I am very pleased to report that the FY 2018 omnibus appropriations legislation which will fund the federal government through September 30, 2018, includes $410 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), an increase of $25 million from LSC’s funding level for the past two fiscal years and the highest nationwide appropriation since 2010. This is a very significant increase reflecting strong bipartisan support. In the House of Representatives, a total of 181 House members signed a letter in support of funding for LSC for FY 2019, the highest number of signers in LSC’s history! We acknowledge LSC’s strong leadership in taking an active role to successfully educate Congress about our work.
On the state level, the final budget included full funding for the Disability Advocacy Program (DAP) which offers legal services to disabled New Yorkers who have been denied federal disability benefits. Also included in the state budget was a significant increase in dedicated funding for our Veterans Right Project which was secured thanks to the leadership of Senator Thomas D. Croci and Senator Phil Boyle. New York continues to be the national leader in providing access to justice in civil matters, inspiring other states to invest more resources into providing low income individuals access to lawyers on civil matters. Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, Governor Cuomo, and our state Legislative Leaders came through to continue the $100 million allocation of funds for the provision of civil legal aid across New York State. Their steadfast support of civil legal services and restoration of the funding for the Legal Services Assistance Fund ensures that we will continue to provide free civil legal assistance in areas involving the “essentials of life” to our Long Island community.