NJBLF Application for Discretionary Fund Guidelines and Instructions

The New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyers Foundation is pleased to announce the implementation of its Discretionary Funds program, aimed at dispersing funds to applicants on an emergent basis to assist them in the payment of their overdue, necessary bills and invoices for items such as heating oil, medical bills, automobile repairs, etc. The Foundation has been accepting applications for distributions since February 2005. Attached to this notice is an application form that the Foundation asks the pro bono attorney to complete and return to the address listed on the form. Please be specific in responding to the questions, especially question #3.  If accepted, a check will be sent directly to the creditor. In the event this causes a problem or hardship, or payment is contingent upon the occurrence of a future event (such as acceptance of a settlement agreement), the Foundation will entertain requests from counsel to have the funds made payable to the attorney’s Trust Account, with such requests to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, payment will be withheld until all conditions
have been met.

Please note that funds are limited. For that reason, the Foundation requests that attorneys carefully screen the applications prior to submission. Not all clients that are eligible for pro bono services need the added assistance to pay their creditors. Many pro bono clients are able to obtain the funds necessary to pay the creditor either in a lump sum or through installment payments. To ensure that all qualified needs can be met, the Foundation has established several guidelines for applications:

          a. Applications will only be accepted from attorneys for pro bono clients referred through a qualified Legal Services/Legal Aid program, a law school pro bono program, any New Jersey Legal Services branch office or the Legal Services Hotline.

          b. Applicants will be offered only one opportunity to obtain funds, and cannot request or expect to receive such funds as a monthly expenditure.

          c. A normal grant is $750 per applicant. In extraordinary circumstances a grant may exceed that limit up to $1,250 but the extraordinary circumstances must be detailed.

The Foundation members welcome your suggestions, thoughts, comments and overall feedback on the process. We all hope that the Foundation will continue to expand in future years and make more monies available to as many applicants as possible.

The Foundation assumes no obligation to accept any application. Acceptance shall be in the sole discretion of the panel assigned to review the request and even worthwhile applications may need to be turned down for any reason including but not limited to a failure to submit a complete application.

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