2019 Intake Census


Introduction

In 2017, the Legal Services Corporation conducted a national study to assess the current size of the justice gap, funded with grants from the William and Flora Hewlett and Kresge Foundations. As part of that study, LSC grantees documented the number of persons who came to their offices over a six-week period and whom they were unable to serve or to serve fully. We refer to that data collection as an "intake census." The 2017 intake census has proven powerful in our advocacy for LSC funding, because it provides solid estimates of the unmet need at the point of service. Given the need for current, reliable data on the unmet need for legal aid, LSC working with its grantees to update an intake census collection every two years.


Important Dates

The 2019 collection will run from Monday, March 25, 2019 to Friday, April 19, 2019.

The data will be due on May 3, 2019, two weeks after the conclusion of the reporting period.

In case of questions or needed clarifications, we will reach out to the point of contact who submitted the data by May 17th.


Frequently Asked Questions

Download the FAQ or browse the questions below. Search for the words NEW or UPDATED to see recent additions.

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  • General Intake Questions
  • If we do online intake, should we include information on people who use this system in addition to those who walk in or call the program?
    Yes. All avenues to services in your organization should be tracked and reported.
  • We may have to reduce our intake hours because of current staffing issues. How should we account for that temporary reduction?
    In general, if you have any idiosyncrasies concerning intake during the reporting period, please let us know by sending a message to datateam@lsc.gov. Please be sure to identify your organization.
  • How should we capture and report data on callers who are turned away or told to call back due to intake limitations?
    If your intake process and/or system collects this information, then please send it to us. If your intake process or system does not, we do not expect you to be able to track the data.If you do have that data, please send it to datateam@lsc.gov.
  • Should we include intake at our LSC-funded organization that is handled exclusively under non-LSC grants?
    If you would report those cases in your CSRs to LSC, then yes.
  • We do intake for a non-LSC subsidiary program. Should we ask them to track those intakes?
    No. This Intake Census is just for LSC-funded programs.
  • When our intake line decides that an applicant fits the priorities/availability of our organization or another organization we complete intake for, the intake is sent to that organization and we have no further contact with the case. We are not informed as to whether, after further research, the receiving organization rejects the case for full representation. Should we base our "Able to Serve" data on intakes completed and sent, and assume they are accepted for full service, or should all such cases count as "Pending"?
    Such intakes should not be included in the data at all, because the caller is not provided any service other than a transfer/referral to another organization. The case should be included in the data under "Advice provided" if you close the case with advice prior to referring or transferring the case.
  • We do intake and sometimes refer eligible individuals to a pro bono program because we do not have the resources to represent them. How should these cases be categorized?
    If the pro bono program to which you are referring these individuals is a subgrantee, those cases should be classified as "Served," because they are being served with your resources and are eligible for LSC-funded aid. If you are referring them to a program that is not a subgrantee, then those cases should be classified as "Unable to Serve."
  • Should we include information concerning people who come to a help desk or self-help center where no eligibility assessment is conducted?
    You should not include information concerning people who come to a help desk or self-help center where no eligibility assessment is conducted, as they are not making an application for services and eligibility would not be determined in any event.
  • We are a hotline that has installed audio and online triage mechanisms to guide people away if they're not eligible. The chance of a non-priority case getting through is not very high, although it sometimes happens. What would you suggest?
    The survey data should include only information concerning people who have applied for services, so you should not include those who are turned away through an online triage tool. You may include those who were turned away through a telephone triage if you get sufficient information.
  • [NEW] In 2017 we had to provide supplemental information about the number of hours our various intake paths were open. Is this still a component or do we only submit the spreadsheet?
    This year, LSC plans to extract this information from materials submitted during the Competition process. We will reach out to programs to request updates to the information submitted during the last cycle.
  • Pre-Screening Individuals Before Financial Eligibility Determination
  • If your program prescreens individuals for conflicts or subject matter area and determines that the individual is ineligible for services prior to screening for financial eligibility, how should we classify those individuals?
    o If the individual is ineligible because they are a noncitizen or have a problem that is barred by LSC regulations (such as a criminal case), use "Unable to Serve - Ineligible." If the individual calls with an issue that is within your program priorities, but the program cannot represent that person because of a conflict, use "Unable to Serve - Conflict of Interest." If the individual calls with an issue that is outside of program priorities, use "Unable to Serve-Outside of Program Priorities."
  • PAI Subgrantees
  • Should PAI subcontractors of grantees participate in the Intake Census?
    Yes, but make sure to let us distinguish that information and let us know that it is coming from a sub-grantee. Please fill out a separate matrix for each subgrantee.
  • Agricultural Worker and Native American Service Areas
  • Should we be counting intakes for agricultural worker and Native American service areas?
    Yes. if practicable.
  • Clients Served with Non-LSC Funds
  • Should we include data on cases that we know will not be CSR-eligible or clients who are served using non-LSC funds?
