American Samoa

American Samoa: Govt. Togiola offers free Post-Disaster Legal Aid service to families with annual income of no more than $15,000

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(UTULEI) - Governor Togiola Tulafono has announced the availability of attorneys employed at the Office of the Governor to assist members of the community affected by the earthquake and tsunami in their disaster-related claims for benefits through federal and local government offices.

In a General Memorandum dated December 11, 2009, Governor Togiola said the free legal assistance from the Post-Disaster Legal Aid Team is only for families whose annual income does not exceed $15,000. Cases that are determined to be "fee-generating" will be referred to the American Samoa Bar Association (ASBA) attorneys that are in private practice.

"It is my hope the Post-Disaster Legal Aid Team will be able to work in concert and in coordination with ASBA Disaster Legal Services (DSL) and will be able to augment, support and extend these ongoing efforts so that qualified families that need legal services will be able to receive them," said Governor Togiola.

"I recognize and appreciate the assistance that has been provided to the public by the American Samoa Bar Association's DSL program and the local attorneys who have provided their time and expertise without cost to help disaster claimants."

For more information or to make an appointment to meet with a Post-Disaster Legal Aid Team member, please contact the Office of the Governor at 633-4116.

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
AMERICAN SAMOA
December 11, 2009
GENERAL MEMORANDUM NO.: 211 - 2009

From: The Governor of American Samoa

Subject: Governor's Post-Disaster Legal Aid Team

Many members of our community who have applied for federal and other disaster related assistance remain in need of, and could benefit from, services and resources which assist them in acquiring the benefits and relief they are entitled to. To this end, I have decided to make the attorneys employed at the Office of the Governor available, and to pledge their knowledge and skills, to assist families whose annual income does not exceed $15,000.00, and who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami of September 29, 2009, in their disaster related claims for benefits through FEMA, and other federal or local government agencies, offices or programs. If necessary, other attorneys will be appointed or retained to assist. Cases determined to be "fee-generating" will be referred to ASBA attorneys in private practice. These services will be available upon the issuance of this memorandum and will continue to be available indefinitely. They will be offered through the Office of the Governor without cost. Those involved in these efforts will be known as the Post-Disaster Legal Aid Team.

I recognize and appreciate the assistance that has thus far been provided to the public by the American Samoa Bar Association's Disaster Legal Services (DLS) program and the local attorneys who have provided their time and expertise without cost to help disaster claimants. It is my hope that the Post-Disaster Legal Aid Team will be able to work in concert and coordination with DLS and will be able to augment, support, and extend these ongoing efforts so that qualified families that need legal services will be able to receive them. For more information or to make an appointment to meet with a team member, contact the Office of the Governor.

TOGIOLA T.A. TULAFONO