In the US, legal aid assistance is usually provided to those individuals who require non-criminal legal related services but have low incomes. In most cases, citizens of the US qualify for legal aid assistance they require for various civil legal matters, like divorces, consumer rights and other. Those who need legal aid services can rely on a vast network of Community Legal Clinics and legal aid offices, which can be easily found throughout the country and whose purpose is to assist the individuals in need of assistance. But, bear in mind that in order to get legal aid assistance, you must qualify for it, since not everyone can be entitled to free legal aid.
When determining whether you qualify for legal aid, the official legal aid office will first examine your financial background and circumstances and make a decision whether you qualify or not. Since every case is different and special, these circumstances usually depend on your monthly incomes and expenses and your family responsibilities. For example, if you are in a difficult situation and your legal case is rather serious and you lack the necessary finances or have little money left after paying for basic necessities, transport etc, then there is a high probability that you will qualify for legal aid assistance. Additionally , the individuals who are currently unemployed or have no income at all are also highly likely to qualify for legal aid assistance. For those who are in a poor financial situation, legal aid assistance is usually offered free of any charge. Those who are in a somewhat better financial situation but still lack enough money to hire a reputable lawyer usually have to contribute a certain, usually small, amount of money in order to receive legal aid. In cases like these, individuals are supposed to fill out and sign a Payment Agreement. The purpose of this document is to state the terms of payments to the legal office. In the end, there are numerous choices in front of you. You can choose between paying legal aid a certain amount of money all at once, or paying a certain amount of money on a monthly basis. You also have the option of having a lien put on your property or house. This basically means that you agree that you will pay legal aid assistance back once you refinance or sell your property or house, once you renew your house mortgage or within the time period of five years.
As already mentioned, not everyone can qualify for free legal aid assistance. If your application is refused, you still have another option, and that is to approach the Community Legal Clinics and seek assistance there. These institutions are staffed with qualified legal workers and lawyers who can represent you and provide you with legal advice. The most common legal cases they deal with include pensions, employment rights issues, employment insurance and immigration, worker’s compensation, social assistance, housing (tenant and landlord) and more. If you have a particular case that is related to one of these categories, simply visit your nearest community legal clinic to inquire about it and get more information.