To qualify for free legal help from CVLAS, applicants for service must meet the guidelines mandated by Federal regulations.
1. Your household income must be below the guidelines.
2. Your household assets must be below the guidelines.
3. You must live in or have a case in our Service Area.
4. You must be a U.S. Citizen or meet one of our non-citizen exceptions.
5. Your must have a case within our Case Acceptance Guidelines
Generally, households must have gross income below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. Households with income up to 200% of the federal poverty may be accepted in certain situations. Households also must have low resources. The elderly (60 or older) may receive legal help without regard to their finances, in certain cases. Click here to download the current Eligibility Information Chart.
Sources of Income
CVLAS Intake Assistants will determine your household income by looking at the following:
- Employment: Gross income is counted. We do not deduct taxes, Social Security, or other withholdings (except garnishments are deducted below).
- Public assistance: Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance, Unemployment compensation, Workers’ compensation, Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, and Black Lung benefits are counted as income. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Fuel Assistance, and Cooling Assistance are not counted as income.
- Other income: child support, spousal support, retirement, pensions, other disability benefits, interest payments, trust fund payments, money given by family members to help out are counted as income.
If your Household income is above the guidelines, we may be able to use the following expenses to reduce your income to make you eligible.
- Back taxes: Regular payments on back taxes.
- Child care: Actual cost of employment-related or school-related child care.
- Child support: Amount currently paid by court order, wage assignment or voluntarily (as long as the voluntary payments are consistent in time and amount).
- Garnished wages: Amount currently being garnished.
- Medical expenses – Unreimbursed medical expenses, e.g. for hospitals, doctors, prescriptions.
- Transportation: Actual cost of employment-related or school-related transportation, e.g. gas, parking, tolls, bus tickets.
- Other significant factors: Additional expenses related to the factors above that the Executive Director determines affect the applicant’s ability to afford legal assistance.
Assets are defined as cash, checking, savings, CDs, stocks, bonds, houses, cars, boats, etc. – Family residence and one motor vehicle do not count.
Service Area Eligibility
Please see the map of where we serve, here.
CVLAS can only provide services to U.S Citizens or non-U.S. Citizens who:
- Have permanent resident status (have a green card), or,
- Have a Work Visa, or,
- Are married to a U.S. citizen or are the parent of a U.S. citizen or are unmarried, under age 21 & the child of U.S. citizen, and have applied for permanent resident status & have not been rejected, or,
- Were admitted as a refugee, granted asylum, or granted withholding from a deportation order, or,
- The applicant or applicant’s child has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the U.S. and the applicant is seeking assistance necessary to assist the victim from an abusive situation or ameliorate the current effect of the abuse or protect against future abuse. The legal assistance includes, but is not limited to, obtaining a civil protection order, divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, housing, public benefits, employment, abuse/neglect, juvenile proceedings, small claims cases, contempt actions.
Case Acceptance Guidelines
To see the cases we accept, please click here.