What to Expect

Intake Hours

Our Helpline is open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We do our best to answer calls live, but you may need to leave a message on our confidential voicemail system. In that case, we will call you back as soon as we can; usually within 2 business days. If you are unable to call us during intake hours, please e-mail us at staff@phlp.org and we'll make arrangements to connect with you. 

Eligibility

PHLP provides free legal services to primarily low-income individuals and families, persons with disabilities, and seniors. You must live in Pennsylvania to get help from us.

We do not have an income limit to qualify for our services, and our services are free regardless of your income.  However, we need to ask about your income in order to assign our time to one of the several funding sources that enable us to provide free legal assistance. In many cases, we also need your income information so we can determine your eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid.

We serve all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

As a statewide organization, PHLP maintains offices in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. We provide free legal services to individuals from all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. For this reason, a majority of our work is telephone-based; you will speak with an attorney or paralegal mostly over the phone rather than meeting in person. 

When you contact us:

  • Give us a short summary of the problem you need help with. Let us know if it is urgent!

  • Tell us if you received paperwork from the Department of Human Services, the County Assistance Office, and/or your Medicaid insurance company, such as a denial letter or Grievance/Hearing scheduling notice, as well as the date(s) on those notices.

  • Keep all relevant documents close by, so we can talk about them and help you as quickly as possible. You may be asked to to e-mail, fax, or mail documents to us in order for us to help you.

  • Let us know if you have a pending appeal with a hearing or grievance date already scheduled.

Intake interview & information gathering

Client intake and communication is done primarily through the phone. If you need an accomodation, please let us know! Interpreter services are available; see below for more information about how we communicate with individuals using LanguageLine.

Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, including but not limited to your name, date of birth, social security number, address, phone number, email, race, gender identity, names and birthdates of your family members, income information, health issues, and health insurance information. 

We may need more information before we can decide if or how we can help you. We may also ask you to send us copies of your documents by e-mail, fax, or mail.  As noted above, we'll ask you specific questions about yourself. This information is used to better serve you and others. For instance, we ask for demographic information so that we can ensure we are serving our diverse community. 

What kind of legal services does PHLP provide?

If your issue is something we can help you with, we will connect you with a member of our legal staff who will do their best to get back to you within two (2) business days to further discuss the matter.  All serivces are strictly confidential. Nothing you tell us will be shared with anyone outside of our organization unless you give us express permission to do so.

Depending on the type of issue or problem you call us about as well as our capacity, we may:

  • Provide you with legal advice or counseling to help you with the next steps in your case;
  • Provide brief or limited services (i.e. assist you with drafting a letter, or making a call to the County or your Health Plan with you or on your behalf); or 
  • Represent you in your legal proceeding (i.e. Grievance or Fair Hearing).
     

If your issue is outside our area of expertise, we will do our best to provide you with high quality referrals. Refer to the Get Legal Help page for a list of common referral organizations.

Interpreter Services

If you speak a language other than English, PHLP provides telephone-based interpreter services at no charge through LanguageLine. Call the Helpline at 1-800-274-3258 and leave a message in your preferred language. We will call you back with an interpreter on the line. For a full list of languages available through telephone-based interpreter services, click here.

If you have a complaint 

Click here to review PHLP's complaint/grievance policy, which is available to all applicants and clients. 

Helpline intake hours: Mon, Wed, Fri 8am-8pm

Looking for self-help materials?