Civil legal aid breaks the cycle of poverty, benefits taxpayers

Civil legal aid has a far-reaching economic impact in Florida.
Op-Ed (Florida)

Darryl Bloodworth
Orlando Sentinel
September 18, 2015

Tags: Access to Justice, Benefits of Legal Aid: Economic

Organizations mentioned/involved: Florida Bar Foundation, Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association (Florida)


By keeping Floridians in their homes, securing their livelihoods and protecting their rights to health-care, veterans’ and other benefits, legal aid not only helps break the cycle of poverty, but also provides important return on investment for taxpayers and businesses, whose employees are more productive when they are not facing often-complex legal issues on their own.

The economic impact of civil legal assistance in Florida is well documented. Florida TaxWatch found in 2010 that legal aid produces a return of $4.78 on every dollar spent on civil legal assistance in our state.

More recently, The Florida Bar Foundation’s 30 civil legal-aid grantees throughout Florida documented direct dollar benefits to clients totaling more than $89 million in 2013 from sources including child support and federal programs such as Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, which is designed to provide food, shelter and medical care to elderly and disabled people.