Qualifying for Legal Help: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
I want answers to frequently asked questions about the qualification guidelines for legal help in Texas.
This page has answers to questions people commonly have about qualifying for legal help in Texas.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does legal aid determine if I qualify for legal help?
A: Different legal aid organizations have different eligibility guidelines. These guidelines can include income, residency (where you live), and the type of case. Legal Aid organizations will try to figure out whether or not you meet or do not meet these guidelines.
Please note that even if you qualify that does not mean the organization will take your case. Due to limited budgets, legal aid is only able to help about 2 out of every 10 persons that apply for free legal help.
Q: What are the income guidelines for most legal aid organizations?
A: Most legal aid organizations are only allowed to handle the cases of those whose household income level falls under 125% and 200% of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines.
This measurement is based on the level of pre-tax household income versus the household size.
If your income is below 125% of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines, you likely qualify for free help based on income. If your income is under 200% of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines, you might qualify for certain programs based on a variety of factors, such as type of case, your assets, your age, and more.
Q: How do I figure out whether or not I am above or below 125% and 200% of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines?
A: If you do not know the exact amount of income, that is fine. Just make your best guess of the total amount of household income before taxes are taken out.
Please note: If the other side of your case lives with you, you do not count their income as part of the total household income and you do not count them as part of the household.
Click the button below to go to a free Income Eligibility Tool to see if your income is above or below the guidelines.
(Note: This tool is not maintained by TexasLawHelp. For the most up-to-date information about the federal poverty guidelines, visit U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines Used to Determine Financial Eligibility for Certain Federal Programs).
Q: Do I have to live in Texas to qualify for help in Texas?
A: To qualify for most legal aid organizations in Texas, you must be a current resident of Texas.
If you do not know what county you live in, click the button below for a tool to find out.
Q: What if I am a Texas resident but in the military and stationed outside Texas?
A: If you—or your spouse—are in the Armed Forces and temporarily stationed in another part of the United States or overseas, you still are a resident of where you live normally.
Example: If you are stationed in Germany but live in Houston when you are not deployed, you would still be a Texas resident and your county would be Harris. In contrast, if you were stationed in Texas, but were transferred to North Carolina and moved with the intention of living in North Carolina and being a North Carolina resident, you would then be a resident of North Carolina.
Q: What if I am not a Texas resident? What are my options?
A: If you are not a resident of Texas, but would like to know your options, please click the link below to learn more.
Q: What if I am not a Texas resident but I am having trouble with visitation and have a Texas custody order?
A: If you are not a resident of Texas but have a Texas custody order and are having issues with visitation, there is a service that may be able to provide brief legal assistance.
The Texas Access and Visitation Hotline can provide help to parents with a Texas custody order who are having issues with visitation.