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Eligibility Guidelines

What We Do

Legal Aid does not have the resources to provide extended representation for every eligible case. Legal Aid staff may offer advice, brief services, and referrals to any eligible applicant – including case types not considered for extended representation.

Extended representation may involve:

  • negotiation;
  • document preparation;
  • administrative or court representation;
  • appellate practice;
  • systemic advocacy;
  • transactional work;
  • community economic development; or
  • legislative and administrative rule-making, as permissible.

Who is eligible?

Legal Aid of Arkansas has established a maximum income level for different family sizes. The maximum income level is 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (shown in the chart below). These numbers are the maximum levels. If certain factors are present, legal aid can waive up to 200% in unusual or meritorious circumstances. Call our helpline to see if you qualify for free legal help.

Size of Family Unit National Eligibility Level* Maximum Income Level**
1 $14,850 $23,760
2 $20,025 $32,040
3 $25,200 $40,320
4 $30,375 $48,600
5 $35,550 $56,880
6 $40,725 $65,160
7 $45,913 $73,460
8 $51,113 $81,780

The figures in the column labeled National Eligibility Level represent 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. The figures in the column labeled Maximum Income Level represent 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Applicants whose total household income falls below the National Eligibility Level are income-eligible for legal assistance. Applicants whose total household income does not exceed the Maximum Income Level are income-eligible for legal assistance if certain specific factors are present that would allow the income between the two levels to be waived. Under no circumstances will applicants whose total household income exceeds the Maximum Income Level be considered income-eligible for legal assistance. 

*For each additional family member, add $5,200

**For each additional family member, add $8,320

Each eligibility level is determined using gross income.

Updated 2/7/2016

What is considered "income"?

The definition of income is found in 45 CFR §1611.2(i). All sources of income are to be used in determining eligibility, with these exceptions:

  1. SNAP benefits 
  2. Housing vouchers, food or rent in lieu of wages
  3. Tax refunds
  4. Funds withdrawn from a bank account
  5. Gifts
  6. Compensation and/or one-time insurance payments for injuries sustained
  7. Any other non-cash benefit
  8. Up to $2,000 per year of funds received by individual Native Americans that is derived from Indian trust income or other distributions exempt by statute.

What we do NOT handle

Legal Aid of Arkansas cannot help with criminal problems, including traffic tickets. Fee-generating cases, such personal injury cases are not accepted.  If you are unsure, call anyway.

What you should know

The Legal Aid of Arkansas helpline professionals will try to take your call right away. If all helpline professionals are busy, someone will call you back. Please have a call back number ready when you call.

You will be asked about your income and assets. Legal Aid of Arkansas can only help people with income and assets within the certain guidelines shown in the chart above.

Next, your helpline professional will ask you to describe your problem or question in detail. He or she may ask you questions to gain a better understanding of your situation.

Legal Aid of Arkansas will then decide how best to assist you. Depending on your unique situation, here’s what you might expect:

  • Legal advice over the telephone
  • More detailed information sent to you by mail
  • Brief service (e.g., filing a form)
  • Referral to a staff or volunteer attorney for legal representation.
  • Referrals to other services

How to apply

If you need help with a legal problem, have a question you think a lawyer should answer, or have been sued and don’t know where to turn, call Legal Aid of Arkansas!

1-800-9 LAW AID (1-800-952-9243)

HelpLine Hours:
Mon-Thurs 9-11AM & 1-3PM
Tuesday evenings 5:15-7:15PM

Legal Aid of Arkansas Service Areas: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Lee, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Monroe, Newton, Phillips, Poinsett, Randolph, St. Francis, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, Woodruff

If you live in the above counties or have a legal problem in the above counties, you can apply for legal help online. For more information and to apply for legal aid, please click on the link below. 

Apply Online