Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of Western New York, Inc. (LSED) may become a court appointed Guardian of an individual where the individual has been deemed to be incapacitated by the Erie County Supreme Court. The incapacity could be due to a variety of factors; however, the common denominator is the inability to manage their financial and/or personal decisions.

The most common forms of diminished capacity are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease which ultimately leads to the total inability of a person to be self-sufficient. LSED can become guardian when there are issues of mental health and or physical illnesses. There are times when family or friends have taken advantage of an aging member of society and financial exploitation has occurred which necessitated a Guardian to be appointed. LSED will then make an effort to try and have the funds recovered from the perpetrator and returned to the person under Guardianship.

Upon becoming Guardian, LSED assumes the responsibility of maintaining finances and making personal decisions in the best interest of the individual. The Guardianship Unit assumes the role of the individual as if we were that person.

LSED oversees all of the person’s finances that may include: Social Security Retirement, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, Railroad Retirement, Private Pensions and Investments to name a few.

We handle and ensure all of our persons under disability have health insurance and prescription coverage when eligible through Medicare and private coverage. This includes, but is not limited to: applying for and getting approved for any financial assistance programs such as Community Medicaid, Long-Term Medicaid for nursing home care, NYS EPIC and Federal Extra Help prescription assistance.

The Social Workers in the Guardianship Unit personally visit with the persons under disability and have on-going communication with the facilities to ensure that the health care and personal needs of the residents are met. Oftentimes, those for whom we are responsible may not remember who we are; however; the good and caring work we provide is seen throughout the various facilities in Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties in which they reside.

The Guardianship Unit consists of a Supervising Attorney, Staff Attorney with an MSW, Social Worker/BSW, Staff Paralegal/Guardianship Benefit Coordinator, Account Manager, Office Manager and File Clerk.

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