What Is PA LawHelp.org?
PALawHelp.org is a website that provides information and a guide to free and low cost legal help to low and moderate income persons and seniors in Pennsylvania.
What kind of information is in PALawHelp.org?
- Information on free legal aid programs and other legal service providers
- Information about your legal rights
- Legal education and self help information
- Information about and links to social services and government agencies
Why was PALawHelp.org created?
PALawHelp.org was created to increase access to justice by providing information to the public about legal issues they face and by providing a place where legal service providers can be found for those who are unable to pay attorney fees but are in need of legal assistance.
What is on the PALawHelp.org Home Page?
The PALawHelp.org home page contains your gateway to legal information and legal referrals. PALawHelp.org is part of a national network of statewide web sites proving this information across the country.
What areas of the law are covered in PALawHelp.org?
PALawHELP.org provides information in the following legal subject areas:
- Children and Families
- Elder Law
- Health Law
- Housing and Shelter
- Immigrant Issues
- Migrant Issues
- Public Benefits
- Veterans and Military
How do I use the Find Legal Help link on the Home Page?
The Find Legal Help link supplies information on legal service offices in Pennsylvania. It provides a list of the programs alphabetically by name, as well as a Search Legal Directory function that allows you to search for a provider by selecting your location and the type of legal problem you have.
How do I find the legal information I need in PALawHelp.org?
The PALawHelp.org homepage features an easy-to-use icon menu that allows users to find relevant information quickly and easily. Clicking on one of the main topics listed on the PALawHelp.org home page takes you to a list of sub-topics that contain legal information. Clicking on a listed sub-topic generates a list of the legal information resources available for that sub-topic.
You may also use the Search bar that appears at the top of every page to locate information based on words, or a statement of your issue or problem, that you type in the Search bar.
What kind of information is provided in PALawHelp.org?
This information provided includes online resources where you can file applications or get forms and information resources from a large variety of reliable sources. Information resources listed are sorted into groups by the type of organization providing the information. These include information from the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Government Agencies, Bar Associations and other legal organizations, and other private organizations. By default you receive Information from all of these different types of organizations throughout Pennsylvania. You can limit the resources presented to one of these types of organizations by using the links in the left navigation bar.
You may also filter the legal information received to get only information relevant to where you live. This can be done at any time by clicking the Set your location link in the right column of the page and selecting your location by city or town, county or zip code.
What information do the Court Information, Law Libraries and Find Legal Assistance links provide?
The page containing the list of legal information resources also features Court information, Law Libraries and Find Legal Help links in the left navigation bar.
These links present information information about the courts and law libraries serving your location and about legal assistance providers available where you live . The information provided relates specifically to the legal subtopic you previously selected.
Clicking on one of these links brings up a screen where you can identify your location by city or town, county or zip code.
If you had originally selected the Find Legal Help link you will be presented with a list of legal assistance providers that serve your location. There will also be a link to information about the lawyer referral service that serves your location.
Clicking on the name of a legal service provider on the list yields a detailed profile of the provider selected. This includes contact information, eligibility requirements, languages spoken and the types of service available from the provider.
If you selected the Court Information or Law Libraries link you will be presented with a list of the courts or law libraries that serve your location. This list contains active links to the court web sites and library sites where you can get detailed information about the operation of these entites.
Glossary of Legal Terms
A Glossary of Legal Terms is available from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. The Glossary is available at this link:
The United States Courts also offer the following glossaries of legal terms at these links:
A video explaining some common legal terms is available from Laurel Legal Services:
Type of Legal Help Available
There are several different ways in which an organization can provide help:
- Full Representation: Representation by a lawyer or a legal advocate in a legal matter, including appearances in court or at a hearing.
- Brief Advice: Immediate advice provided in person or over the telephone.
- Pro Se Legal Clinic: Advice and instruction from a legal advocate in a specified area of the law typically provided to a group in a clinic setting.
- Self-Help Materials: Provision of materials designed to assist an individual in preparing legal documents necessary to represent themself in court.
Specific Information by Location
Enter your zip code, city or town, or county to receive information specific to that area, together with general statewide information.and a local referral to a legal assistance provider.
Some organizations have income guidelines that you must meet to receive assistance. If you have an income higher than the income guidelines, you may not qualify for assistance. Income guidelines usually appear as a percentage of the federal poverty guidelines or as an income amount (example: $18,000/year). A personal asset may also affect whether you qualify for assistance. PALawHELP.org does not guarantee that you will be able to receive assistance from an organization even if you meet its income guidelines.
The chart below shows the monthly income guidelines most often used by legal services organizations, 125% to 200% of the federal poverty level. The amounts listed are rounded to the nearest dollar. "Family size" is the total number of people in the household.
2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines for Legal Aid
Each Additional Houshold Member
An organization may also list instances in which it can assist a person whose income is higher than the income guidelines. For example, an organization may make exceptions for seniors, people who are HIV positive, or people experiencing domestic violence. Some organizations determine income eligibility by taking expenses such as child care, medical bills, and debts into account. Source: Federal Register, January 18, 2018.