October 23, 2020

Legal Services—MELS

MELS—Municipal Employees’ Legal Services

What is MELS?

DC 37’s Health and Security benefit package includes the largest prepaid legal services office in the country. More than 65 staff lawyers offer legal advice and representation, and prepare legal documents for members on a wide range of civil legal matters. MELS lawyers work exclusively for members and their eligible dependents. Social workers are also available to counsel you on case-related personal and family problems.

Who is covered by MELS?

The MELS Benefit covers only employees and retirees residing in New York State. The geographic area covered by MELS is limited to those members and retirees residing in New York City, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County or Suffolk County (in zip code area 117 except for 11719, 11764, 11778, 11786, 11789 and 11792).


To determine your eligibility for the benefit call MELS at (212) 815-1111


MELS Can Help Full-Time and Part-Time Employees and Retirees with:

  • Preparation of wills
  • Debt matters, including bankruptcy (amount in dispute must be over $500)
  • Disputes with sellers of goods and services if the amount in dispute is over $500
  • Correction of inaccurate credit reports
  • Billing disputes with utilities (gas, electric, phone)
  • Landlord actions that could result in your eviction
  • Entitlements from government agencies, like Social Security, food stamps, etc.
  • Divorce, separation and annulment
  • Citizenship matters
  • Review by a lawyer of a legal document

Additional Benefits for Full-Time Employees and Retirees:

  • Buying or selling your one-family house, co-op or condominium if it is your primary residence
  • Buying your two-family house if it is your primary residence
  • Disputes over custody, visitation and paternity of children
  • Representation where you are the parent in a child abuse, neglect, or foster care case (representation of foster parents is limited to those having had custody of the child for more than 24 months)
  • Orders of protection in cases of spouse abuse and other domestic violence (representation will not include cases brought in Criminal Court)
  • Adoption
  • Guardianship
  • Name Change

*MELS does not accept criminal cases, or handle business problems.
Representation is also not available for defense of tort claims, such as libel, slander and personal injury caused by negligence.