LSC Submits 2021 Budget as White House Again Calls for Defunding

February 10, 2020

WASHINGTON – The White House’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal calls for defunding the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) for the fourth year in row. The budget released today designates $18.2 million for costs to close LSC down. LSC remains optimistic about congressional support for its funding and has submitted its own 2021 budget request for $652.6 million. This is an increase over last year’s request of $593 million.

More than 95% of LSC’s $652.6 million request would go towards funding legal aid organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. LSC estimates that the increased funding would allow its grantees to assist low-income Americans with 60% more civil legal problems than they currently are able to serve.

“LSC has enjoyed strong bipartisan support for 45 years,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “We are grateful to Congress for supporting LSC’s mission of promoting equal justice under law and for having recently increased our appropriation to $440 million, the highest amount in LSC's history.”

LSC is the nation's single largest funder of civil legal aid. The 132 legal aid programs that LSC funds serve every county in every state and the territories. It was created in 1974 by an act of Congress that was signed into law by President Nixon. Congress continues to fund LSC each year so that low-income constituents have access to high-quality legal assistance in important civil legal matters like evictions, foreclosures, veterans benefits, child custody, adoptions, and protective orders against domestic abusers. 

In December, Congress approved, and President Trump signed into law, legislation that included $440 million for LSC. This represented an increase of $25 million over LSC’s previous appropriation of $415 million and is the largest appropriation in actual dollars in LSC’s history.

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 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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