Budget Requests

The above map includes data on the services provided by LSC’s 132 grantees in 2018 in every state and territory. The figures for the special populations (veterans, seniors, domestic violence survivors) represent the estimated number of people served in the household.
For FY 2021, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is requesting $5.6 million to continue providing comprehensive and effective oversight of the federal funds Congress provides to LSC. The OIG contributes to LSC’s mission success by providing decision-makers with objective audits, investigations, and reviews aimed at strengthening governance and accountability and enhancing performance in LSC’s and grant recipients’ programs and operations.
LSC requests $2 million for the Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for FY 2021—the same amount LSC has requested for the past three years. Currently, the LRAP program is funded at $1.5 million.
For the first time in almost a decade, LSC is requesting an increase in the Management Grants Oversight (MGO) budget for FY 2021. Since 2015, LSC has covered its current MGO expenses with a combination of appropriated funds and funds carried over from prior years. LSC projects that we will come close to exhausting our carryover funds by the end of FY 2021 without an increased congressional appropriation. In addition, as funding for Basic Field grants increases, we require additional resources to conduct proper oversight and accountability of the grants LSC awards to our 132 grantees. As a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars, we have an obligation to maintain a robust oversight program.
LSC requests $5 million for the Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF)—the same amount LSC has requested for the past seven years. Currently, the Pro Bono program is funded at $4.5 million.
LSC requests $5 million for the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program for FY 2021—the same amount LSC has requested for the past eight years. Currently the TIG program is funded at $4 million.
LSC requests $608.8 million for Basic Field grants to fund the day-to-day operations of legal aid organizations. LSC grantees help constituents who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines—$15,950 for an individual and $32,750 for a family of four in 2020.
FY 2021 Budget Request: 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.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to a lawyer when someone is accused of a crime. But there is no constitutional right to an attorney when someone faces a civil action. For example, unless you can afford legal assistance, you are on your own to prevent unlawful foreclosure, obtain a protective court order against an abusive spouse, fight for custody of your children, or secure veterans’ benefits earned from military service. It is very challenging to navigate the legal system on your own. Legal assistance is critical to protecting the values of liberty and justice on which the United States was founded.