, Esq.
Hon. James Kane                             Daniel Marren, Esq.
George Kannar, Esq.                         H. Jeffrey Marcus, Esq.
Judith Katzenelson, Esq.                    Edward Markarian, Esq.
Kavinoky Cook LLP                           Hon. Frederick Marshall
Thomas Keable, Esq.                         Lynn Mather
Josh Keats                                  Brenda Mattar, Esq.
Thomas Keefe, Esq.                          Karen Matthews
Brendan Kelleher, Esq.                      Karen McCaffert, Esq.
Kenney, Shelton & Liptak & Nowak, LLP       W. Donn McCarthy, Esq.
David Kernan, Esq.                          Athena McCrory, Esq.
Joan Kernan                                 Lisa McDougall, Esq.
Key Private Bank                            Philip McIntyre,Esq.
Hon. Mary Ann Killeen Ast                   Donald McKenna, Esq.
Peter Klein, Esq.                           William McLaughlin, Esq.
Robert Klump, Esq.                          Kathleen McMahon-Stoll, Esq.
Karl Kristoff, Esq.                         Medtronic Foundation
Eleanor Kubiniec, Esq.                      Mentholatum Company
Paul Kullman, Esq.                          Robert and Elizabeth Meiss
Thomas Kurtz – Amato-Fox Company PC         Hon. Ann Mikoll
Robert Kutzuba,Esq.                         James Milbrand, Esq.
Richard Kwieciak, Esq.                      Minority Bar Association
Kysor & Della Posta                         Francine Modica, Esq.
Hon. John LaFalce                           Mark Montour, Esq.
Hon. John Lane                              Richard E. Moot, Esq.
Robert Lane, Esq.                           Timothy Mordaunt, Esq.
Frederick Lang, Esq.                        Gayle Murphy, Esq.
Laping, Surdej Associates                   William Murphy, Esq.
JP Latacki                                  Glenn Edward Murray, Esq.

Sue Dealy Murszewski, Esq.                 Barbara Riedel
National Fuel                              RICH’S
Thomas Nelson, Esq.                        Patrick Roach, Esq.
F. Harris Nichols, Esq.                    Amy Rosen-Brand
Robert Nichols, Esq.                       Howard Rosenhoch, Esq.
Karen Nicolson, Esq.                       Valerie Rosenhoch
Nixon Peabody LLP                          Marcella Rosinski, Esq.
North Forest Civic Association             Richard Rosso, Esq.
Frederic P. Norton, Esq.                   Rupp, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham
Randall Odza, Esq.                            & Coppola LLC
Rita Odza                                  Arthur A. Russ, Jr., Esq.
Michael Olear/The Olear Realty Group       Hugh M. Russ III, Esq.
Victor Oliveri, Esq.                       Louis Russo, Esq.
Timothy O’Mara, Esq.                       Joseph Saeli, Esq.
Benjamin D. Oppenheimer, DDS               Nancy Sais, Esq.
Randolph Oppenheimer, Esq.                 Jerome Schad, Esq.
Benjamin D. Oppenheimer, DDS               Bernard Schenkler, Esq.
Laurence & Andrea Oppenheimer              Geralyn Schiffler, Esq.
Linda Orfeo – Orchard Glen                 James Schultz, Jr., Esq.
Patrick O’Reilly, Esq.                     Sheila Schwanekamp, Esq.
Hon. William Ostrowski                     Denis A. Scinta, Esq.
James Parker                               E. Michael Semple, Esq.
Michele Parker, Esq.                       Eugene Setel, Esq.
Thomas Pares, Esq.                         Settlement Professionals, Inc.
Dr. Joel Paull                             Michael Sexton, Esq.
Paul Pearson, Esq.                         Michael Shannon, Esq.
People Inc.                                David Shapiro, Esq.
Personius Melber LLP                       James Shaw, Esq.
Rodney Personius, Esq.                     Shaw & Shaw P.C.
Paul Peters, Esq.                          Richard Sherwood, Esq.
Kathleen Peters                            Daniel Shonn, Jr., Esq.
Arc Petricca, Esq.                         Myron Siebel, Esq.
Pfalzgraf, Beinhauer & Menzies             Robert Sillars, Esq.
Phillips Lytle LLP                         Nadeen Singh, Esq.
Susan Piver, Esq.                          SynchroNet
Judy Piwowar                               David L. Silverberg, Esq.
Ronald Plesh                               Carrie Smith, Esq.
Daniel Polowy, Esq.                        Jamie Smith, Esq.
Arlene Polowy                              Thomas Smith, Esq.
Patricia Potts, Esq.                       Eugene Smolka, Esq.
Theodore Pyrak, Esq.                       Oscar Smukler, Esq.
Michael Pysz, Esq.                         James Smyton, Esq.
Lauren Rachlin, Esq.                       Patricia Smyton
Rapid Ray’s                                Margaret Snajczuk, Esq.
Rayford Enterprises, Inc.                  Edward Snyder, Esq.
Robert Reden, Esq.                         Arnold Soeder, Es.
Reeds Jewelers                             Catherine Soeder
Jack Reich                                 Solar Liberty Energy Systems
Shari Jo Reich, Esq.                       Karen Spencer, Esq.
William Reich, Esq.                        Jeffrey Spencer, Esq.
Raymond Reichert, Esq.                     Michelle Spencer
Michael Reilly, Esq.                       Mark Spitler, Esq.
Bruce Reinoso, Esq.                        Jil St. Ledger-Roty, Esq.
Aven Rennie, Esq.                          David Starkey, Esq.
The Resource Center                        Richard Steinberg
George Riedel, Esq.                        Mark Steiner, Esq.

