Deaf / Hard of Hearing
What is Legal Aid?
Providing Effective Communication for Clients who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf/Blind:
A Handbook for Florida Attorneys
The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Legal Advocacy Program of JALA is designated to educate, advocate and litigate on behalf of, and to empower deaf and hard of hearing people in Northeast Florida. The program began in July 2006, and is housed in Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida.
How does this program help deaf/hard of hearing people? We help in three main ways; Direct Legal Advocacy, Education and Collaboration.
Direct Legal Advocacy: We can provide an attorney who is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) to assist with the following legal problems:
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance- This occurs when you are not provided an interpreter, or an assistive listening device (ALD) at certain government locations or private businesses (e.g. police departments, social security offices, court houses, hotels). We can also assist you if you have been denied services, segregated or been treated differently because you are Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
Employment Discrimination can occur in many ways. It often occurs when you have been denied a job because you are Deaf/Hard or Hearing, or if interpreters/ALD's were not provided at work, or for job interviews when required by law. You can be discriminated against by being treating differently at work because of your deafness or hearing loss, namely being passed over for job promotion, reassignment or pay raises. We also provide assistance with Unemployment Compensation, Workers Compensation issues, and can help you if you believe your employer is not paying you the legal amount you should be paid.
Public Assistance- We can advise you if you’re SSDI, SSI, TANF or Food Stamp benefits have been terminated, or if you have received notice of an overpayment or other problem.
We also help with the following legal problems: Landlord/Tenant issues, Domestic Violence, Divorce (but only if domestic violence is involved), problems with foreclosure on homes, creditor issues, bankruptcy, Medicaid/Medicare and housing. We assist persons living with AIDS or HIV through the Ryan White Project, and individuals who have recently been released from jail and need assistance transitioning back into the community.
JALA provides regional, limited education to attorneys, court personnel, service providers, government agencies, and businesses that provide services to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community about Federal and State laws which mandate service accessibility.
JALA strives to work with established agencies, and other service providers to assist them in creating, and maintaining accessible services to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community.
What area does JALA’s Deaf/Hard of Hearing Legal Advocacy program serve directly? JALA serves the 4 counties of: Nassau, Duval, St. Johns and Clay. We also provide referral services to other attorneys who can assist you in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Union.
How much do the services cost? We generally provide free services to people who meet the federal income poverty standards, and provide referral to Deaf/Hard of Hearing people who earn too much money for us to help them directly. We encourage you to contact us to see if you qualify for free assistance.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Florida Association of the Deaf
Florida Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
National Association of the Deaf
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
How do you contact us? Phone (904) 356-8371. (IF YOU HAVE A LEGAL ISSUE OR QUESTION PLEASE CALL 904-356-8371. LEGAL AID DOES NOT ANSWER LEGAL QUESTIONS BY WAY OF EMAIL)