LSC seeks $1.8B to help low-income Americans

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is asking Congress for an appropriation of $1.8 billion in its FY 2025 budget request.

This reflects the minimum amount required for legal aid providers funded by LSC to serve eligible, low-income applicants. 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’s 2022 Justice Gap report — which details the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and resources available to meet those needs — found 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.

In 2021, the child poverty rate stood at 5%, but in 2022, it more than doubled to 12% — affecting approximately 9 million children.  

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.

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