Legal Services

From Upper Valley Mental Health Resource Guide
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Assistance Obtaining Government Benefits

  • NH Legal Assistance, Claremont, 800-562-3994
    • Benefits Project advocates help individuals obtain the assistance they need to stabilize their income and move toward self-sufficiency as possible. Advocates help the disabled obtain Social Security, SSI, and APTD benefits and access to health care through Medicare and Medicaid. The Project also works for improvements in the APTD/Medicaid system.
  • NH Legal Aid, 800-639-5290
    • We receive support from the federal government and provide services to clients with incomes and assets below levels which are set by Congress and tied to federal poverty guidelines. We cannot provide services to people who are incarcerated. Legal Aid helps specifically with town and city welfare, unemployment compensation, public housing, Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps, disability benefits, SSI and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Vermont Legal Aid Disability Project, 800-889-2047
    • The Disability Law Project represents Vermonters with disabilities in a wide range of civil legal problems related to their disability. The project provides counsel and advice, brief service, and full representation to eligible clients and their family members.
  • Mental Health Parity Issues
    • Parity laws require insurers to provide comparable coverage for mental health, substance use disorder, and physical health care so people can get the treatment they need. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has updated its mental health and substance use disorder parity website, which provides resources to help answer questions about protections under federal Parity laws. The site is a guide for people who have been denied coverage, reached a limit on your plan (such as copayments, deductibles, yearly visits, etc.), or have an overly large copay or deductible.

Information About Guardianship

Family members may consider petitioning for guardianship if they can prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the proposed ward is unable to provide for basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, health care, safety, and/or is unable to manage financial affairs. The petitioner must be able to prove that the proposed ward is incapable of making an informed choice not to provide for these needs, and must also prove that the proposed ward will or has come to substantial harm as a result of the incapacity. Finally, the petitioner must be able to prove that there are no other available solutions that would impose fewer restrictions on the proposed ward. See the links below for more specific information.

Alternative Sentencing Courts

These are specialty court programs for non-violent offenders with substance abuse and/or mental health issues and are available in various Superior and Circuit Court District Division locations in New Hampshire. These voluntary programs combine community based treatment with strict court supervision and progressive incentives and sanctions. By linking offenders to treatment services, the programs aim to address the offender's substance abuse and mental health issues that led to criminal behavior, thereby reducing recidivism, and protecting public safety. These specialty court programs are designed to promote compliance with treatment programs as an alternative to jail time.

Grafton County Mental Health Courts

Grafton County Drug Court

Assistance with Special Needs Trusts

The special needs trust is often a good approach when a person has a disability. However, it is not appropriate in all circumstances. If a person with disabilities does not have a guardian and is able to manage his or her own finances, keeping the money and property in his or her own name is certainly the most straightforward approach. This approach also gives the person with disabilities the most independence and control over his or her own finances. This would not be a good approach, however, if a person has difficulty handling money. Also, whether or not a person has difficulty with money, having property in one's own name can cause disqualification from vital public benefits including Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

  • Special Needs Planning for Your Peace of Mind Video Presentation, Presenter: Claudia Inés Pringles is a Vermont attorney with a practice dedicated to special needs law. She assists clients with special needs planning, special education, and disability consultation services and is a frequent speaker on these topics. Claudia is also a busy disability advocate and a parent of a teenage daughter with autism. CLICK HERE

Note that there is a new state sponsored savings plan for the disabled called 529 ABLE that allows tax free growth and allows those with disabilities to save as much as $100,000 and still qualify for medicaid and supplemental security. For more information from the IRS, go to Click Here

New Hampshire

  • Circuit Court Family Division, 855-212-1234
    • Location: 2nd Circuit - Family Division – Lebanon, 38 Centerra Parkway, Lebanon, NH 03766-0768
    • The Family Division handles cases of "Children in Need of Services" also known as CHINS. Petitions are filed to assist children experiencing serious difficulties and who are in need of services in order to protect the child from the long lasting impact of harmful behavior. These petitions may be filed by parents, guardians, schools or law enforcement with the consent of the NH Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Office of Public Guardian, 603-224-8041
    • Location: 2 Pillsbury Street, Suite 400, Concord, NH 03301
    • The Office of Public Guardian, a private nonprofit corporation, provides guardianship and advocacy services through the state to legally incapacitated adults, including those with developmental disabilities, mental illness, dementia and traumatic brain injury. Their professional staff provides depth of experience and a wide array of services to clients on a fee for services basis, as well as to qualified indigent clients through a contract with the state of New Hampshire.
  • New Hampshire Legal Aid, 800-639-5290
    • New Hampshire Legal Services is a community of agencies dedicated to the ideal of equal access to justice. Working together, we provide a range of services to low income people across the state. Legal Advice & Referral Center, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, the Pro Bono Program of the New Hampshire Bar Association, The Disabilities Rights Center, the Civil Practice Clinic at Franklin Pierce Law, and the New Hampshire Public Defender provide representation, legal advice, information and support to clients with legal problems in New Hampshire.
  • County Correctional Facilities
    • Grafton County House of Corrections, North Haverhill, ph. 603-787-6767
    • Sullivan County House of Corrections, Claremont, ph. 603-542-8717


  • Sparrow Project
    • The goal of the Sparrow Program is to connect individuals facing nonviolent criminal charges with resources to help address mental health and substance abuse issues. If you or someone you know may be interested in participating in or learning more about the Sparrow Program please contact the Sparrow Coordinator at (802) 295-3031.