Legal Services for Older Individuals

Older people sometimes need legal assistance. For those who cannot afford to pay privately for this assistance, the Older Americans Act requires states to provide legal services specifically to older persons age 60 and older, with the greatest economic and social need. 

Every state has a Legal Assistance Developer who provides leadership and technical assistance. Developers often have other roles and responsibilities, including coordinating their states' elder rights efforts and promoting alternative legal assistance delivery systems. Developers refer persons in need of assistance to the appropriate legal providers for older individuals, help with outreach and public education, and direct the design and implementation of programmatic systems to improve the quality and quantity of legal assistance for the elderly in their individual states.

Older Americans Act Definition of Legal Assistance

Legal assistance is advice and representation provided by an attorney for an older individual with economic or social needs. This includes:

  • To the extent feasible, counseling or other appropriate assistance by a paralegal or law student under the direct supervision of an attorney.
  • Counseling or representation by a nonlawyer where permitted by law.

Legal Issues of Older Persons

The following are some typical examples of legal problems older persons present to the legal assistance programs:

Family Matters:
Guardianship/Conservatorship
Spouse Abuse
Elder Abuse
Health Care:
Medicare
Medicaid
Living Will
Power of Attorney for Health Care
Public Benefits:
Social Security
Supplemental Security Income
Veterans Benefits
Food Stamps
Real Property:
Homeownership
Landlord/Tenant
Consumer Problems:
Bankruptcy
Collection
Other Issues:
Wills/Estates
Indian/Tribal law

Legal Assistance Contractors

The Division of Adult Services and Aging does not directly provide legal assistance services. The Older Americans Act legal assistance in South Dakota is provided by the following contractors:

East River Legal Services
335 N. Main Avenue #300
Sioux Falls, SD  57104
(605) 336-9230
1-800-952-3015
Dakota Plains Legal Services
PO Box 727
Mission, SD  57555
(605) 856-4444
1-800-658-2297
Branch Offices:
Eagle Butte
PO Box 500
Eagle Butte, SD  57625
(605) 964-2175
Pine Ridge
PO Box 1989
Pine Ridge, SD  57770
(605) 867-1020
Fort Thompson
PO Box 20
Fort Thompson, SD  57339
(605) 245-2341
Rapid City
528 Kansas City Street, #1
PO Box 1500
Rapid City, SD  57709
(605) 342-7171 or 1-800-952-8602
Fort Yates
PO Box 507
Fort Yates, ND  58538
(701) 854-7204
Sisseton
518 2nd Avenue East
Sisseton, SD  57262
(605) 698-3971