The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), is the single largest provider of civil legal aid in the nation, distributing 95% of its federal appropriation to 134 legal aid programs, with over 800 offices, nationwide; at least one LSC grantee is present in each of the fifty states. LSC grantees provide direct services to approximately one million constituents who struggle to get by on incomes below or near the poverty line.
Those benefiting from LSC-funded programs are among the most vulnerable Americans, including veterans returning from combat, domestic violence victims, those coping with the after-effects of natural disasters, families involved in child custody disputes, people with disabilities, and individuals undergoing foreclosures or other housing issues. Due to economic conditions, the number of people who qualify for legal services is at an all-time high; over 63.5 million Americans now are eligible for civil legal assistance.
Currently, LSC is funded at $375 million, an increase over the $340 million of FY13, but still a significant reduction from the FY11 level of $404.2 million. The ABA will continue to advocate for high legal services funding in FY16; 63.6 million Americans are expected to be eligible for legal assistance.
The ABA supports strong federal funding for LSC and recommends that Congress allocate the President’s budget request of $452 million for LSC for FY16.