Services Provided

Practice Area
All the areas we have expertise in

Housing

Florida Rural Legal Services helps our clients with civil cases and questions regarding housing.

Our lawyers and staff can educate you about your rights as tenants, negotiating settlements on your behalf, and providing representation in court. The services we provide depend on each person’s unique needs.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES

  • Landlord who shut utilities off or change the locks without court authorization
  • Public Housing/Subsidized Housing/Low Income Tax Credit Property Issues
  • Mortgage Foreclosure/Homeowner’s Association/Condo Association Foreclosure
  • Breaking the Lease/Termination of Tenancy by the Tenant
  • Terminations of Tenancy
  • Landlord refusing to make repairs
  • Tenant in foreclosed rentals
  • Evictions

 

Family Law

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Our lawyers and staff cover many areas of family law, including focusing on helping domestic violence victims and survivors leave abusive relationships.

Florida Rural Legal Services educates our clients about their rights, negotiates settlements on their behalf, and provides representation in court. The services we provide depend on each person’s unique needs.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES
  • Domestic Violence Injunctions
  • Paternity
  • Temporary Custody
  • Guardianship of Minors
  • Divorce –where the other spouse is represented by an Attorney, minor children are involved or there is domestic violence.
  • Adoption of Minor Children
  • Emergency Pick-Up Motions- when the minor child is being withheld from the legal guardian or parent.

Public Benefits

Florida Rural Legal Services offers legal services to help low-income individuals and families get the public benefits that they are eligible

If you need help with applying for government benefits or have been denied benefits, our lawyers and staff may be able to assist you.

We provide representation to eligible clients, working with them in negotiations with government agencies, administrative hearings or appeals in court.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES
  • Unemployment Compensation Denials
  • Social Security-SSA/SSI/SSI Denial of Application/Terminations/Overpayments
  • Food Stamps- Denial of Application/Terminations/Overpayments
  • TANF (Welfare)-Denial of Application/Terminations/Overpayments
  • Veteran’s Benefits- Denial of Application/Terminations/Overpayments
  • Medicaid or Medical Needy Coverage- Denials and Terminations
  • Medicare Coverage issues
  • Medicaid Trusts
  • Med Waiver and/or I Budget Benefit Denials
  • FEMA Benefits-Denial/Overpayment
  • Pension/Insurance Policy Claims

Consumer Rights

Florida Rural Legal Services can help you protect your consumer rights involving purchases, income, property, contracts, loans, and debts.

Our lawyers and staff protect consumers from fraud, deceptive debt collections, and unfair credit reporting.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES
  • Garnishment
  • Collections-Consumer Credit
  • Collections-Medical Debts
  • Automobile Repossession
  • Chapter 13 /Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Unfair Debt Collection Practices
  • Student Loan Issues
  • Identity Theft
  • Credit Report Issues

Individual Rights

Florida Rural Legal Services uses litigation and advocacy to fight discrimination and other individual rights, as part of our efforts to promote racial, social, and economic justice for Floridians in the 13 counties that we serve.

The services we provide depend on each person’s unique needs.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES
  • Expungement/Sealing of Criminal Records
  • Name Change
  • Driver’s License Restoration
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Human Rights/Disability Rights
  • Human Trafficking

Elder Law

Through a grant from the Area Agency on Aging, Florida Rural Legal Services provides a wide-range of free civil legal advice and representation to seniors ages 60 and over in the 12 of 13 counties that we serve in Florida.

Our lawyers and staff handle many different legal issues for seniors, including consumer problems, family matters, elder abuse, access to healthcare, public benefits issues, housing problems and future planning (wills, living wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, Medicaid planning, and more).

We can arrange home visits if you are in a hospital or a nursing home, or if you are home bound. In addition, our staff will try to provide information and referrals for legal problems that we do not offer services for.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES
  • Probate
  • Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Healthcare Surrogate forms
  • Revocation of Power of Attorney
  • Nursing Home Issues
  • Human Rights/Disability Rights
  • Exploitation of the Elderly

Farmworkers

Florida Rural Legal Services is committed to providing high-quality civil legal services to address the special legal needs of migrant and seasonal farmworkers throughout Florida.

Our lawyers and staff represent individual farmworkers and their families, advising them about their legal rights and helping them get what the law requires. These services include helping workers settle wage claims, as well as improve and/or maintain farmworker housing, unemployment compensation, and other issues that affect the day-to-day lives of farmworkers in Florida.

