Daily Union Staff Writer
Do you need some legal advice but can’t afford a lawyer. A legal assistance foundation may be able to help you.
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance offers civil legal services by attorneys for those who are eligible.
Lauren Pashayan of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance in Springfield was guest speaker at last week’s Shelby County Interagency meeting.
“We offer civil legal services,” said Pashayan. “We don’t do personal injury or malpractice suits. We do counsel in matters regarding rental housing and home ownership, including foreclosure counseling, family law, consumer issues, and public benefits.”
Levels of service can range from advice only to court representation depending on assessments and available staff and resources.
“Not all eligible clients will receive the same level of service,” Pashayan said
LLLA will represent petitioners in domestic violence situations to obtain orders of protection or help with divorce petitions where domestic violence and children are involved.
Consumer issues includes debt garnishments and bank freezes.
“With the economy the way it is right now, this is a growing area,” Pashayan said.
LLLA also assists with public appeals in Social Security benefits, Medicaid, Department of Human Services, and food stamps program.
Seniors ages 60 and older can also seek advice through regularly scheduled LLLA visits at the Senior Center. An attorney is at the Shelby County Senior Center from 1-3 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month.
“The Senior Project is for anyone over age 60 . There is no income requirement,” Pashayan said.
The Senior Project covers information and assistance in such areas as Medicaid for nursing home care, powers of attorney, guardianships, and planning for the future.
Additionally, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance offers divorce self-help clinics for simple divorce cases not involving custody or property issues.
The agency offers community legal education programs for such topics as credit and debtor’s rights, landlord/tenate laws, special education issues, and general assistance. These programs are held at the Springfield office or can be held elsewhere if hosted by a local agency.
LLLA is a private firm and does not charge clients for its services. It receives funding from federal and state grants as well as from donations.
Eligibility requirements include individuals and families who are 125% poverty or lower and meet citizenship requirements.
“If you are getting government assistance or are working one to two minimum jobs, you are generally eligible,” Pashayan said.
Service agencies can recommend LLLA to their clients, but LLLA has to speak with the clients themselves.
“We don’t charge the clients, but we do require cooperation. If a client is not cooperating, we can withdraw our help,” Pashayan said.
For more information about Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, call 217-529-8400 or toll free at 1-800-252-8629.
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