State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, is highlighting a new legal assistance hotline which can help Illinois veterans, active-duty service members, reservists, and their dependents with matters including consumer, housing and family law.
“As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, I was taught the importance of being there for our brothers and sisters in uniform, and this practice should not stop once a service member comes home,” Kifowit said. “Men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform and protected our rights should never be denied access to legal services simply because they lack the money.”
The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) was created by legislation supported by Kifowit in 2015. Under House Bill 3933, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, a nonprofit 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.
“There are many situations where our returning service members and veterans need access to affordable legal resources and that is why I supported legislation creating a free hotline for our brave warriors to use to get the help they need,” Kifowit said. “I believe by helping our veterans when they are in need, we are doing our part to repay them for sacrificing so much to defend our freedoms.”