in connection with their personal civil legal affairs. Providing such legal support enhances readiness
for our personnel, helping to relieve the stress and uncertainty associated with their duties and thus
improving both morale and efficiency. Prompt assistance with other personal legal difficulties has a
beneficial effect, so the Commandant's policy is to provide legal assistance to eligible personnel to
the fullest extent possible under the law.
5. ELIGIBILITY FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE.
a. Subject to the availability of legal staff resources, legal assistance may be provided to:
(1) Members of the armed forces who are on active duty (including reservists on active duty or
scheduled for deployment).
(2) Members and former members entitled to retired or retainer pay or equivalent pay.
(3) Officers of the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service who are on active duty or
entitled to retired or equivalent pay.
(4) Dependents of members and former members described in paragraphs 5(b)(1), (2), and (3)
(5) Other persons authorized by the Judge Advocate General.
b. This authority generally does not extend to civilian employees, except as discussed below in
conjunction with income tax filing assistance and civil notary services.
c. This statutory authority does not extend to members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary whether or not
acting under official orders.
d. Civilian employees and military members may also be eligible to participate in the Coast Guard
Work Life program's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that includes a legal services
component. This consultation and referral service is not part of the legal assistance program and
may result in legal fees. Details on this program are available from local EAP coordinators.
6. PRIORITY FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE. When providing support to eligible personnel, the
highest priority shall be given to Coast Guard military personnel who need legal assistance due to
the nature of their assigned duties. Examples of such high priority needs include pre-deployment
assistance to regular and reserve personnel, especially when the deployment is unanticipated, and
will, power of attorney and advance medical directive preparation for personnel involved in
significant travel or hazardous duty. The next highest priority shall be personnel who are least able
to obtain legal services provided by the civilian bar (for example junior enlisted personnel with
limited financial means and junior officers). In legal offices/staffs where a full-time legal assistance
attorney is assigned, legal assistance shall be suspended only in cases of severe resource limitations.
To the maximum extent possible, legal assistance services shall be provided to eligible beneficiaries
of other services. Eligible members of other branches of the armed forces and their dependents shall
be provided legal assistance on an equal basis with Coast Guard members and their dependents,
unless Coast Guard members are in need of predeployment legal services. Command Directors of
Legal Assistance may prioritize these services to ensure the readiness of Coast Guard personnel.