What If I Don’t Qualify?
Civil legal aid helps people with non-criminal issues, including family, housing, consumer, healthcare, benefits, employment, and educational services.
Most people do not qualify for free civil legal aid.
Most civil legal aid and pro bono agencies serve people who earn 125% or below of the federal poverty guideline**
|Size of Family Unit||Annual Amount||125%||Weekly Amount|
|For each additional person, add||$4,320||$5,400||$104|
Even if you have a low income, it does not guarantee service from a legal aid or pro bono agency. Legal aid agencies have limited staff and resources and do not cover all legal issues. Pro bono agencies offer legal services for limited issues with volunteer lawyers. These agencies are not able to serve everyone who applies.
If you don’t qualify for free civil legal aid:
- Ask about brief legal services such as Talk to A Lawyer, Counsel in the Court, and Lawyers in Libraries through your local or state bar association or legal aid/pro bono agency
- During some months in the school year, law schools may have legal clinics for specific issues
- For the elderly, seek services from an Indiana area agency on aging: https://www.in.gov/fssa/da/3478.htm
- Ask for referrals to programs or lawyers that may be able to help you for a sliding scale fee
- Look for information about your issue:
- Family issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/560/family-issues-informational-brochures
- Housing issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/563/housing-informational-brochures
- Jobs/Employment issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/564/jobsemployment-informational-brochures
- Health and Medical Issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/562/health-and-medical-matters-informational-brochures
- Students/School issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/576/students-informational-brochures
- Becoming a legal resident/U.S. citizen: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/565/non-citizens-informational-brochures
- Government programs issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/561/government-programs-informational-brochures
- Tax issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/832/tax-informational-brochures
- Seniors issues: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/575/seniors-informational-brochures
- Consumer Protection issues: https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2336.htm
- Identify Theft: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
- Legal System questions: https://www.indianalegalservices.org/node/573/legal-system-informational-brochures
- Guardianship issues: https://www.kidsvoicein.org/guardianship-and-third-party-custody-in-indiana/
Before considering going to court without a lawyer, try all your other options first. You would not consider fixing your own car or doing surgery on your own unless you were educated, skilled and practiced. Working in the legal system is the same. In court you must be prepared and understand all the deadlines, papers to file, steps to take and procedures to follow.
If you decide to represent yourself in court:
- Observe court sessions before appearing in court for the first time
- Research and read everything you can on your subject
- Find a lawyer who will talk to you and give you brief advice to prepare for court
See the Indiana Supreme Court’s page on representing yourself in court: https://www.in.gov/judiciary/selfservice/2361.htm