Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request
Summary / Overview
LSC requests an appropriation of $564,800,000 for FY 2019. This request reflects an increase of $37 million over last year’s request of $527.8 million. The increase would be allocated entirely to the basic field grants that fund 133 local legal aid organizations across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. Our request would enable LSC’s grantees to provide assistance to address 50% more civil legal problems than they are currently able to handle.
In 2017, LSC released a new study, The Justice Gap—Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans. The “justice gap” is the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs. The study showed that low-income Americans receive no or inadequate professional help for 86% of their civil legal problems in a particular year. The study included an “intake census” that focused on financially eligible clients who sought assistance for civil legal problems at LSC grantees during a six-week period in March and April of 2017. That census showed that 41% of the legal problems presented received no service of any kind. Our request for a $37 million increase over our FY 2018 request would enable LSC grantees to make substantial progress in addressing the 41% of eligible civil legal problems that currently receive no service at all. We estimate that the increase would allow LSC grantees to provide service for 50% more civil legal problems with a basic field appropriation of $528 million and total funding of $564.8 million.