Robert Steinhaus, Esq.                        Kristina M. Young & Associates
Michele Sterlace-Accorsi, Esq.                Marilyn Zahm, Esq.
David Sweet, Esq.                             Robert Zahm
Brenda Symans                                 Nelson Zakia, Esq.
Synchronet Industries, Inc.                   Paul Zarembka
Louise Szimonisz, Esq.                        Joseph Zdarky, Esq.
Supermarket Management                        Arnold Zelman, Esq.
Ronald & Margaret Talboys                     George Michael Zimmerman, Esq.
Rebecca Talmud, Esq.                          George M. Zimmerman, Esq.
Teamsters Local #264                          Helen W. Zimmerman, Esq.
Donald Terranova, Esq.                        Gregory Zini, Esq.
The Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation
The Law Office of Mark Steiner
The M&T Charitable Foundation
John Thompson, Esq.
Roberts Tills, Esq.
Richard Tobe, Esq.
Susan Bring Tobe, Esq.
TOPS/ 460 Niagara Street, Buffalo
Hon. Sharon Townsend
Trigilio/Ciambrone Partnership
Thomas Troy, Esq.
Wendy Tuttle, Esq.
Denis J. Uminski, Esq.
Uniland Development
United Way
University at Buffalo Law School
Radhika Varavenkataraman, Esq.
Mary Virginia,Esq.
Joseph Vispi, Esq.
Judith Voit, Esq.
WNY Chapter – Women’s Bar Association
Patrick Wahl
Mark Walling, Esq.
Heidi Walling
Raymond Walter, Esq.
Ruthanne Wannop, Esq.
Robert Wannop
Thomas Ward, Esq.
Paul Weaver, Esq.
Daniel Webster, Esq.
Lester H. Wedekindt, Inc. Funeral Home
Brian Weidner, Esq.
Cathryn Weidner
West Herr Auto Group
Hon. Gerald J. Whalen
Justin White, Esq.
J. Joseph Wilder, Esq.
Ann Williams, Esq.
Furnette Williams
Therese Wincott, Esq.
Wayne Wishbaum, Esq.
Wolfgang & Weinmann
Laurence Woodward, Esq.
Diane Wrightson
Richard Wyssling, Esq.


