LSC Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request Sent to Congress
WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) asked Congress for $486.9 million for Fiscal Year 2016, approximately the same level of funding requested for the past two years.
“LSC and its grantees have made a crucial difference in the lives of millions of Americans, helping them with civil legal matters that go to the very heart of their safety and security,” said LSC Board Chair John G. Levi. “Our budget request recognizes the vital need for adequate funding of civil legal aid while balancing that request against the current budgetary realities.”
The LSC budget request included $5 million each for:
- LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program. Since 2000, the TIG program has funded more than 570 legal technology projects, allowing LSC grantees to expand the delivery of legal aid services through statewide websites, enhanced case management systems, and other innovative methods.
- LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF), a competitive grant program supporting collaborative legal aid projects that develop replicable innovations in pro bono services for low-income clients. Many of the projects use emerging technology to reach rural populations, and create extensive partnerships with local law schools, community organizations, and corporate attorneys.
LSC’s request also provided $451.3 million for basic field grants that fund the delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income Americans, $1 million for student loan repayment assistance to legal aid lawyers, $19.5 million for management and grants oversight, and $5.1 million for the Office of Inspector General.
The White House recommended $452 million in funding for LSC in its Fiscal Year 2016 budget delivered to Congress today, an increase of $77 million more than current funding and $22 million more than last year’s White House budget recommendation.
The population eligible for LSC-funded assistance has grown to an all-time high. Nearly one in three Americans – 96 million people – qualified for LSC-funded services at some time during 2013, the most recent year for which U.S. Census Bureau data are available:
- 63.6 million people – one in five Americans – had annual incomes for the entire year below the threshold for LSC-funded legal assistance of 125% of the federal poverty line – $14,363 for an individual; $29,438 for a family of four.
- Another 32.4 million people had incomes below the 125% level for at least two consecutive months during the year.
“We are grateful for the recent increases in our congressional funding,” said LSC President James J. Sandman. “Given the current record-high need for LSC-funded services, we hope very much that Congress will continue this trend.”
Congress appropriated $375 million to LSC for Fiscal Year 2015, $10 million more than the previous year. Compared to its largest appropriation of $420 million in Fiscal Year 2010, LSC’s funding has decreased by nearly 11 percent, or $45 million.
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.