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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Legal aid secures access to justice for all by providing legal assistance targeted to the most pressing unmet civil legal needs of Arizonans.

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If you have question about how to get legal aid or who is eligible for services, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

FAQ

  • What kind of help can I get from SALA?

    SALA is a not-for-profit law firm that provides legal aid services to people who cannot afford an attorney. We serve the following counties: Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz.

    Our services include legal advice, limited assistance such as help with completing legal documents, self-help workshops and clinics, and representation in court and in administrative hearings, and referrals. We decide the service we can provide to best assist each client based on their situation, our case priorities and available resources.

  • What kinds of cases does SALA accept?

    Our clients, board members, and staff have identified the following priorities:

    *LOSS OF HOME/UNSAFE HOUSING: foreclosure, landlord tenant problems, mortgage problems, and Section 8 issues.

    *DOMESTIC RELATIONS: divorce, custody, paternity, child support, and adult and minor guardianships.

    *PUBLIC BENEFITS: SNAP (Food Stamps), AHCCCS medical assistance, TANF cash assistance, unemployment benefits, and Social Security disability.

    *CONSUMER: debt collection, repossession, fraud, garnishment, and bankruptcy.

    *REPRESENTATION IN TRIBAL COURT: domestic relations, juvenile dependency, delinquency, criminal, housing, public benefits, consumer matters, and education.

    *IMMIGRATION: services to legal permanent residents, certain qualified aliens, derivative citizens, and victims of domestic violence.

    *COMMUNITY EDUCATION: we provide workshops, pamphlets, and seminars to community organizations.

  • Can I get assistance with utility bills or rent?

    SALA does not provide financial assistance; however, we can refer you to other resources in our community.  

    There may be an issue about how your utilities are being calculated by your landlord or about how much rent is due. Please feel free to contact us for additional legal advice on these issues.

  • What is the difference between legal aid and the public defender?

    Legal aid agencies like SALA handle mostly civil cases. SALA acts as the public defender, under contract with some tribes. The public defender provides representation to those who cannot afford an attorney for criminal cases.

  • What is the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP)?

    The VLP’s mission is to increase access to legal services for people with low incomes. VLP does this by providing services through private attorneys who volunteer. VLP recruits and supports volunteer attorneys who provide workshops, legal advice, limited services, or representation to clients who are eligible for services at SALA.

  • Who is eligible for services at SALA?

    If your legal issues falls within our priorities and you live in a county where we provide services, you will also need to be eligible for services. A person and their household must qualify based on household income and assets.

    Generally, an applicant must have an income below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. Specific income requirements vary depending on the legal issue.

    Generally, an applicant must be a US citizen or a legal permanent resident. But there are other categories of eligibility for non-citizens.

    The best way to find out if you are eligible for services is to complete an application. If you are not eligible, we will refer you to other resources in our community.

  • How do I apply for services at SALA?

    For any of our offices, you can apply for services online through the link on our website. When you apply online, we will call you to complete the eligibility interview.

    You can also apply for services over the telephone or in person at a local office. Click here for a list of offices and the times to apply for services.

  • Will SALA keep the information I provide confidential?

    When you become a client of SALA, any information you provide is kept confidential. You do not become a client of SALA until after you meet with an attorney. We may ask you to share limited information with our funders. Completing SALA’s application process does not make you a client of SALA, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  • When should I seek legal advice?

    We cannot list all of the situations, but we have listed some common situations.  You should seek advice as soon as you realize there is a problem!  It is much better to ask for legal advice first and find out that you do not need a lawyer, than to later find out you needed a lawyer.

    You should apply for services with SALA or contact a lawyer if:

    • You have been sued, or threatened with a lawsuit;
    • You have a dispute over legal documents such as a loan agreement, lease, or contract;
    • You need a divorce, help with custody or child support;
    • You are a victim of domestic abuse;
    • You disagree with someone about how much you owe them or how much they owe you;  
    • You disagree with a government agency decision about public benefits (cash assistance, AHCCCS, SNAP, SSI, etc.).
  • How do I find an attorney?

    First, see if you might qualify for free legal services from SALA.

    If you are looking for a private attorney, you may want to ask friends or family for recommendations. There are several lawyer referral programs in Arizona. Attorneys can advertise; the Arizona State Bar Association monitors advertisements.

  • What if I just have a simple question?

    Unfortunately, we must first determine if you are eligible for services before we can give legal advice.  There are other resources available for information, including the websites of different courts and www.AzLawHelp.org

Services Disclaimer

SALA’s ability to provide legal assistance in the areas listed above is subject to change based on the availability of staff and volunteers. While an applicant may be financially eligible for SALA’s services, SALA reserves the right to deny or limit services based on program resources and program priorities.

SALA assists people with civil legal problems only, and does not provide assistance with criminal matters in Arizona’s state court. For assistance with a criminal matter in state court, please contact the Pima County Public Defender’s office, the Pima County Bar Association or the public defender or bar association near you. If you or the legal problem is outside of SALA’s nine county service area, visit www.azlawhelp.org to find the local Arizona legal aid provider.