       LSED draws volunteer law students and attorneys, who provide invaluable
additional services to our clients and the community at large. This year we continued our
relationship with the SUNY at Buffalo School of Law to run a clinic program through our
office. The students in this program earn class credit for working on LSED files. They
are supervised, at no cost to the agency, by Professor Anthony Szczygiel. As a result, we
received 1,147 hours of free law student services in 2010 and Professor Szczygiel donated
another 660 hours of his own time.

                 Community Presentations, Recognitions and Awards

        This year, Legal Services for the Elderly has been a local newsmaker. We received
the Community Leader Award in the Legal Category from the National Federation for Just
Communities of Western New York. We also received the Community Partner of the
Year award from People Inc. In addition, our office was featured in a series of articles by
Donn Esmonde from the Buffalo News. The story focused on our client, an 80-year-old
city resident who had lost her home of 30 years in the city tax foreclosure sale due to an
unpaid garbage bill. The publicity from the series helped us resolve the case in her favor.

       In addition, our staff presented at community forums, including the Annual Elder
Law Fair in Cheektowaga and several free elder clinics at the Amherst senior center. We
estimate that 1,500 seniors and advocates heard one of our 31 presentations in 2010.

        Finally, our staff members have taken leadership roles in the aging community.
This year staff members have served on the board of HOME (Housing Opportunities
Made Equal), chaired the Erie County Elder Abuse Council, served on the planning
committee for the 2011 Annual Meeting of the National Guardianship Association, served
as a member of the MIT Educational Council, sat on the Kenmore Mercy Ethics
Committee, served on the Chautauqua County Elder Abuse Committee, served on the Erie
County Kinship Care Coalition, member of the Erie County Medical Center’s Ethics
Committee, member of the Physicians/Attorney Women’s Task Force – Erie County
Medical Society, and as the Erie County Bar Association’s liason with the Erie County
Medical Society.

                              INDIVIDUAL CONTRACTS

                                       Erie County

       Our very first funder was the Erie County Department of Senior Services in 1975
when we were a part of the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo. In 1975 we had a single funder
for a budget of $56,000. We now have more than 30 separate funding sources, an
operating budget of 1.2 million dollars and open more than 1,700 new files per year.
However, Erie County Senior Services continues to be a core funding source, providing us
with $392,000 through several grants in 2010.

        New clients either call our office directly, or are referred by caseworkers from the
department. We visit clients in the community whenever necessary and work closely with
the Department of Senior Services to set case priorities that will target the most
economically and socially disadvantaged seniors. Our staff meets weekly to assess
priorities to ensure that we use our limited resources most efficiently and where we are
most needed.

       Father B., a 63-year-old former Catholic priest had a sudden stroke and
       was placed in a skilled nursing facility. Two years prior, he paid some bills
       on behalf of his 90-year-old aunt who had no checking account of her
       own. His aunt gave him the cash, and he paid her bills via check. When it
       was time for him to apply for Medicaid he was denied because Medicaid
       stated that he had made gifts for her benefit. At the hearing, the hearing
       officer found that due to the sudden onset of the stroke and his history of
       no prior ill health, it was clear that the payments were not made to qualify
       for Medicaid. The hearing officer also found Father B.’s testimony that
       his aunt gave him cash to be credible. Medicaid was ordered to cover the
       cost of the nursing home in full.

      Health care issues continue to be a major source of concern for our clients.
According to the National Consumer Loan Center, one third of personal bankruptcies
include significant medical debt. By appealing denials of Medicare, Medicaid and
private health insurance, we keep our clients solvent and out of bankruptcy court.

We were contacted by a local facility on behalf of Mr. H., an 84-year-old
veteran. He had not paid his bills and was in danger of being evicted. Mr.
H. had lost his home to tax foreclosure and the small amount of money he
received after the tax lien was paid made him ineligible for SSI and
Medicaid. We were able to advocate with the Veterans administration get
him free, comprehensive medical care, including prescription drug
coverage. We also helped to sort out his bills and get him current, thereby
avoiding an eviction.

