Legal Services Corporation Expected to Receive $25 Million Funding Boost

WASHINGTON – The House finalized text of FY2021 appropriations legislation today that includes $465 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). This would be $25 million more than LSC’s FY 2020 appropriation of $440 million, a 5.7% increase. The bill is expected to pass the House today and go to the Senate tomorrow. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation. If passed, this would be the largest appropriation in actual dollars in LSC’s history.

A new COVID-19 relief package is attached to the omnibus appropriations bill. LSC is not included in this legislation. The package does include rental assistance and extends the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.

“We are grateful that Congress is poised to provide additional support for legal aid to meet the numerous critical civil legal issues faced by low-income Americans,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “Whether the issue relates to job losses, health care, evictions or domestic violence, access to a lawyer can make a life-impacting difference. We are hopeful that the new Congress will include additional funds for LSC in the next COVID-19 relief legislation as the pandemic has both increased the numbers of Americans falling into poverty and caused a surge in these legal needs.”

More than 90% of the appropriation will go to grants that fund the direct delivery of legal assistance. LSC distributes the majority of its funding to 132 independent legal aid organizations serving every county in every state and the territories. These offices provide critical constituent services to low-income Americans.

A 2020 survey found that 58.5 million low-income Americans were eligible for LSC-funded legal assistance. Experts predict that the need for civil legal services will continue to grow amid COVID-19 challenges, particularly for low-income families facing job losses, evictions and other problems stemming from the pandemic.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974. For 50 years, LSC has provided financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 131 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.