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VI Legal Services Discusses Relevant Issues with Seniors

awn O’Brian, Disability Rights Center, consults with a conference attendee, Wednesday. (Photo by Susan Ellis)

Senior Financial Health and Wellness Conference experts talked for several hours to more than 50 seniors about some of their issues – such as the rights of the elderly and persons with disabilities,  health insurance, Medicare fraud, and estate planning – Wednesday at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.

The seminar began with Naita Salmon, of Wholestic Me, talking about holistic health – taking control of quality of life. Holistic health involves five areas – health, relationships, work and career, money and finance, and the belief system.

Naita Salmon, Wholestic Me, gives information about her services to members of the audience. (Photo by Susan Ellis)

“Your health situation affects your life and your life situation affects your health,” she said.

Legal Services executive director and attorney, Shelby King Gaddy, provided information about some of the senior services offered by the organization to help with estate planning and end-of-life decisions.

“You have to balance legal decisions with life choices,” she began.

She defined powers-of-attorney, including a “durable” POA in which persons can be designated to make decisions about health care, finances, banking matters, and medical procedures. The document can be limited also to cover only certain services. The POA can be revoked at any time and expires when the beneficiary dies.

Gaddy also talked about Do-Not-Resusicate (DNR) orders and living wills which are forms used by physicians to follow an incapacitated patient’s directive about end-of-life decisions.

Avoid probate, Gaddy advised, because it is “not easy” even with a will. A revocable transfer on death deed or deed of gift can be used to protect homes and vehicles can be transferred, upon death, through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Legal Services will help clients with any of the documents but won’t set up trust accounts.

If there is no will, POA, etc, an estate is considered “intestate” and one-third of the assets will be awarded to the spouse and two-thirds to the children.

Attorney Kippy Roberson of the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands explained that his organization provides free legal services to people with disabilities or who are being discriminated against. They deal with housing, health care, education, and employment issues. They will also investigate suspected Social Security and other cases of fraud.

The Center also inspects and monitors residential facilities, without notice, for general treatment of residents and their medical care.

“I have yet to encounter a case of abuse or neglect,” Roberson said.

Some of the territory’s 24 facilities are not occupied to capacity due to staffing and funding. They could “use more government funding.” The organization is funded by federal grants.

Careeme Smith, Medicare technician with the Senior Health Insurance Program, dispensed information about Medicare and answered several questions from the audience. He pointed out there are alternatives to Medicare’s Part D, prescription coverage, through Frederiksted Health Care, Inc, Medicaid, and the Patient Insurance Program.

Smith had two warnings for using the insurance. When traveling to the mainland for treatment, the Medicare plan will be changed and when returning to the territory, beneficiaries must change the plan again.

“Disregard Medicare tv ads. They don’t pertain to the Virgin Islands,” Smith said, more than once.

Speaking of Medicare, Jennifer Logie, project director of the Senior Medicare Patrol, told the audience that between $60 and $90 billion has been lost to fraud, which results in higher out-of-pocket costs and copayments for beneficiaries.

Shelby King Gaddy and Jennifer Logie of Legal Services VI hosts of the Senior Financial Health and Wellness Conference. (Photo by Susan Ellis)

Identification theft is dangerous because the beneficiary can be denied coverage if a thief has already claimed the service. On the other side, a fraudulent provider will fill the patient’s records with false information, risking his/her health and life. Incorrect medical records can include false diagnoses, treatments that never occurred, misinformation about allergies and incorrect lab results.

Logie advised Medicare recipients to protect information by not carrying the card with them nor giving it to anyone. She recommended reviewing each Medicare Summary Notice for errors in services, supplies and equipment charges.

Legal Services is a non-profit, publicly funded corporation. Free services are provided by employed attorneys and legal personnel. Clients must meet certain financial eligibility requirements, be over the age of 60, or a victim of domestic violence. Appointments are necessary and can be made at 3430-718-2626 (STX) or 340-774-6720 (STT) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Gaddy said several additional seminars are being planned by Legal Services and the Senior Medicare Patrol on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.