Mrs. B, an 84-year- old resident of an assisted living center was informed
that her SSI payments had stopped due to an overpayment. As a result,
she could not longer afford to pay her room and board and the facility
was threatening to evict her. We discovered that, for several months, her
bank account was a few dollars over the $2,000 resource limit. As a
result, she incorrectly received SSI payments for those months. Social
Security stopped her payments and demanded a repayment of $9,000. At
the hearing we were able to convince the hearing officer that the
overpayment was not her fault and it was waived. In addition, we had
her spend her “excess resources” which immediately reinstated her
benefits and avoided an eviction.

Our client, Mrs. C., was referred to us because she was destitute when her
husband was admitted to a long-term care facility. Mrs. C. told us that the
hospital was taking his entire income and she wanted to know what she
was entitled to keep for her expenses. Our client was confused about her
rights and had no insurance coverage. She had applied for Medicaid, but
the hospital pressured her into signing away her rights to her community
spouse income allowance to pay the past medical debt. We threatened a
law suit and the hospital returned $13,026.00, which they had illegally
collected from her and agreed to void the agreement she signed.

                               Relatives= Rights Project

       Through a contract with the Erie County Department of Senior Services with pass
through funds from Title III-E of the Older Americans Act, we offer legal representation
and advice to older caregivers in the areas of custody, guardianship, adoption and public
benefits. This year our project staff helped 108 families. Although the main focus of this
project involves advocacy in Family Court to obtain custody of minor children, we pride
ourselves on advocating for our clients in all areas that impact these Anew@ families.

       A pregnant woman suffered a traumatic head injury as she was struck by
       a hit and run driver. She was hospitalized and gave birth to a healthy
       child. However, the mother remains in the hospital and her prognosis is

       Unfortunately, the mother’s husband (child’s father) suffers from a
       serious mental illness and Child Protective Services removed the baby
       immediately upon birth. The father refused to consent to placing the
       child with the mother’s parents and, in fact, prevented any contact
       between them and the child. The grandparents contacted our office for

       We petitioned the court for custody and immediately for visitation in the
       interim. However, the father’s consent was necessary to make the
       grandparents permanent custodians and that was not forthcoming. In
       order to move the child out of the foster care system as quickly as
       possible, we moved to expedite foster parent training for the
       grandparents. Within six weeks they were certified and on the very day
       that they were certified, the County placed the baby with our clients.
       They are now serving as foster parents and are placed to move for
       permanent custody, if the father continues to be unable to parent.

       Our client asked the court to assume custody of three (3) grandchildren
       as the mother was impaired due to substance abuse. A year later, the
       mother repetitioned to regain custody, although she continued to abuse
       narcotics. Because of the mother’s petition, a father of one of the
       children also asked for custody, despite the fact that he had no contact
       with the child for nine years and that the child herself pleaded not to be
       separated from her two siblings.

       This case took well over a year to litigate, but through perseverance we
       obtained a very satisfactory settlement. The mother agreed to move back
       to Buffalo and live near the grandmother where she rejoined the Church
       and is undergoing dependency counseling. For father, we agreed to
       initiate visitation here in Buffalo, as father also resided in Maryland.
       Father came several times to visit with the child and also maintained
       telephone contact. The agreement is for the child to visit with the father
       and his family in Maryland over school vacation periods and the child
       will continue to reside with our client along with her siblings. Not only
       does she have security and stability, she also has her dad back in her life
       and a mother who now understands what she gave up and is willing to
       work to get it back. This case involved over 65 hours of legal time.

                                      Elder Abuse

        LSED handles a limited number of highly labor-intensive protective services cases
when appointed by the Court as guardian. LSED=s services as guardian are typically in
situations where intervention is sought by a hospital for an indigent patient who may not
be capable of giving informed consent, or in cases of elder abuse.

       Mrs. B had lived in a rural community her entire life. First she lost her
       husband, and then her son passed away. A local woman used this
       opportunity to prey upon her, convincing her to make her the Power of
       Attorney while keeping her high on prescription medicines and alcohol.
       During this time, the abuser also got a Visa card in our client’s name and
       stole all of her assets under the guise of helping her with her bills.
       Unfortunately all of the bills went into arrears and her house went into
       foreclosure. A friend of the family got suspicious, and took her to Florida
       with her for the winter. It was at this time she discovered the extent of the
       abuse and we got a phone call for help.

      In discussions with our client, she told us that she was lonely and isolated
      and did not wish to return to her house in the country. However, she did
      want to come back to the Buffalo area with her friend. Although our client
      was in Florida, we were able to convince a local Assisted Living Facility to
      accept her upon their return to Buffalo. Due to her history of alcohol abuse
      and the status of her finances, we had to call and advocate with many
      facilities and doctors in order to convince someone to accept her. We also
      revoked the abuser’s POA and got our client services through the Erie
      County Department of Senior Services. In addition, we also drafted a
      health care proxy for her. We also referred the case to the Erie County
      Sherriff’s for prosecution and the investigation is on-going.

                                   Cattaraugus County

       We continue our decades-long partnership with the Cattaraugus County Department
of the Aging in 2010. Staff attorney, Bill Berry, made monthly visits to the county in
order to visit clients, conduct intake, and appear in court.

      Acting upon our complaint on behalf of our 85-year-old client, the New
      York State Insurance Department fined an Olean-area insurance salesman
      more than $3,000.00. The fine was for arranging the transfer of this elderly
      widow’s annuity from one insurance company to another without bothering
      to advise of, or file tax forms required to make this a tax-free transfer,
      costing our client approximately $25,000.00 in federal and state income
      taxes. We also made a referral to a private attorney for a damages action
      against agent, as we do not handle fee-generating matters.

       Mr. S’s wife suffers from severe dementia. He has been struggling for
       years to keep her at home and had been refusing to even consider the
       possibility of a nursing home. Several “day care” options did not work out
       because of either cost ($5,000 per month) or his wife’s incontinence. When
       we met with him, we advised him to apply for the Long Term Home Health
       Care Program through the Cattaraugus County Health Department. In the
       meantime, we successfully advocated with the Health Department to
       increase the number of hours of Medicare-covered aides they put in her
       initial care plan. His wife received enhanced services through the
       LTHHCP and her ultimate admission to a nursing home was delayed by the
       better part of a year, thus helping the client achieve his goal of keeping his
       wife at home as long as possible, as well as saving the County Medicaid
       long-term care dollars.

                                      Chautauqua County

        We contracted again this year with the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging.
Staff paralegal, Brenda Symans, conducts intake at two locations in buildings occupied by
the Office for the Aging. This cooperative arrangement permits LSED to provide more
direct service hours at a lower cost, reducing travel time and fostering a close day-to-day
working relationship with the County. In addition, we are able to leverage statewide
funding through IOLA to handle mortgage foreclosures in the county and State Office for
the Aging dollars to handle Medicare Prescription drug appeals.

       Through our office for the Aging contract, this year we closed 64 cases in
Chautauqua County and provided 612 hours of services. We dealt with a variety of issues
including: debtor/creditor matters, evictions, landlord disputes, Social Security, SSI, tax
foreclosure and Medicaid. We also provided several trainings on a variety of topics
including: Health Care Proxies, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney and an overview of the
services we offer to seniors in the county.

       Our client is an 82-year-old man who received an eviction notice in July.
       We contacted the landlord to ask for additional time to seek alternate
       housing. Client was ill and required daily services from an aide.
       Initially, the landlord was adamant that client leave the premises. The
       landlord's attorney had client served with a Notice of Petition for a
       Holdover. We responded that the legal papers were not properly done
       and would be dismissed by the court. As a result, the landlord's attorney
       withdrew the original petition, however; he had intended on filing a new
       one. A few days later, however, the landlord’s attorney informed us that
       his client instructed him not to file or serve a new holdover petition to
       client. Client is still in his apartment, but we are assisting him in
       applying for senior housing in the event the landlord makes another
       attempt to evict him in the future.

