How to Qualify for Legal Aid

Legal Aid is the provision of civil legal services to people who otherwise cannot afford the services of a lawyer. The body that oversees and funds legal aid services across the country is the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a non-profit corporation founded by and funded by Congress.

There are LSC-funded legal aid programs across the country.

Locate a legal aid office in your locality. Go to the LSC website and locate a program in your state (see Resources).

Call and get information on the application process. Each legal aid office has requirements that need to be met to satisfy its conditions for offering services and the type of cases it will take on, within the stipulation of the law governing the LSC. In most cases if you receive any form of government assistance, it is highly likely that you will meet the low income requirement needed to qualify for legal aid.

Fill out the application form providing information on your income, locality, home and other assets if applicable and the type of legal help you are seeking. Once you apply, the legal aid officials upon consideration of your particular case and individual circumstances will determine if they are willing to represent you.

If the legal aid office has taken up your case, you need to have all the information and documents regarding your case. This will be needed by the legal aid attorneys representing you. Depending on the locality, legal aid offices take in housing, employment, health, nursing home problems and issues relating to elder law and children's law, to mention a few.

Set aside court and filing fees. While the legal services provided by the attorneys at the legal aid office are free, in most cases you will be responsible for paying for court and filing fees.