We provide free legal help to low-income North Carolinians in civil cases involving basic human needs like safety, shelter, income and more.
We do not handle criminal cases or civil cases on behalf of prisoners. We do not handle personal injury cases or traffic cases. We do not handle divorce, alimony, spousal support and equitable distribution cases except in extraordinary circumstances (learn about our free do-it-yourself divorce clinics). We do not handle immigration cases except those involving domestic violence and human trafficking. We do not handle new applications for government benefits.
Here is some information about the types of cases we do handle. We routinely reevaluate our case priorities to ensure we are providing the best services to our clients, so this list may not include every type of case we handle. If you have questions or think you need legal help, call our toll-free Helpline or submit an online application to see if we can help you. Read our non-discrimination policy.
We help our clients keep their essential property and assets
- Home, Transportation and More: We can help you retain ownership of your home, car or other form of vital transportation, and other essential property by fighting foreclosures and repossessions, and handling bankruptcies.
- Debt Collection and Unfair/Deceptive Trade Practices: We can protect you from illegal debt collections and abusive or deceptive trade practices.
- Advance Directives: We can help you create advanced directives -- wills, living wills, powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney -- to distribute your property after death and determine who can make financial and medical decisions on your behalf.
We help our clients gain and retain safe employment, and secure the wages and benefits they are entitled to
- Unemployment: We help our clients receive the unemployment compensation they deserve.
- Wage Theft: We help our clients collect the wages that are owed to them.
- Other: We help clients fight the denial or loss of occupational licenses.
We defend our clients from violence and sexual assault
- Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: We help secure and enforce court protective orders for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Child Custody: We help victims of domestic violence get and obtain custody of their children from their abusers. We help parents and other caretakers secure custody of children who are exposed to violence, sexual abuse and other danger.
We help our clients retain the benefits they are legally entitled to
- Denial, Termination, Reduction and Overpayment: We represent people in cases involving denial, termination, reduction or overpayment of benefits in many federal and state programs, including food stamps, Medicaid and Medicare, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI), veterans' benefits and more.
- Affordable Care Act: We are the leader of the NC Navigator Consortium, a group of health care, social service and legal aid organizations that provides free, in-person help to North Carolina consumers seeking to enroll in affordable health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov, the Health Insurance Marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act. Visit NCNavigator.net to learn more.
- Other: We also handle cases involving nursing home and assisted-living discharges, state-funded mental health services, child-care subsidies and other services from the N.C. Department of Social Services (for example: non-Medicaid transportation).
We help North Carolinians live in safe and affordable homes
- Public and Subsidized Housing: We handle cases involving evictions from or admissions to public and other federally subsidized housing complexes, and terminations of housing subsidies like Section 8 housing vouchers.
- Private Housing: We handle cases involving self-help evictions (landlords trying to evict without going through a legal process), habitability (landlords failing to keep a property safe and in good repair), and evictions from mobile home lot tenancies.
- Fair Housing: We handle cases involving housing discrimination based on race, disability, familial status and more. Learn about our Fair Housing Project.
- Community Economic Development: We help our clients improve their communities by providing limited services in cases involving the development of affordable housing, essential community facilities, education and job-readiness/job-opportunity programs.
- Human Trafficking: We help victims of human trafficking improve their immigration status, obtain permission to work legally in the U.S., obtain refugee certification and more.
- Immigration: We help immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other violence apply for immigration relief for themselves and their eligible family members. Learn about our Battered Immigrant Project.
- Education: We help children in public schools get the quality education they deserve. We handle cases involving school enrollment, discipline, special education and more. Learn about our Advocates for Children's Services project.
- Expunction: We help our clients expunge old, low-level marks on their criminal records to overcome barriers to employment, housing and more.
- Migrant Farmworkers: We protect migrant farmworkers' legal right to live and work safely by addressing housing issues, enforcing employment contracts, handling immigration cases and providing orientation and education. Learn about our Farmworker Unit.
- Native Americans: We help Native Americans in cases involving federal recognition, domestic violence, adoption, housing, and in cases in the Tribal Court system.
- Natural Disasters: We help victims of natural disasters with problems related to housing, benefits, consumer issues, insurance and more. Visit our Hurricane Matthew page.
- Veterans: We help military veterans with cases involving disability compensation, discharge upgrades, VA overpayments and pension benefits. Learn more about our Veterans Law Project.