       Mrs. G. is an 88-year-old resident of Chautauqua County who
       discovered that her health insurance was discontinued while she was
       hospitalized. She had a long history of on-time payments, but her policy
       was cancelled when she missed a single payment. As a result, she was
       responsible for thousands of dollars of bills. We filed an appeal with the
       insurance company and had her coverage reinstated retroactively.


       Since 1982 LSED has handled housing law problems for residents of the City of
Buffalo age sixty and over. Our Housing Law for the Elderly Program, unlike our
programs funded with Older Americans Act monies, does have an income eligibility
standard. LSED has assisted qualified clients with the following issues: problems with
tenants (including eviction and collection of rent), compliance with building and health
codes, defense of evictions, and representation of clients in Housing Court, property tax
foreclosure, foreclosures due to water arrears and defense of evictions.

       Several years ago, we started a project to combat predatory lending in Erie County.
In 2007, we expanded the project to include the additional counties of Niagara,
Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee and Allegany. Predatory Lending is generally defined
as abusive or illegal lending practices, or loan terms that are used to strip home equity
from homeowners and make loans unaffordable. The practice ultimately leads to
foreclosure, homelessness and the destruction of urban neighborhoods. We have been

able to continue this important work with the help of, IOLA, the City of Buffalo and New
York State.

        Ms. P. was swindled by a loan modification scam and found himself under
       threat of eviction after the bank took his home without his knowledge.
       After some legal research and attempted negotiation with the bank, we
       brought the matter before a judge. We were able to prove that under a
       bankruptcy, Mr. P. had actually paid off all the mortgage arrears before the
       bank took his house at the foreclosure action. Upon our motion and oral
       argument, Justice Drury overturned the foreclosure sale and restored Mr.
       P.’s ownership of his family’s home.

                                   Niagara County

       Although we do not have a contract for Title III-B funds with the Niagara County
Office for the Aging, we are able to leverage state funding to provide services to Niagara
County residents in the areas of mortgage foreclosure and Medicare Part D. We
subcontract with several housing counseling agencies and receive state funding from the
Banking Department and the Department of Housing and Community Renewal to help
senior and disabled Niagara County residents avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. In
addition, we have a contract with the Niagara County Department of Social Services to
handle Medicare claims for Medicaid recipients. In the process, we obtain needed federal
Medicare coverage for our clients and save the county scarce Medicaid dollars. Finally,
with funding from the New York State Office for the Aging, we handle prescription drug
appeals on behalf of elderly or disabled Niagara County residents.

       Mr. E. is elderly and wheel-chair bound living on social security and the
       limited income of his girlfriend. As his medical expenses increased he had
       trouble making his mortgage payments. The Bank would only offer him a
       payment plan that increased his monthly obligation. He contacted our
       housing counselor partner in Niagara Falls who referred him to us for
       assistance. After we spent several months of advocating with the bank and
       submitting proposals for loan modifications, The bank finally offered him
       a government subsidized mortgage modification under the Obama
       administration’s Making Home Affordable program. Mr. E. now pays
       about $100 less each month and will avoid the stress of a foreclosure

                                 New York State

      Since 1994, LSED has received a line item in the New York State Budget. However,
that line item has been consistently cut and was at only $10,000 by 2010. In addition,
LSED has been the recipient of member item funding from former Senators Volker and
Stachowski and the local Assembly delegation through the Legal Services Assistance Fund.
In 2008 we entered into a subcontract with Empire Justice under a grant with the State
Office for the Aging to handle appeals under the federal Medicare Prescription Drug
program. Funding from New York State has provided general support and expanded the
services we are able to provide to our clients. State funding is vital to our program,
particularly since allocations to the counties from the Older Americans Act, our main
source of funding, have not increased in several years. As of this writing, most of our New
York State funding sources were eliminated, or severely curtailed, in the 2010-2011
budget. Without state funding, we will have to cut staff to respond to rising costs, helping
fewer clients every year.

