In addition to increasing state funding for legal aid, the Commission works to secure federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC is an independent nonprofit corporation that promotes access to justice and provides grants from federal funds to legal aid organizations across the nation for high-quality legal assistance. Three Texas providers receive LSC funding: Lone Star Legal Aid, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. These three LSC organizations serve the majority of legal aid clients in Texas, and this federal funding is vital to the continued work of civil legal aid in Texas.
Unfortunately, LSC funding has not kept pace with inflation. In 1995, Congress appropriated $400 million for LSC when there were 43 million Americans living in poverty. Since then, LSC's appropriation has increased only slightly -- to $489 million in FY 2022 -- not enough to keep up with inflation or the demand for services resulting from recessions and the pandemic.
If funding for LSC had been adjusted for inflation, LSC's funding today would be more than $900 milion. With the global pandemic and the increasing number of people newly eligible for legal services, there is an even greater need for substantially increased federal financial support for civil legal aid. LSC's current budget request is $1.26 billion.
LSC Funding by Fiscal Year:
- 2021 LSC Funding = $465 million; 39.2 million for TX
- 2020 LSC Funding = $465 million; 37.1 million for TX
- 2019 LSC Funding = $415 million; $35 million for TX
- 2018 LSC Funding = $410 million; $33 million for TX; LSC disaster = $15 million
- 2017 LSC Funding = $385 million under CR; $31 million for TX
- 2016 LSC Funding = $385 million; $31 million for TX
- 2015 LSC Funding = $375 million; $30.9 million for TX
Each spring, the Commission partners with the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to visit Texas congressional members and senators in their D.C. offices. In conjunction with the American Bar Association’s Lobby Day in Washington, our delegation provides our state’s national representatives with information on civil legal services and access to justice issues affecting their constituents. The goal of these visits is to educate our lawmakers and encourage them to support LSC funding.
How can I help?
Tell your elected officials that you support funding for the Legal Services Corporation and you think they should as well.
Click on the link below to find out who represents you on the federal level.