Simpler eligibility test means faster service for LAO clients
Posted on: Thursday, September 29, 2011
Since launching its Simplified Financial Eligibility Test (SFET) in February 2011, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has been able to help more than 42,000 Ontarians move forward with their legal matters more quickly.
LAO introduced its new version of the test province-wide earlier this year as a faster, simpler way to determine if a client is financially eligible for a legal aid certificate. Unlike the previous needs-based test, which could be time-consuming and required clients to provide documentation, the simplified test is based on income and uses the size of the applicant’s family unit to determine eligibility, from a single individual up to families of five or more.
Clients and staff across the province are finding the new test faster and easier to use. Financial eligibility information is available online and at all LAO service points, allowing clients and LAO staff to quickly determine eligibility for a legal aid certificate.
LAO continues to monitor SFET criteria to ensure that low-income Ontarians seeking assistance with their legal matter can receive the help they need. In April, LAO further refined the SFET by adding a new category for single clients who are classified as boarders.
The simplified test supports LAO’s ongoing strategy to reduce administrative costs, improve legal aid services and expand access for clients.
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