Are You Eligible for Legal Aid

Are You Eligible for Legal Aid

Jun 04

Legal assistance can be very expensive, especially for low-income persons and families. The good news is that there are organizations and foundations that offer aid and a range of legal services.

Services Offered

Low-income persons benefit from legal services such as representation by a lawyer, community legal clinics, summary legal advice, referral and information, duty council, as well as toll-free telephone service. Legal assistance is also offered to persons experiencing domestic violence. The court’s staff and the legal aid duty counsel lawyer also offer assistance to persons who are charged with a crime.aid


If you are eligible for legal aid under a contribution agreement, then you have to cover a portion of the costs. There are different ways to find financing, one being a loan by a family member or friend. If you just need a small amount, you can ask your employer for a pay advance or you can apply for a small loan through a payday lender. For a list of lenders click here. If you have poor or fair credit, there are other alternatives to consider, including a secured credit card whereby you deposit a certain amount to serve as collateral. Using a credit card is also a good way to build credit with time provided that you make timely payments. If you qualify for free legal assistance, then you’ll have the full amount covered. In this case, you need to take and pass a financial test to determine whether you are eligible. You will be asked about your gross income, including salaried income and additional sources. The minimum income requirement is lower for single boarders.

Eligibility and Application

Eligibility is based on income level, and there are different thresholds depending on the number of family members in your household. One option is to apply through a certificate program and benefit from free legal assistance. The program will pay the costs of hiring a member of the private bar or an attorney to represent you in court. There are eligibility criteria to meet as well, including financial eligibility guidelines. Persons who own real estate or have some income may be entitled to get assistance under a contribution agreement. Assistance is usually offered in the form of a legal aid certificate whereby an attorney agrees to represent you in court for a pre-agreed number of hours. If you qualify under a contribution agreement, then you may be required to make monthly payments. This depends on your gross annual income. In case that you meet the eligibility criteria for legal aid, there is a range of services available, including family law services and community legal clinics. Customers are offered a number of family law services, including family duty council, law offices and service centers, information programs, mediation, and summary legal advice. Free advice and assistance are offered to persons dealing with complicated family matters. Assistance is available in court with a variety of matters, including child support and custody.

Legal Services for Low Income Families

Legal Services for Low Income Families

Jan 17

Legal Services for Low Income Families, Payday Lenders, and Loan Traps to Avoid

Low income families face many challenges and are often heavily indebted. They are often victims of loan sharks and other predatory lenders that use unethical and illegal practices.

Challenges Low Income Families Face

Poverty affects your ability to meet basic expenses such as transportation, electricity, heat, and water supply, food, health care, phone service, and a lot more. Parenting on a low income is particularly challenging. Many families face housing and food hardships and child care expenses make a substantial portion of their expenses. Health problems are also more prevalent.

Legal Services for Low Income Residents

There are legal services that provide aid and advice to low income residents. Services are often offered free of charge to qualifying members.  Legal services specialize in different fields of law such as old age security, employment standards, employment insurance, disability support programs, tenants’ rights, and others. There are legal services that offer advice and consultations in areas such as immigration law, employment, and wrongful dismissal. Low income residents are also offered legal advice on issues related to personal injury, real estate, and family law. Depending on the case and situation, some services are offered regionally and cases are handled by lawyers. Some legal clinics specialize in advocacy for elderly citizens and offer advice on retirement home, income and pensions, home and health care, elder abuse, consumer protection, advance care planning, consumer protection, and health care consent. They also specialize in retirement home tenancies and mental capacity law. In addition, there are services that provide settlement support and offer immigration help and advice. Some services also run a tenant helpline and engage in tenant advocacy. The goal is to help low income residents find appropriate and reasonable accommodation. They also offer social service and housing support and crisis counseling. Many work toward homelessness prevention.

Community legal aid and advice is also available to injured workers. Different legal clinics also offer community development services, public legal education, and representation. Social assistance is also available as well as legal aid to refugee claimants. Legal referral and assistance are also offered in case of emergency. Paralegal services are also available. There are legal clinics that offer student legal aid and advice on minor crimes. In many cases, legal services are offered by both volunteer law students and full-time lawyers. They are run as non-profit community legal clinics. Some offer children and youth services and run various programs, including anti-poverty and anti-violence programs.

Payday Loan Companies Targeting Low Income Families

While there are many legitimate and trustworthy loan providers that offer short-term loans, (see here), some lenders use illegal and unethical practices such as threat of violence and blackmail. They target low income families, recent immigrants, senior citizens, and persons who are heavily indebted. There are some red flags signaling that you are dealing with a loan shark. For example, if your loan provider resorts to threats and intimidation, this means that you are dealing with an unethical lender. Watch out for lenders that request items as security and add random and hidden charges.  Stay away from services that take items such as benefits and bank cards and passports and ID cards. Some doorstep lenders and loan sharks fail to disclose the interest rate and contract terms and give no or little paperwork. Legitimate payday lenders, on the other hand, disclose the term, rate, and all charges involved. While they charge high interest rates over a short period, this option makes sense in case of emergency. The best thing about payday loans is that they are offered to customers with different credit profiles, including borrowers with poor credit, see here. Applicants who are employed and have an active bank account meet the criteria. Repeat customers are offered larger loans. While payday lenders offer loans to low income families, they only accept applicants with regular income. Some lenders may also target low income borrowers because they are more likely to use their services. For more legal and financial aid visit