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A non-profit organization providing free legal information, advice and representation in civil cases to low-income families and individuals in Central, Southside and Western Tidewater Virginia

 
 
 

What does Virginia Legal Aid Society do?

Virginia Legal Aid Society (VLAS) is a nonprofit law firm established in 1977 to provide free civil legal services to eligible low-income residents in twenty counties and six cities in Central, Southside, and Western Tidewater Virginia. VLAS serves the entire community by providing free information, advice and representation in such areas as housing, healthcare, income and benefits, family issues, consumer, and education.

Am I eligible for help from VLAS?

VLAS provides free civil legal services to persons with low household income.  When you call our toll-free intake system, LawLine (see the number below), you will speak with a paralegal who will determine if you are financially eligible.  Eligibility is based on the number of people in your household, the income and assets of your household members, and other information.

What type of cases does VLAS handle?

VLAS provides free legal help for individuals and families in the following areas:

HOUSING

  • Landlord Disputes and Evictions
  • Subsidized and Public Housing
  • Mortgage Foreclosures
  • Hazardous Conditions
  • Utilities

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • FAMIS (Family Access to Medical Insurance Security)
  • Health Insurance

INCOME AND BENEFITS

  • Social Security Disability and SSI
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Food Stamps (SNAP) and WIC
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

FAMILY ISSUES

  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Child Custody Interstate Disputes
  • Child Support Involving Disabled Parents
  • Simple Wills and Living Wills
  • General Powers of Attorney
  • Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Some Guardianships

CONSUMER

  • Collections and Repossessions
  • Garnishment Exemptions
  • Illegal or Unfair Sales Practices
  • Consumer Credit Violations
  • Payday and Car Title Lending
  • Car Warranties

EDUCATION

  • Special Education Rights
  • Student Discipline

How do I contact VLAS?

Call LawLine, our toll-free intake and advice system, at 866-LeglAid (534-5243) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm.  If you cannot call during those times, ask someone to call for you to give your phone number and a time we can call you.  We use Language Line to provide interpreters in over 170 languages.

Between 5:00 pm and 9:00 am, you can listen to recorded information on legal topics by following the voice menu.  You can also submit an application online.  The ID number you receive online will give you priority for service when you call.

Will my case be accepted?

Because we are a nonprofit organization with limited funding, we are not able to provide representation in every case.

If you are found eligible for help, a paralegal will ask you questions about your legal problem.  If your problem is within the areas of law we handle listed above, we will give you advice and/or information during your first phone call  If you need more extensive help, and we are taking new cases, you will be called back within the next business day to arrange an appointment with a VLAS attorney or paralegal.

If your problem is not within the areas of law we handle, we may give you general legal information, or refer you to another organization that can help.

What is the cost for services?

VLAS does not charge a fee for its legal services.  You will be asked to pay back expenses, such as court costs, medical record copies, and witness fees if we win and receive money for you.  Usually these fees are small.

Who pays for the services?

VLAS is funded by contributions and grants from individuals, foundations and companies, local governments, local United Ways, Area Agencies on Aging, the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia and the federal Legal Services Corporation.

When should I contact VLAS?

Contact VLAS as soon as a problem arises.  Time is very important in most situations.  If you put it off, you may lose your rights or make it hard for an attorney or paralegal to do the best job.  Do not delay.

What if I am dissatisfied with VLAS?

If you believe assistance has been improperly denied or if you are dissatisfied with the assistance provided, you have the right to file a complaint. 

To file a complaint, contact the Executive Director in writing at 513 Church Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504, by e-mail at director@vlas.org, or by phoning 888-846-VLAS (8527), ext. 24.  Please state your complaint and reason for it.

If the Executive Director does not resolve your complaint, then you have the right to appeal to the Executive Committee of the VLAS Board of Directors.

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