       Mr. H is 63-years-old and has suffered from chronic blood cancer for the
       last decade. He has had several bone marrow transplants and other
       horrendous treatments in order to survive. The cost of his anti-rejection
       and an array of other drugs he needs to stay alive would be unaffordable if
       he didn’t have Medicare Part D with full Extra Help to fill in Medicare Part
       D’s significant gaps. His Extra Help eligibility is in turn dependent on
       periodic Medicaid eligibility, because his monthly income is just a little too
       high to qualify for Extra Help otherwise. He had in the past been allowed
       to accumulate medical bills and submit them to Medicaid every three
       months, thus qualifying for Extra Help. This year, the county decided to
       terminate the arrangement and discontinued him from Medicaid coverage,
       which would have triggered a termination of his drug coverage. After
       much research on the interplay between the three programs, we convinced
       the Medicaid caseworker that he was indeed, eligible for coverage. He
       will have full Extra Help for all of 2011 to cover the cost of his life-
       sustaining drugs and be able to repeat the process for 2012, leaving him
       with funds enough to make his life a little more comfortable


       LSED is a charter member of the Interest on Lawyer Account Fund, a program
dedicated to providing funds for civil legal services programs and programs for the
improvement of the administration of justice. The IOLA funds are used to support our
entire program; with particular emphasis on the poor minority communities we serve.
IOLA funds have enabled us to steadily increase our services to the Latino and African-
American communities over the years. In 2009, 36% of our clients identified themselves
as not Caucasian. In 1999, only 26% of our clients self-identified as non-white. Our
Hispanic Outreach Program, as well as our outreach efforts into the African-American
community, is supported entirely by our grant from the IOLA Fund.

        This year, we were fortunate to receive additional IOLA funding through our
partnership with the Legal Aid Bureau to combat the rising tide of mortgage foreclosures
in our area. These cases often involve long term homeowners who, in desperation, turn to
sub-prime lenders.

     IOLA funding allows us to supplement the services we offer in the rural
communities, where the need is high, but the county resources are very limited.

      Client is a 63-year-old woman who has chronic, serious medical issues.
      Her sole source of income is Social Security. Client took out a loan to pay
      for an old medical bill, and now the loan was in collections at a rate of
      29.24%. Client's husband became ill and he was hospitalized; his sole
      source of income is Social Security. They tried to make full payments, but
      couldn't, which resulted in daily harassing phone calls, not just to client,
      but they started to call family and friends about the debt. We advocated on
      their behalf and got the interest rate lowered to 14%, reducing their
      monthly payments from $150.00 to $96.00. In addition, $733.00 of interest
      fees and $176.00 in late charges were written off by the company.

       Our client, Shirley, is a 64-year-old woman. She was blinded and suffered
       neurological damage when she accidentally ingested antifreeze as a
       teenager. She was not able to work, and her husband worked only
       sporadically, due to his own disabilities. Despite her troubles, she has led a
       full and self-directed life. She is the mother of two daughters, active in her
       church and volunteers at a nonprofit. When Shirley’s husband died in May
       2005 she applied for Social Security benefits and the VA death pension.
       Both programs started paying her. In February 2008, Social Security
       determined that they had been underpaying Shirley. They sent her a check
       for $ 6789 in retroactive benefits. Shirley reported this to the VA. As a
       result, the VA made a preliminary decision that Shirley was ineligible for
       VA benefits back to 2006, terminated her VA Death pension payments
       effective February 2008 and charged her with an overpayment by $12, 845.
        She was left with only $393/month in Social Security benefits.

       When SSI approved Shirley for benefits in February 2010, she only had
       $500.00 in the bank and owed $1,500 on her credit card. Living very
       frugally, she could just about cover her living expenses on her $781/month
       income. We appealed the termination of her VA benefits and applied for a
       waiver of the overpayment and the VA reversed their decision. They
       reopened her VA Death pension and awarded her a retroactive payment
       that will allow her to pay off her debt. Her monthly VA payment will
       increase her monthly income to $1,176/month even with a partial reduction
       of her SSI.