    You should not include data on cases that will not be CSR-eligible. People served with non-LSC funds who are not eligible for LSC-funded representation should not be included in the survey. But, if you use non-LSC funds to serve a client who would otherwise be eligible for LSC-funded representation, that case should be included in your data.
  • If some staff are not LSC-funded, should we count their intake or cases?
    If the applicants these staff serve are not eligible for LSC funding, do not include their cases in the census. If the applicants these staff serve are eligible for LSC funding, and you would be reporting those cases to LSC, include the cases in the census.
  • Clients with Multiple Legal Issues
  • If one client has two separate legal issues, should we count each case separately within the data?
    Refer to the CSR Handbook for guidance as to whether the legal issues should be counted as separate cases.
  • Should we track only those clients who initially seek services during the reporting period, or should we also include existing clients if, during the reporting period, we learn of additional legal issues that they are facing?
    If you are considering providing services regarding a new, separate case, even if the case is presented by an existing client, include the new case in your data.
  • If we provide full representation to a client regarding an issue that is within our priorities, but the same client also has a need for representation in an area not within our priorities, and we refer him or her to another source for the second case, how should we categorize the second case?
    If the second issue would be regarded as a separate case according to the CSR Handbook guidelines, then you should report it separately from the first case under "Unable to Serve-Outside of Program Priorities."
  • If we are able to serve a client fully with part of the case (possession in an eviction case), but not able to serve in the rest of the case (money damages), do we count that as two cases or just one "Able to Serve Fully" case?
    In this instance, the eviction case would be classified as "Fully Served." The money damages part of the case would be classified as "Unable to Serve" because your program is not representing the client in that case. Use "Unable to Serve-Outside of Program Priorities."
  • CSR Questions
  • What is the difference between providing an applicant with legal information and providing a client with assistance that results in closing the case under an "A" closure designation?
    A closing code of "A" indicates that you have provided advice specific to the client's actual situation and problem, as opposed to providing an individual with general legal information. If you give advice to a client about his or her situation specifically, the case should have a closing code "A." Please refer to the CSR Handbook for further explanation.
  • Your answer concerning clients served with non-LSC Funds tells us to report only on CSR-eligible people. Is it fair to say that we may report on people who appear to be CSR eligible? By this I mean that at the time we make the report, the case is CSR eligible -- acknowledging that, for example, we sometimes learn belatedly that the client is over-income and the case would not be LSC eligible after all.
    You are correct. Your categorization should be based on your best judgment at the time.
  • Unable to Serve Category
  • Under "Unable to Serve," should we include callers who are turned away or screened out without being sent for a full eligibility intake screening?
    If the potential client has a case outside of priority, the case should be reported as "Unable to Serve--Outside of Program Priorities." Additionally, all cases barred by LSC regulations should be reported as "Unable to Serve-Ineligible."
  • [NEW] Do we need to conduct an eligibility screening for categorizing “Unable to Serve – Conflict of Interest”?
    No, the person may or may not be eligible. Recognizing that work flows vary between organizations, you may or may not know this information before finding a conflict.
  • [NEW] Under “Unable to Serve”, do we report the categories by substantive area of law like in Section 2?
    No. Tallying cases by substantive area is not necessary for the Unable to Serve section.
  • Are we to list over-income as well as criminal as ineligible?
    Yes, criminal cases and persons who do not meet your financial eligibility criteria should be listed as "Unable to Serve-Ineligible."
  • If we decide to provide a client with extended service, but the client disappears, should that be reflected in the survey?
    If the client disappears during the reporting period, it should be reported in the survey under "Unable to Serve-Other Reason."
  • If a potential client lives in our service area, but we do not provide him or her with legal information or pro se resources because he or she has a legal problem in a different service area, what category of "Unable to Serve" would be appropriate?
    "Unable to Serve-Outside of Program Priorities" would be most appropriate if the case is outside of your service area.
  • If a potential client lives in our service area, but we do not provide him or her with legal information or pro se resources because he or she has a legal problem in a different service area, what category of "Unable to Serve" would be appropriate?
    "Unable to Serve-Outside of Program Priorities" would be most appropriate if the case is outside of your service area.
  • How should we categorize cases that we refer to a private attorney at a reduced fee?
    If the client is LSC-eligible but pays a fee for the services he or she receives, the case should be categorized as "Unable to Serve-Insufficient Resources."
  • Unable to Serve Fully Category
  • [NEW] For “Unable to Serve Fully”, is this a prediction we are making or must the extended service be provided during the reporting period?
    Given the limited time period for the Intake Census, if the case will not be closed within the collection period then it is a prediction.
  • If we provide a client with limited services, but do not have the resources to fully resolve his or her legal issue, how should we classify the case?
    The case should be classified as "Unable to Serve Fully."
  • Fully Served Category
  • [UPDATED] What constitutes "Fully Served-Provision of Legal Information or Pro Se Resources"?
