State launches new program to help low-income Iowans legally establish guardianships, conservatorshipsApril 12, 2017 Des Moines, Iowa State launches new program to help low-income Iowans legally establish guardianships, conservatorships
The Iowa Department on Aging today announced the launch of the Iowa Guardianship Establishment (IAGE) Program, which will award one-time grants to assist low-income Iowans with a documented medical condition establish substitute decision-making (guardianship or conservatorship) services to protect their personal health, safety, assets and dignity.
Under the program, which is administered by the Office of Substitute Decision Maker, eligible individuals may qualify to receive a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to pay the legal fees associated with establishing a guardianship or conservatorship in the state of Iowa.
“Each year, the Office of Substitute Decision Maker receives numerous requests from members of the public and service providers for assistance with guardianship/conservatorship proceedings,” explained Office of Substitute Decision Maker Director Tyler Eason. “The obstacle, in many cases, is the cost associated with the legal services required to petition the court for a guardianship or conservatorship. Unfortunately, individuals in need who lack the means to establish substitute decision-making services are often at greater risk of dependent adult abuse, including financial exploitation and neglect. This not only causes greater harm to an already vulnerable population, but also creates a higher financial burden for Iowa taxpayers.”
To address this need, the Iowa Department on Aging has allocated $35,000 in state dollars for the IAGE Program in State Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017). Through the program, individuals in need of substitute decision-making services who have identified a willing and able guardian/conservator may apply to receive a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to pay the legal fees associated with establishing a guardianship or conservatorship in the state of Iowa. Payment will be made directly to the representing attorney upon determination that all required documents are provided and the work performed and invoiced by the attorney is supported.
“The aim of the IAGE Program is to make it possible for Iowans in need to legally establish substitute decision-making services to protect their rights, safety and overall welfare,” said Eason. “It will also promote awareness and enhance collaboration among state agencies, community organizations and attorneys throughout Iowa as they work on behalf of vulnerable Iowans who cannot advocate for themselves.”
IAGE Program Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2017, or until funds are depleted. Funding for the program was made available by the Iowa State Legislature under the SFY 2017 Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill.
About the Iowa Department on Aging
The Iowa Department on Aging (IDA) is an executive branch agency dedicated to making Iowa the premier state in which to live and retire. To meet that goal, the IDA works closely with the Iowa Commission on Aging and Iowa’s six Agencies on Aging to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of long-term living and community support services that helps individuals maintain health and independence in their homes and communities. More information is available at www.iowaaging.gov.