Illinois hotline connects vets, active service members to legal help

Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 3:54 PM CST
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PEORIA (25News Now) - The legal system can be complicated and tough for the average person to navigate. One Illinois initiative makes a one-stop shop for those who served the country and now need some help.

Illinois Armed Forces Legal Action Network is a hotline catered towards low-income veterans, active service members, the National Guard, the Army Reserve, and their spouses and children. The hotline assists with civil issues. Their most common requests are for help with family court, housing, settling debt, or accessing military benefits, though they aren’t limited to those issues.

Zach Zarnow, project manager for IL-AFLAN, said the hotline helped 23,000 people since it was first created through a state law in 2013. They believe there has been $12 million in monetary benefit to those helped by saving them from evictions, foreclosures, debt, and more.

“This is hard enough to navigate on their own and Veterans served our country so let’s create something to help them. It’s an easy way to navigate a system that can otherwise be relatively complicated,” Zarnow said.

The hotline is free. If the hotline can’t help the person, they can get directed to low-cost legal aid partners across Illinois. Locally, Prairie State Legal Services is a partner with IL-AFLAN.

Callers must have an income at or less than 300% of the federal poverty level. For a four-person household that’s about $90,000 per year or less.

The number is 855-452-3526 with hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Zarnow recommends callers have pertinent legal documents on hand, such as a lease if the legal question is related to their housing.