    This would include services such as provision of self-help forms or general assistance at a help desk. If they are fully served with pro se resources, it is because you feel you have satisfied their needs for services. This may take place when a program provides a pro se uncontested, no-fault divorce, or name change packet for the individual to file on their own, and they do so. Whether this may apply in your location may depend on the laws in your location. This does not include cases where you provide the client with advice or other limited services that result in a CSR.
  • Does "Fully Served" describe cases closed during the reporting period that were opened at any time, or only cases opened and closed during the reporting period?
    "Fully Served" indicates cases opened during the reporting period that you have accepted for extended representation. If you have not yet made a decision to provide extended service, the case should be classified as "Pending." See the memo for fuller definitions and explanations.
  • [NEW] Do we record as “fully served” cases that are IOLTA eligible but over the 125% of poverty LSC eligible?
    All LSC-eligible or LSC-reportable cases should be counted. Refer to the CSR Handbook for guidance on that determination.
  • Pending Category
  • How is a "Pending" case defined?
    A "Pending" case is a case in which you have not yet made a decision about the level of service you are going to provide.
  • Does the "Pending" category cover only new requests for assistance during the reporting period, or does it also cover requests for assistance made prior to the reporting period?
    The "Pending" category covers only new requests for assistance during the reporting period.
  • If you have taken a case and given legal advice, but are considering providing extended service, should that be reported as "Pending" or "Fully Served"?
    If you have given legal advice and are considering providing extended service, but have not yet made a decision, the case should be reported as "Pending."
  • We accept many cases for additional research before we make a decision about whether to provide the client with extended representation. How should we categorize such cases?
    If you have accepted the case but have not yet determined the level of service, that case should be classified as "Pending." If the case seems especially likely to become an extended case, you should use your judgment to decide whether to classify it as "Pending" or "Fully Served."
  • If we accept a case pro bono that is within the program's priorities, but have not yet found a private attorney to take the case, how should the case be classified?
    The case should be classified as "Pending."
  • Which Cases to Count
  • Do we count cases opened prior to March 25, 2019?
    Count only cases that are opened during the data collection period. The case does NOT have to be closed by April 19, 2019.
  • Referral to Brief Advice Clinics
  • We refer applicants to brief advice clinics where they will receive some legal advice from an attorney - if they go. Is this unable to serve - outside case acceptance priorities? Even though they will get advice if they go?
    If you are sponsoring the clinic, then the best category is "Unable to Serve Fully-Insufficient Resources-Provision of Legal Information or Pro Se Resources, or Provided Limited Service," if the case will be counted as a CSR. If you do not sponsor the clinic, use "Unable to Serve - Outside of Program Priorities."
  • Tracking Substantive Issues on the Matrix
  • The LSC Survey matrix lists substantive legal practice areas in the center of the matrix form. Does this mean that our reportable data should reflect substantive areas of requests for services only for those we serve, partially and fully, and that for people who contact us for assistance but whom we are unable to serve at all for the listed reasons, we need not separate the data into substantive areas of practice?
    That is correct. You only need to collect the substantive areas for those individuals who you are tracking as "Unable to Serve Fully" and "Fully Served." You do not have to track substantive areas for those you are "Unable to Serve."
  • Logistical Questions
  • [UPDATED] Under each category, we may have different people collecting different parts for the survey. How do we handle that?
    We understand that this can be a logistical challenge, because you can do intake in a number of different ways and from different offices. If there are different people in the program collecting different pieces of the data, one person needs to collate and bring together all of the data when it is reported to us so we can get one number and not multiple forms with the data from multiple offices or staff. It may be helpful to track intakes using a Google Sheets document, which can be shared with multiple users at the same time. Click here for an example. If you would like to receive a copy of this Google Sheet for use in your agency, please send a request to datateam@lsc.gov. At the end of the process, the link to your organization's Google Sheet can then be sent to LSC. Please refer to the Data Collection Strategies document for additional assistance.
  • Should our program use its case management systems to track this information?
    If your case management system has the capacity to track this information, that would be the best way to track this information.
  • When is the Unable to Serve data due to LSC?
    The data will be due on May 3, 2019, two weeks after the conclusion of the reporting period.

Important Documents

Download the Instructions.

Download the Excel form.

[NEW] Download the Data Collection Strategies document.


Request a Google Sheet (Optional)

LSC requests submission of one document containing all aggregated counts for your agency. It may be helpful to track intakes using a Google Sheets document, which can be shared with multiple users at the same time. Click here for an example. If you would like to receive a copy of this Google Sheet for use in your agency, please send a request to datateam@lsc.gov.


Review the Webinar On This Year's Process

Click here to watch the webinar from March 20, 2019.

Click here to download a copy of the presentation slides.


Submitting Your Data

First, verify that you have collected info from all intake locations and sources, and that the data are from March 25th to April 19th.

By May 3rd, please send an email to datateam@lsc.gov with either the Excel file attached or with a link to your finalized Google Sheet. We appreciate the file being named as follows: "Program Name_2019 Intake Census".


Contact Us

If you have any questions about this year's Intake Survey process, please contact us at datateam@lsc.gov.