Senior Medicare Patrol Outreach

Jennifer Logie, our SMP Project Director will be visiting seniors in their communities to educate and spread awareness about Medicare Fraud. On October 13, 2022, she will be at Flamboyant Gardens in St. Croix from 10am-12pm. On October 14, 2022, she will be in St. Thomas at the Yellow Cedar Housing Community from 10am-12pm and the Celestino White Senior Center from 1:30pm – 3:30pm. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Join LSVI in spreading awareness for Domestic Violence during the month of October. Stop by our St. Thomas or St. Croix office and pick up some purple lights to display and show your support. Let’s light up the territory purple in support of our survivors! 
Join us as we join our friends at the Women’s Coalition  on October 15th for the “Drive Out DV” Motorcade. Decorate your vehicle and line up at 2pm at the Canegata Ballpark.
We will join our friends at the Women’s Coalition on October 20, 2022 for the “Take Back the Night” Silent March & Rally starting at 5:30pm at the Fish Market by Strand Street in Frederiksted. 


In November 2015, I was awarded the opportunity to attend a four-day NITA Training in Boulder Colorado. This specific training was titled “International Society of Barristers: Excellence In Advocacy Trial Skills Program”. The program was intended to teach attorneys that primarily provide services to indigent clients various aspects of trial advocacy. NITA sent us a case file and assigned each participant to a side (Plaintiff or Defendant), team and group. During the program we went through each aspect of trial and then at the end were allowed to conduct a mock trial.
From day one you were put on the spot to perform and exercise your trial skills. In marketing, NITA emphasizes its high learning curve because of its learning method that has a participant performing on his or her first day; and that is exactly what happened! After a short meeting to analyze our case in a group and minor instructions, we were told to put on direct examination in front of our small group, while being recorded! We then met with one of the instructors to watch the recording and went over what we did well and what we needed to improve. From the first day, I was able to leave with some great tips on trial advocacy, but it did not stop there. We were tasked with homework assignments to bring back for the following day. By the second day, I was even more comfortable performing and was picking up great skills as I went along.
Despite the biting cold of the mountains, the trip was a great experience and I was able to learn many things I did not know before. At the training, I even learned ways to stand in court that would not distract a jury or factfinder. This was definitely a worthwhile trip and I look forward to using the skills learned to represent the clients of Legal Services of the Virgin Islands!
Thank you Legal Services for affording me this awesome opportunity to learn and grow!


During the annual VI Legislature Committee on Finance hearing, LSVI requested an additional $291,000 for its 2016 fiscal year budget. LSVI requested this additional monies to assist us in continuing to provide equal access to justice and high-quality, civil legal assistance free of cost to our client population. LSVI believes that this increase in funding is needed, reasonable, and justified. If awarded this additional funds, LSVI plans to use these funds to hire two new attorneys, to fund the necessary salary increases, and to hire a development person to initiate and coordinate fundraising activities.

Attending the meeting to discuss this increase was LSVI’s Executive Director, Richard Austin, Esq., LSVI’s Board of Trustees’ President, Trudy Fenster, Esq., LSVI’s St. Croix Office Managing Attorney and Litigation Director, Shelby King Gaddy, Esq., and LSVI’s Director of Finance and Administration, Kenneth Guye. These four persons presented to the Senate on behalf of LSVI to seek continued funding and the additional increase.

In 2014 alone, LSVI opened 1, 274 cases throughout the territory; 691 on St. Croix, and 583 on St. Thomas. In 2014, LSVI closed 1, 275 cases throughout the territory; 741 on St. Croix and 534 on St. Thomas-St. John. With this high volume of cases coming into LSVI and with its limited resources, LSVI attorneys handle 60 to 70 cases on average at any given time, in comparison to the 40 to 50 that they are allocated to be handling at a time. The Senators commended LSVI on its impressive ability to handle the amount of cases that they are handling. However, the Senators were extremely concerned about the high number of individuals in the community who meet the eligibility guidelines, but cannot receive LSVI’s services. They were equally concerned about those individuals who are slightly over the eligibility guidelines and are also unable to receive LSVI’s services. In response to those concern, LSVI’s Executive Director stated that “There are unmet needs that we have now that we are not able to serve and by increasing the eligibility level, that could possibly increase the pool of the unmet needs.”

LSVI is committed to serving the Community and endeavor to do more. The Board of Trustees through the new 5 year Strategic Plan will revisit the Program Priorities in an effort to reach more and serve more.