EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. – Illinois veterans, active-duty service members, reservists, and their dependents will now have access to a new legal hotline thanks to legislation backed by state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, which will provide assistance in matters including consumer, housing and family law.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have so many brave men and women who have protected and served our nation and I think it’s important to have their back after they return home,” Burke said. “This free legal assistance hotline will be able to help our service members, veterans and their families protect their legal rights.”
The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) was created by legislation supported by Burke in 2015. Under House Bill 3933, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by the Illinois State Bar Association and Chicago Bar Association, is tasked with administering a pilot program, launched this month, that provides free civil legal aid to veterans and active duty military personnel.
IL-AFLAN operates a statewide hotline that is staffed by attorneys from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to assist veterans with discharge upgrades, benefits appeals and civil legal problems such as family, housing and consumer issues. Veterans can call the hotline at 855-452-3526 or 855-IL-AFLAN. Former and active duty military members with an income below 80 percent of the Chicago area median income are eligible for services. For a family of four, this translates into $63,200 annually.
“No veteran should ever be unable to have access to legal advice, because they cannot afford an attorney,” Burke said. “We have a duty to make sure those who served in our nation’s armed services have the chance to enjoy the freedoms they fought so hard to protect and I encourage any veteran who needs consumer legal services to use this hotline.”