Legal Services Programs
What are Legal Services programs?
Legal Services programs are government-funded programs that provide free legal help to low-income and elderly people. Two Legal Services programs serve the Worcester area: the Massachusetts Justice Project (MJP) and the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts (LACCM).
Massachusetts Justice Project, Inc. (MJP)
The Massachusetts Justice Project, Inc. is a federally-funded agency that offers legal advice, guidance, and referrals over the telephone. It does intake for the LACCM, and is the first place to call for legal services in Worcester County.
The MJP helps with:
- claims for government benefits such as SSI, welfare, disability benefits
- housing issues such as evictions or tenant/landlord disputes
- family law, including divorces and child custody
- consumer issues
- other non-criminal legal problems
Community Legal Aid (CLA)
Community Legal Aid, serving central and western Massachusetts communities, is funded by the state and federal government and by private grants. CLA offers legal help to low-income and elderly clients who need to talk directly to a lawyer or need a lawyer to represent them in court.
Because of limited funds, the CLA gives priority to legal cases involving:
- domestic violence/domestic relations, including divorces for battered women
- child custody
- elder law, such as elders illegally kicked out of nursing homes
- mental health and disability issues, especially where benefits are denied
- welfare and other public benefits
- housing/homelessness and housing discrimination
Am I eligible?
Legal Services are mainly for people with incomes below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For dollar amounts, see Am I eligible? on MassResources.org. There are exceptions in special circumstances. Seniors age 60 or older are eligible for free legal services regardless of income.
Some Legal Services programs serve only citizens and eligible noncitizens. For other programs, immigration status does not matter. A staff member will explain the rules that apply to you.
What benefits will I get?
When you call, a staff member will discuss your situation with you to find out what sort of legal help you need. Services include free legal advice, guidance, referrals, and legal representation for non-criminal legal problems.
How do I apply?
More information about Legal Services Programs is on our statewide web site, MassResources.org. When you click on the link below, you will go to MassResources.org. Click "Back" on your browser to return to WorcesterResources.org.