Eligibility for assistance through SCLS depends on your income and assets and the type of legal problem you have. We do not handle criminal cases.
You can apply for our services by calling out statewide intake office (LATIS) at 1-888-346-5592 (toll free) or 803-744-9430 (Columbia area). You can call the intake line from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Please note, we do not give legal advice over the phone. If your primary language is something other than English or Spanish, call your local SCLS office (see locations here).
You can also apply for services using our online application.
When applying for our services, we will ask you questions about your income and the type of legal problem you need help with in order to determine if you are eligible for our help. Generally, to be eligible for our services, your household income may not exceed 125% of the Federal poverty level. The Federal poverty guidelines change every year. To learn more about our income guidelines and to see the 2018 poverty guidelines click here. There is also an asset (money in bank accounts, property, etc.) limit. Some grants allow us to represent clients outside these financial limitations. The problem you have must be within the list of problems with which we can help.
SCLS does not charge a fee for attorney’s services to eligible clients whose cases are accepted. Clients are usually asked to pay expenses such as filing fees, service fees, Guardian ad Litem fees and charges for obtaining medical and other records from providers.
In order to make sure that there is no conflict of interest, during your application, we will ask you for information about the person, business or agency with whom you are having a problem.
If calling our intake office, you should not call on behalf of another person. If you are calling on behalf of another person, spouse, or family member, we will determine whether we can speak with you or whether we need to speak directly with the person on whose behalf you are calling.
Due to limited resources, we are unable to accept everyone’s case. However if your case is accepted, there are different levels of assistance you may receive: Counsel and Advice, some Brief Assistance, or more Extended Representation. If we are not able to accept your case, we may refer you to another agency for further assistance. When giving out a referral, our staff tries to make the best referral possible. However, we cannot guarantee that the agency or program you are referred to will be able to help you.
You can see the complete list of the types of cases we handle below.
- Elder Law
- Income Maintenance/Public Benefits