What is Legal Aid

LSC-funded programs help people who live in households with annual incomes at or below  125% of the federal poverty guidelines – in 2015, that is $14,713 for an individual, $30,313 for a family of four. Clients come from every ethnic  and age group and live in rural,suburban, and urban areas. They are the working poor, veterans, homeowners and renters, families with children, farmers, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Women - many of whom are struggling to keep their children safe and their families together - comprise 70% of clients.

Legal assistance is necessary to address many issues that affect low-income individuals and families, including:

  • Family Law: LSC grantees help victims of domestic violence by obtaining protective and restraining orders, help parents obtain and keep custody of their children, assist family members in obtaining guardianship for children without parents, and other family law matters. Almost one-third of all cases closed by LSC grantees are family law cases.
  • Housing and Foreclosure Cases: As the second largest category of all cases closed involve helping to resolve landlord-tenant disputes, helping homeowners prevent foreclosures or renegotiate their loans, assisting renters with eviction notices whose landlords are being foreclosed on, and helping people maintain federal housing subsidies when appropriate.
  • Consumer Issues: Eleven percent of cases involve protecting the elderly and other vulnerable groups from being victimized by unscrupulous lenders, helping people file for bankruptcy when appropriate and helping people manage debt.
  • Employment and Income Maintenance: More than 15 percent of cases involve helping working Americans obtain promised compensation from private employers, and helping people obtain and retain government benefits such as disability, veterans, and unemployment compensation benefits to which they are entitled.
  • Helping Military Families: StatesideLegal.org—the first website in the nation to focus exclusively on federal legal rights and legal resources important to veterans – is funded by an LSC Technology Initiatives Grant. This free service enables military families and veterans to access a wide array of legal information and assistance. The Department of Veterans Affairs encourages use of the website in connection with service to homeless veterans.