The Florida Legislature approved $500,000 in funding to staff and launch a statewide Veterans Legal Helpline Project. The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with Bay Area Legal Services to lead the initiative, which is now underway. To be eligible for the services a Veteran must have very low income.
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which provides the majority of legal aid funding nationally, establishes a maximum income level equivalent to 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For a household of one in 2019, 125% of poverty level guidelines is $15,613 per year. So a veteran living in a single person household with an income of just $16,000 per year could be considered over-income and denied services.
Bay Area Legal will staff two full-time attorneys to answer the statewide helpline and assist with a range of legal issues, such as housing benefits, family law, consumer law, and others. For needy Veterans, this is resource is a valuable service.
The Veterans Legal Helpline is in the process of being fully staffed to help clients. Veterans can now reach the helpline at 1-866-486-6161. For more information about Bay Area Legal Services, visit www.bals.org