Each year over 26,000—women, children and the elderly—ask for NLS’ help with dire legal problems such as protection from abuse, mortgage foreclosure, wrongful eviction, wage claims, child custody disputes, utility shutoffs, loss of food stamps and denial of other public benefits.
NLS provides civil legal services to low-income individuals and families affecting the basic necessities of life: shelter, income, healthcare, and safety. We provide civil legal aid to:
Troubled Families: NLS provides representation in these areas:
- To victims of domestic violence;
- Custodial parents and primary caretakers involved in custody disputes where their children are removed or are at risk of being removed from them by court action or self-help of another; &
- In addition, NLS provides advice through its clinics and telephone Helpline as well as reduced-fee referrals to private attorneys in divorce, support, and custody cases.
Public Benefits: NLS provides representation in these areas:
- In unemployment compensation cases dealing with the granting, denial, or termination of benefits;
- In Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases at Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings where applicants are attempting to establish eligibility for SSI payments;
- In Social Security cases where benefits are being terminated or reduced; &
- In cases where Department of Human Services (DHS) benefits (cash, medical, special allowances, food stamps) are being terminated.
Low-income Tenants: NLS provides representation in these areas:
- To clients who are wrongfully threatened with lock-out, facing eviction, or are living in substandard conditions; &
- To individuals and families who are improperly denied public or subsidized housing or are being terminated from Section 8.
Income-eligible Consumers: NLS provides representation in these areas:
- To low-income consumers who risk the loss of their homes or other essential property through forced public sales, such as sheriff or tax sales and mortgage foreclosures;
- To individuals who have been injured by predatory lending schemes;
- To people harmed by the denial or termination of essential utilities; &
- In emergency situations, to individuals in bankruptcy court.
Needy Elderly: NLS provides representation in these areas:
- To older adults (60 and above) who may be victims or physical, emotional, or financial abuse;
- To older adults seeking assistance with living wills, powers of attorney, health care planning, and alternatives to guardianship;
- Many of these services are funded in part through special subcontracts with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, the Beaver County Office on Aging, the Butler County Area Agency on Aging, and Lawrence County/Challenges: Options in Aging. In some counties, NLS represents elderly adults who are subjects of guardianship and/or protective services proceedings.