 

FRLS HELPS INDIVIDUALS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES

  • 1-90 Forms
  • T-Visas
  • U-Visa
  • N-400 forms when naturalization is required for application for SSI.
  • 1-130 petitions for immediate family members including parents.
  • Unaccompanied Minor who is victim of human trafficking or related crime to aid in getting lawful status

Education

Florida Rural Legal Services advocates on behalf of low-income children and disabled children who experience unmet needs in their educational systems.

Our lawyers and staff work with families to ensure the right of their children to receive an education, and to improve educational opportunities for children with disabilities who require additional services and benefits.

 

FRLS HELPS WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES
  • Individual Exceptional Student Education or Section 504 Plans
  • Expulsions and excessive disciplinary issues-if the child is disabled including behavioral
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • Homeless Students

Drive to Work

Florida Rural Legal Services Launches Drive to Work Initiative to Help Poor Residents Whose Driver Licenses Were Suspended or Revoked

LAKELAND, Fla. – February 28, 2018 – Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS) has started a new initiative to help low-income residents of South Central Florida get their driver licenses restored after they were suspended or revoked simply because they were too poor to pay financial obligations to the courts.

FRLS’s new Drive to Work Project is focusing on providing education, advice, direct representation in assisting individuals deprived of lawful transportation needed to get to and from work, medical appointments, care for sick or disabled family members, and take their children to after-school activities.

The project is funded by a  grant from Florida Bar Foundation and will pay for two full-time attorneys and one part-time legal professional who will work with low-income residents  and individuals touched by the criminal justice system residing in the 10th and 19th Judicial circuit  including Polk, Highlands, Hardee, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties

Close to 91,000 Florida driver licenses were suspended for failure to pay court-ordered financial obligations in 2015-2016 alone. Florida laws suspending or revoking driver licenses for failure to pay costs and fines has a devastating impact on people with little or no ability to pay.

Through the Drive to Work Project, FRLS will work to improve economic opportunities by assisting people in obtaining affordable payment plans which will allow them to have their driver’s license restored.

FRLS will partner on the project with Southern Legal Counsel in Gainesville, with its 40 years of experience working to make positive, systemic change to achieve social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.

Tax Assistance

What We Do

The Florida Rural Legal Services Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic is a free legal-aid clinic that provides legal services to low-income taxpayers who are in controversy with the Internal Revenue Service and educational services relating to tax matters to those for whom English is a second language. We will arrange to meet with clients at other times on an as-needed basis. The Tax Clinic also provides important tax-related legal services to indigent Florida taxpayers.

Roberto Suarez Clinic Director can be reach at Roberto.Suarez@frls.org or at ext. 4118

Qualifying for Help

1) You have a Federal Tax issue
2) You satisfy the Tax Clinic’s low-income requirements or English is your second language
3) The amount in controversy is less than$50,000 per tax year

About the Taxpayer Clinic and its Mission

The Tax Clinic is supported by funding it receives from a variety of sources, including the IRS. This program is approved by the State Bar of Florida as an entity eligible to receive pro bono contributions from attorneys. The Clinic is grateful for the support it has re-ceived in the past, and looks for-ward to receiving additional fund-ing from new donors to expand its critical services.

Debt Management Counseling

Legal Services are often not the main solution to your financial problems.

In an effort to raise awareness about assistance, training, and counseling to those who are suffering financially – Florida Rural Legal Services has partnered with Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp (DMCC). As a non-profit organization the DMCC is able to counsel you on how to improve your credit, create a budget, and navigate a variety of complex financial decisions such as purchasing a home as new home buyer.

A few of the free services provided:

  • Budget Counseling
  • Student Loan Counseling
  • Payday Loan Deferments
  • Online Financial Literacy Programs

FRLS applicants, clients and staff are also entitled to a 20% to 50% discount on the following

  • Identity Protection and Credit Monitoring
  • Student Loan Repayment Assistance
  • Bankruptcy Education Certificates

“DMCC is a nonprofit credit counseling organization committed to educating consumers on financial issues and providing personal assistance to consumers who have become overextended with debt. Our certified credit counselors provide personal assistance through free budget counseling, housing counseling and debt management plans to lower credit card interest rates and monthly payments.”