LSC Requests $1.8 Billion Budget to Meet Needs of Low-Income Americans

Carl Rauscher     
Director of Communications and Media Relations

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WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is asking Congress for an appropriation of $1.8 billion in its FY 2025 budget request released today. This request reflects the minimum amount required for the legal aid providers funded by LSC to serve the eligible, low-income applicants who seek legal services. Currently, these organizations must turn away half of eligible applicants due to a lack of adequate resources. The $1.8 billion request was approved unanimously by LSC’s bipartisan board of directors; LSC’s board is appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. 

The request also addresses the year-after-year increase in demand for civil legal services due to the pandemic’s lingering economic impact on low-income Americans. LSC grantees across the country need additional resources to assist vulnerable people facing increases in domestic violence, child welfare, evictions and foreclosures, as well as protecting seniors, the disabled and veterans in need. 

“For 50 years, LSC has been working to increase access to justice and deliver the American promise of equal justice to our most vulnerable citizens—but we will not be able to end this crisis without increasing our investment in access to justice,” said LSC President Ron Flagg. “Investing in LSC is a direct investment in the stability, security and fairness available to low-income Americans in every U.S. state and territory.”   

LSC’s 2022 Justice Gap report—which details the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs—found that low-income Americans received no or insufficient legal help for 92% of their civil legal problems. Nationally, 74% of low-income households faced at least one civil legal problem—an increase from pre-pandemic numbers.   

The financial and legal hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the rising costs for essential goods and services have intensified the access to justice crisis. As costs increase, low-income people have greater difficulty affording payments, putting them at risk of eviction and debt accumulation. These circumstances create a direct connection between inflation and civil legal issues. 

In 2021, the child poverty rate stood at 5%, but in 2022, it more than doubled to 12%—affecting approximately 9 million children. Families with children are at a higher risk of experiencing housing instability and eviction. The stress induced by poverty contributes to family breakdowns, giving rise to legal issues like divorce, custody disputes and child support. Access to legal assistance is vital to help families and children in poverty overcome these challenges. 

LSC received flat funding of $560 million in FY 2024, after receiving a $71 million increase in FY 2023.  

To fully resolve the legal problems of low-income Americans who contact LSC grantees for assistance, LSC needs $1.749 billion for its Basic Field programs. Basic Field Grants comprise more than 97% of LSC’s proposed budget. The full budget request for FY 2025 is $1.797 billion—which also includes funds for important programs like Technology Initiative Grants, the Pro Bono Innovation Fund, and the Loan Repayment Assistance Program.  

The minimum amount required to simply maintain the current level of service in FY 2025 is $718 million. The White House requests $566 million for LSC in FY 2025.  

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.