Disability Rights Advocates Push for Continued LSC Funding

hands typing on a computer with the scales of justice and the word Rights on the screen

by Andy Jones
May 18, 2017

In a letter issued distributed to legislators May 5, the nation’s largest coalition of disability rights advocates, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, urged Congress to reject a push by President Trump to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation [PDF], the nation’s largest nonprofit service for civil legal services.

“As organizations committed to advocating for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities to participate fully and equally in society, we value the critical legal assistance to persons with disabilities made available by the LSC…,” the CCD letter states. “Legal Services lawyers represent low-income people with disabilities in a wide range of important matters, such as securing services to enable parents with disabilities to keep their families together and avoid losing custody of their children, obtaining reasonable accommodations to ensure that individuals with disabilities can remain in their housing and keep their jobs, and obtaining eligibility for Medicaid, SSI and other public benefits programs as well as preventing the loss of needed Medicaid services.”

The LSC, created by Congress in 1974, funds 133 independent nonprofit legal services programs in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, according to the LSC website. It receives about $450 million in federal funding annually.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies held hearings on LSC funding May 3, according to the ABA Journal.

“Despite the essential role played by LSC, the budget ‘blueprint’ released by the White House would eliminate funding for LSC, leaving millions of persons with disabilities with critical legal needs without assistance to navigate many aspects of the legal process and denying them the help they need to ensure that their basic needs are met,” the CCD letter states. “We urge that, in determining appropriations for 2018, you ensure that LSC remains fully funded.”

The National Disability Rights Network and 18 other disability rights groups signed onto the letter, which can be read here [PDF].

Disability Rights Washington is the designated protection and advocacy agency in Washington and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.