                                     Pooled Trust

       In 2004 our office collaborated with People Inc. and Key Bank to start the first
local Pooled Supplemental Needs Trust. Unlike our programs funded by the Older
Americans Act, our trust is not restricted to those age sixty and older. Our supplemental
needs trust allows family members to enhance the quality of life of their loved ones with
disabilities, without causing a loss of the public benefits that the disabled person relies
upon to survive. Beneficiaries pool their money together to take advantage of better
investment opportunities. The trustees keep a separate sub-account for each trust
beneficiary, and any money remaining in the trust at the death of the beneficiary is put into
a fund to provide assistance to other disabled trust beneficiaries who have depleted their
accounts. Trust money can be used to purchase most items beyond necessary food and

shelter, including such things as purchasing a wheelchair van, paying for a vacation, or
obtaining additional medical care not covered by public benefits.


Although the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the federal constitution
guarantees every person accused of a crime a right to free counsel, persons involved in
civil litigation have no such federal right to an attorney. As a result, an estimated 2.1
million people appeared in court last year without an attorney. This places an enormous
burden on the courts, which must take additional time with those litigants at a time when
the courts are already overburdened with a record breaking court docket of 4.7 million
new cases. As Chief Judge Lippman said:

        “And of course, the ones who suffer the most in this situation are the
       vulnerable in our society-the elderly, children, struggling families,
       disabled people, and abuse victims. How many of us can imagine what it
       would be like to have to fight for life’s most basic necessities- shelter,
       personal safety, health services- and to have to fight alone without the
       help of a trained professional who knows the ins and outs of the law and
       our complex legal system? Today, unfortunately, too many of our citizens
       never feel, or have reason to believe, that justice is available to them-the
       very justice that most of us take for granted as our God-given right.
       From my perspective as Chief Judge, no issue is more fundamental to the
       mission of the courts than ensuring that the scales of justice are balanced
       for every one of our citizens.”


Karen L. Nicolson, Esq. Chief Executive Officer

William W. Berry, Esq., Supervising Attorney

       Beata Banas, Esq., Staff Attorney

  Helen Ferraro-Zaffram, Esq., Staff Attorney

     Sarah R. Galvan, Esq., Staff Attorney

    Daniel F. Webster, Esq., Staff Attorney

      David Shapiro, Esq. Staff Attorney

   Anthony Szczygiel, Esq., Clinic Professor

  Kathleen M. Kanaley, BSW, Social Worker

      Thomas E. Hayduk, Staff Paralegal

       Cheryl Kostrewa, Staff Paralegal

      Brenda A. Symans, Staff Paralegal

       Furnette Williams, Staff Paralegal

        Melissa Woods, Staff Paralegal

      Michaelene Bauer, Office Manager

  Robert S. Esposito, Administrative Assistant

         Mary Ellen Loncto, Secretary

           Judy Piwowar, Secretary

           2010 Board of Directors

      Thomas F. Keefe, Esq., President

     Giles P. Manias, Esq., Vice President

    Frederic Paul Norton, Vice President

Randolph C. Oppenheimer, Esq., Vice President

    Bruce D. Reinoso, Esq., Vice President

        Shari Jo Reich, Esq., Treasurer

      Julie Plesh,CPA, Deputy Treasurer

       David J. Starkey, Esq., Secretary


           Ericka N. Bennett, Esq.

                   Jan Berg

              Jill K. Bond, Esq.

              John C. Brady, III

            Tracy Jordan-Cardwell

              J. Michael Collins

           Robert L. Marinelli, Esq.

                Robert Meiss

           Timothy O=Mara, Esq.

           James P. Milbrand, Esq.

      Jamie Smith, Esq.

Michele Sterlace-Accorsi, Esq.

        Patrick Walh

    Clifford E. Whitman

 Honorary Board Members

   Elizabeth G. Clark, Esq.

    Gayle L. Eagan, Esq.

   Richard F. Griffin, Esq.

      Hortense B. Nash


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