“Brenda” (not her real name) called MLSA’s Helpline for help with a tricky problem. She had recently gotten power of attorney over a relative named “John” and had learned that he had likely not paid any taxes for years. She didn’t know what her options were and feared that he owed a large sum to the IRS. The Intake Specialist who answered the phone knew Brenda needed legal help and worked with MLSA’s LITC Tax Attorney to set up a conference call between Brenda, John, and the attorney. Together, they figured out how much John owed the IRS – luckily, it turned out to be only a small amount. The Intake Specialist also helped John find free tax assistance that would make it easier for both John and Brenda to stay on top of his taxes each year. After the call with the attorney was over, John and Brenda both breathed a sigh of relief knowing they now had a better handle on his finances.
The HelpLine is the gateway to MLSA’s services, including legal information and resources, advice, clinics, and representation. MLSA’s trained Intake Specialists and AmeriCorps Justice for Montanans members help callers apply for services at MLSA and assess callers’ legal problems to determine what type of assistance they need. Callers may be assigned an MLSA attorney, placed with a pro bono volunteer attorney, referred to other social services organizations, or directed to free self-help legal resources available online.