There are currently 61 million disabled individuals in the United States, and this population is often denied healthcare and necessary coverage. In recent years, the Trump administration rolled back many protections for disabled individuals, including ADA protections, and made it harder for people to file for disability and social security income. While there is still that must be done to turn around years of oppression that the disabled experience, some things are turning around now that President-Elect Biden plans to reform social security and supplemental income. However, caring for the disabled population, which is often comprised of low-income households and individuals, does not end only with healthcare and income.
When many people who are low-income or disabled have legal issues pertaining to such issues as housing, personal injuries, family law, and other areas, they often have few options for gaining legal representation due to the costs associated with hiring an attorney. Communities, cities, and states, have a moral obligation to ensure that legal aid is not a privilege given only to those with means to afford it. However, legal aid services within a community can change all that. As to how your community can provide these services to those in need, here are four ways you should consider very closely.
Partner with Non-Profits
To get the word out about legal aid services and make sure those who need them most are helped, partner with non-profit organizations that serve various populations. For example, working with local senior citizens organizations is often a good starting point, since many of these individuals are living on fixed incomes or suffer various physical disabilities.
Pro Bono Attorneys
In almost all communities, various lawyers are always willing to volunteer their services to help those who cannot afford a traditional visit to an attorney. This can be especially helpful for those residents who may have suffered accidents and injuries and are in need of compensation for medical bills and other damages. By involving a no win no fee injury lawyer in your efforts, these clients can get the legal advice they need.
Many veterans who have served in the military often return home with a variety of physical and mental disabilities, such as PTSD and many other issues. Unfortunately, they also often have difficulty obtaining employment, resulting in many of them falling into poverty. To help these men and women with legal issues involving housing, insurance issues, and more, you should contact local veterans’ associations and other similar organizations. In doing so, you can coordinate their services with those offered by legal aid societies.
Domestic Violence Shelters
In cases of domestic violence, which most often involve women, legal aid will be an immediate necessity. Since the majority of these victims have little if any income and are often mothers trying to raise children, leaving their abuser presents numerous legal challenges. In working with local domestic violence shelters, you can assemble a team of attorneys who are willing to provide low-cost legal services to victims in such areas as child custody, child support, divorce, and even personal injury lawsuits if they were seriously injured by their abuser.
Though it will take significant work on your part to bring about these opportunities for legal counsel, doing so will result in many deserving people getting the help they need.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan