In addition to Iowa Legal Aid’s general program services, persons who contact Iowa Legal Aid for assistance benefit from its many special projects, including:
Started in 1998, Iowa Legal Aid’s Legal Hotline for Older Iowans is a popular prevention and early intervention program that provides free legal advice, brief services and referrals to Iowans who are 60 or older about most non-criminal legal issues. The legal assistance provided by the Legal Hotline helps clients avoid being victimized by caretakers, family members, or unscrupulous people who would deprive them of their personal, emotional, and financial rights and resources. Other advice helps clients properly plan their affairs so they can avoid actions that would adversely affect their ability to live independently. The Hotline also tries to ensure that clients receive all of the public benefits to which they are entitled, thereby helping to improve their health care, safety and economic well-being. These services are often a critical factor in helping older Iowans remain independent and in their own homes.
The Iowa Legal Aid Health and Law Project was initiated in 2006 as the first medical-legal partnership in Iowa. The premise of the Health and Law Project is to “treat health maladies with a legal cure” or more aptly to reduce health disparities by advocating for clients in order to obtain conditions and environments that lead to positive health outcomes. The Project brings about better health outcomes through the following activities:
- Addresses the social determinants that are negatively impacting the health of low-income patients.
- Builds health provider’s capacity through an integrated model of training, technical assistance, consultation and referral.
- Supports early intervention and prevention strategies for legal needs.
The LITC helps low-income taxpayers with tax rights and responsibilities by assisting with tax problems. Some common problems might be:
- The IRS says I claimed the Earned Income Credit and I shouldn’t have.
- My refund was seized for my husband’s student loan debt.
- I haven’t filed taxes for awhile. What will happen to me?
- My spouse put incorrect information on our return or didn’t pay the bill and now I am getting letters from the IRS.
- Somebody used my social security number and now the IRS says I didn’t pay enough taxes.
Iowa Legal Aid’s Veterans Project assists veterans and their families with VA compensation and pension claims, overpayments, discharge upgrades and issues involving the VA medical center. Iowa Legal Aid also provides a full-range of civil legal aid to veterans, including family law issues (divorce, child support, custody), homelessness prevention, stopping unlawful garnishments and repossessions, and assisting with Medicaid issues.
The goal of the Youth Link Project is to improve the lives of at-risk youth through legal education and legal representation that will address current legal needs and prevent future legal entanglements. The aim is to provide young people preparing to enter adulthood, or who have recently entered adulthood, with access to information and resources that will give them the knowledge and confidence to make positive choices that will lead to safe, stable and productive futures.
Disaster Relief Project: Part of a network of agencies in Cedar Rapids that are working together to ensure that flood victims all the services they need to recover.
Foreclosure Defense Project: Helps low- and moderate-income Iowans facing forfeiture or foreclosure remain in their homes.
Volunteer Lawyers Project: An alternative source of legal representation for clients by attorneys who accept specific referrals from Iowa Legal Aid and provide their services on a pro bono (free of charge) basis.