Is Bay Area Legal Services open? Can I still get help?

Yes, we are still open! But all offices closed to the public and no walk-ins.

No office appointments for new clients. Services will be provided by phone.

Apply by phone Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or apply online anytime.

Language interpreters are available to you at no cost.

Legal Aid Line

Our service area includes Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. To apply for services, call our Legal Aid Line, (800) 625-2257, Monday-Friday, 9.a.m.-4:30 p.m., or apply online anytime.

Senior Legal Helpline

The Senior Legal Helpline is available to eligible Florida residents aged 60 and older. To apply for services, call (888) 895-7873, Monday-Friday, 9.a.m.-4:30 p.m., or apply online anytime.

Veterans Legal Helpline

The Veterans Legal Helpline is available to eligible veterans living in Florida. To apply for services, call (866) 486-6161, Monday-Friday, 9.a.m.-4:30 p.m., or apply online anytime.

I am already a client. Can I come into the office to meet with my attorney?

Some existing clients may come into the office if services cannot be provided by phone.

Before a client comes into the office, they must:

  1. Confirm their appointment with their attorney
  2. Meet health guidelines stated by their attorney

Are the Courts closed? What Clerk services are available?

All Tampa Bay area Courts are making changes in response to COVID-19. Please visit the Court’s website for more information.

Prepare for Going to Court Online (Remote Hearings)

Representing Yourself and Using Remote Appearance Technology with the Courts
Dos and don'ts for going to court online.

Management of Evidence in Remote Hearings in Civil and Family Cases
Best practices for remote evidentiary hearings, best practices for witnesses, civil and family essential and non-essential proceedings, and other resources.

Medicare, Social Security, and Florida Department of Children & Families

Medicare: Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs.

  • Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead, you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
  • At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits. Check with your plan about your coverage and costs.

Social Security: Social Security offices are closed for in-person services. Social Security will remain open for business online and by telephone.

Department of Children & Families: DCF has closed its storefronts and lobbies and is asking people to seek services online or by phone. Customers may go online, where customers may check the statuses, make changes or apply for benefits. Customers who need to conduct an interview prior to receiving benefits may call (850) 300-4323, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Veterans Services

Do you have an appeal pending with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)?

  • Due to COVID-19, BVA is offering tele-hearings, and they have also resumed Central Office hearings. Travel board hearings are still suspended at this time. For more information, read the BVA Virtual Hearing Fact Sheet.
  • If you have a pending appeal with BVA and you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you can file for advancement on the docket (AOD). Supporting documentation is required.
  • At this time, BVA will accept typed signatures on Notices of Disagreement (VA Form 10182), instead of signed ink signatures.
  • If you are worried you will be late in filing a Notice of Disagreement or in submitting a substantive appeal, note that BVA will review requests for good cause to extend deadlines in individual cases. You will need to request your extension in writing.

This guidance is subject to change as additional guidance is received concerning the national state of emergency.

Did you know that you can connect with your VA care team for health appointments using video?

  • You can use VA Video Connect to reach your care team without leaving your home. VA Video Connect works with your camera on your phone, computer, or tablet.

Resources for Nonprofit Organizations and Small Businesses

The Judge Don Castor Community Law Center cares about you, our local nonprofits, and small businesses. At this time of crisis, we want to help you find the trustworthy resources you need to help your business weather this storm. We will regularly update the information on this site by sharing local, regional, and national links covering a variety of COVID-19 issues. Read updates »

Free consultation from Lawyer Referral Service

The Hillsborough County Bar Association's (HCBA) Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS) is waiving its standard $35 fee. Get a 30-minute legal consultation for free.

Contact HCBA LRIS: (813) 221-7780

More COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") resources and information

Visit the website links below for more help.

Apply for Services

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

How do I apply? Am I eligible?

Bay Area Legal Services

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

Statewide Legal Helplines

If you live or have a case in Florida, we may be able to help.