Legal Aid Chicago provides free civil legal representation to residents of Chicago and Suburban Cook County (statewide for migrant and human trafficking) who have limited income or special legal needs in the following areas:

Family & Safety

Legal Aid Chicago focuses on cases where personal safety and financial stability are at risk, including:

  • Orders of Protection and No Contact Orders for victims of domestic or sexual violence and elder abuse
  • Custody and Divorce (but not simple, uncontested divorce)
  • Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Investigations of Parents and Caregivers
  • Special Education and School Discipline

House & Apartment

Legal Aid Chicago focuses on cases that protect safe and affordable housing for tenants and homeowners, including:

  • Preventing eviction or termination from subsidized housing and the Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Challenging discrimination and enforcing rights for tenants in subsidized housing or with special legal needs, such as domestic violence victims
  • Foreclosure defense and other protections for homeowners
  • Maintaining and restoring essential utility services (gas, electric, water)
  • Transfer on Death Instruments to pass a home to a designated beneficiary

Money & Debt

Legal Aid Chicago focuses on cases that protect income and assets from unfair collections and fraud, including:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Student loans
  • Car title and payday loans
  • Unfair debt collection
  • Consumer fraud
  • Driver’s license restoration for debt-related suspension
  • Financial exploitation of older adults
  • Power of attorney for financial/property
  • Tax disputes with IRS, including innocent spouse relief, identity theft, and collections

Work & Employment Rights

Legal Aid Chicago focuses on protecting the rights and benefits of workers and reducing barriers to employment, including:

  • Unemployment Insurance benefits
  • Wage claims
  • Employment discrimination, and enforcement of employee protections such as FMLA (family medical leave) and VESSA (for victims of domestic or sexual violence),
  • Expungement and sealing of adult and juvenile criminal records
  • The legal needs of migrant agricultural and landscape workers throughout Illinois
  • Comprehensive services for victims of human trafficking throughout Illinois
  • Legal Aid Chicago does not handle workers’ compensation cases

Health, Disability, and Basic Needs

Legal Aid Chicago focuses on accessing and protecting benefits for basic human needs, including:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medical Assistance (Medicaid, Medicare)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Crime Victims Compensation from the State of Illinois
  • Rights of long term care residents in suburban Cook and Lake County
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Wills


  • Legal Aid Chicago focuses on obtaining protected status for victims of crime, including U-visa, VAWA (for victims of domestic violence), and T-visa (for victims of human trafficking).

Am I eligible for Legal Aid Chicago Services?