Victoria Legal Aid's (VLA) services are now available to more low income earners following a lift in the threshold for qualification.
VLA yesterday (19 January) announced reforms allowing Victorians who have equity of up to $300,000 in their home to apply for support through the organisation. Prior to the reforms, those with more than $100,000 equity in their home were automatically refused assistance.
"Lifting the home equity threshold will especially help low income earners and people who may be struggling to pay off their mortgage on the back of rising house prices," said Bevan Warner, managing director of VLA.
Warner added that some people will still be required to contribute to the cost of their legal assistance, depending on their financial situation.
"The increased likelihood of obtaining assistance will see more people get help from a lawyer to reach agreement, prepare legal documents and/or represent them in court in family, criminal and civil matters," he said.
It is estimated that the reforms, which will cost around $1.1 million annually, will assist up to 500 more people this year. Last financial year, VLA provided 87,000 people with legal advice or court representation.