Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request

Summary / Overview

LSC requests an appropriation of $652,600,000 for FY 2021. This request reflects an increase of $59.6 million over last year’s request of $593 million. Nearly 95% of the request would fund 132 local legal aid organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Territories. LSC estimates that this would enable LSC grantees to provide assistance with 60% more civil legal problems than they currently serve.

Last year, LSC used its 2017 Justice Gap Report as the basis for determining the level of funding necessary to narrow the justice gap. LSC’s FY 2021 recommendation is based on a new “intake census” of all LSC grantees that focused on financially eligible individuals who sought assistance for civil legal problems during a four-week period in 2019. The 2019 intake census showed that 42% of the eligible legal problems presented received no service of any kind—an increase of one percentage point from the 2017 survey.

LSC’s funding request for FY 2021 reflects the overwhelming need for civil legal services to fulfill America’s pledge of “justice for all.” Millions of Americans qualify for LSC-funded services, but the majority of them are not able to receive the legal assistance they need because LSC’s appropriation has been inadequate to meet their needs. The request would allow LSC grantees to make substantial progress serving those persons who seek legal aid but currently receive insufficient services or no service at all.