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Free legal help available to seniors in Tennessee

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Posted at 7:52 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 08:52:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — If you're a senior or know someone who is and could use some free legal advice, there is a longtime legal service that's now offering help to seniors. This help is available to anyone 60 and older -- and it's absolutely free.

Whether you think you have a potential legal case, you think you may have been scammed, have a contractor who took your money and didn't do the work, or even just have a question about your benefits, help is now just a phone call away.

"What they’ll do is call us and tell us they have a legal concern and they will actually schedule them with an attorney on that same day," Sonya Bellefant, director of the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance, explained.

The TSLA has teamed up with the Legal Aid Society, and on Friday, September 25, they'll be offering the first of what they expect will be many free legal phone clinics. They're open to any senior, no matter their income.

"They do not have to have the whole case lined out but it would be very helpful for the attorney if they have some basic things. So any documentation that they have that relates to the case they should have within hands reach. Anything as it relates to who the other party is, contact information," Bellefant said.

She said especially now with the pandemic, the elderly, particularly in rural areas, may not have access to legal help. And while her group has long worked to provide these services to low-income and vulnerable populations, empowering seniors like this, she said, is more important now than ever and often can even improve their quality of life.

"Unfortunately many seniors are not aware of what Legal Aid can do to assist them and so they are going to be going through a tougher time which could be avoidable with the assistance of an advocate or attorney," Bellefant described.

The hours of the free legal clinic will be from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., and they plan to hold them every other Friday going forward.

"If they actually know what they want that would be very helpful, too. A lot of times seniors will say in a breach of contract situation, 'I just want them to come finish the work,' or 'I just want my money back.' And that really helps us identify what the objective is and then we can really hone in on how we can assist them as an advocate or as an attorney as the case may be," Bellefant suggested.

The number to call on Friday, September 25, and every other Friday after that for the free legal help is 615-780-7110. When you call, they will take your information and schedule a time for an attorney to call you back to discuss your case or situation.