Website offers free legal help to low-income Mississippians
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Low-income Mississippians have a new way to find legal assistance.
Ms.freelegalanswers.org offers answers to legal questions provided by volunteer attorneys who will give advice on matters such as divorce, child support, adoption, name change, domestic violence, bankruptcy, consumer issues, education, employment, housing, workers’ compensation, wills and estate planning.
The website will not answer criminal law questions.
The volunteer attorneys will give brief, basic legal advice to help people determine whether they have a legal issue and inform them of how to proceed, according to Gayla Carpenter Sales, state administrator for Mississippi Free Legal Answers and executive director of Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project. Volunteer attorneys will not take action or represent users in court.
All communication with volunteer attorneys is done through the website anonymously to ensure client privacy.
To get started with the website, people qualifying for assistance can sign up on the website and post a question privately. The user will receive an email when a volunteer attorney responds to the question.
Responses may take a few days. The attorney may ask for more information and users can ask follow up questions.
Qualifications for the website are based on income and include:
- Annual household income below 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines; for example, an individual income of less than $24,980, an income of $33,820 for a two-person household and $51,500 for a family of four.
- Having less than $5,000 in assets.
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Must not be incarcerated.
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