The Nebraska Lawyers Trust Account Foundation has given over $6,426,500 since 1984 of IOLTA funds to help provide access to legal representation to Nebraskans who meet the federal poverty guidelines. Legal Aid of Nebraska, the sole grantee of NLTAF has provided several case stories.

Low Income Tax Clinic: Becca, a Hispanic women and her husband recently had their application for citizenship approved, complete with Social Security numbers. While attending a Low Income Tax Clinic, provided by Legal Aid of Nebraska, they learned that since they had been paying taxes using a TIN (Tax Identification Number) they were now eligible to file amended tax returns and could receive an Earned Income Tax Credit. By filing, Becca and her spouse received thousands of dollars that helped them provide for their family and obtain housing that gave them a home in which they could celebrate their new citizenship.

Domestic Violence: Danielle was moved away from her family in Omaha and isolated in North Carolina by her abusive husband. She tells of only having a cell phone that she was not allowed to touch without his permission. He kept the keys to their only car and controlled the money. She says, “ He had control of everything; my life, my social security number, I didn’t know he knew as much about me as he did.” In addition to control, there were the beatings. Beatings occurred even while she was pregnant and in front of the other children. With the help of her family in Omaha, Danielle and her children secretly flew back to Omaha where she contacted Legal Aid. Danielle says, “Legal Aid services were really sincere about what happened, and they knew what I went through.” With the help of Legal Aid, Danielle got a divorce. Today she has a safe home, her children in school and a career that gives her a brighter future.

Self-sufficiency: John contacted Legal Aid when a judgment creditor started taking money from his checking account even though he is disabled and his only income is from SSI (Social Security Supplemental Income). He wanted help to get his money back. We did not have an attorney available to provide the extended service he requested; however, the AccessLine attorneys gave him extensive advice on arguments he needed to make in court, witnesses to take, and documents to present as evidence. John called two weeks later, right after his court appearance, to tell us he had won his case. He got his money back and wanted to thank the AccessLine for their assistance in providing him with the tools he needed to help himself.

(Names were changed to protect the identities of the aforementioned individuals.)