Municipal Employees Legal Services (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.

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 benefits call MELS at (212) 815-1111.

[Note: Local 371 members are covered separately.]

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 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 the defense of tort claims, such as libel, slander, and personal injury caused by negligence.

Local 371 Social Service Employees Union members are covered by the local’s Legal Services Fund, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003. Call (212) 777-9000.

Please Click Here for more information.


Professional Employees Legal Services Plan (PELS) was established in 1982 through collective bargaining and has been assisting both active members and retirees of Local 375 with their legal needs since that time.

Legal services are provided to eligible Local 375 members and retirees, and their eligible family members in many areas of the law. (See the “Summary of Benefits” below.)

Services are administered through the offices of DC 37 MELS at 55 Water Street, New York, New York 10007, phone:  (212) 815-1111. Although participants in the PELS plan may remain responsible for any out of pocket expenses related to their legal matters, NO ATTORNEY FEES ARE CHARGED by our staff offices for the legal services provided to PELS participants.  


The PELS plan was designed to assist its participants in many areas of law other than employment and business matters. The types of services provided include the following, some of which are limited to advice and consultation, but most of which entitle the plan participant to full representation:

  1. Preparation of Wills;
  2. Matters involving a participant’s debts of more than $1,000.00 in controversy, including personal bankruptcy filings and the defense of foreclosure proceedings interposed against a participant’s primary one-family residence;
  3. Correction of inaccurate credit reports;
  4. Disputes with utilities (gas, electric, phone) provided the amount in controversy exceeds $1,000.00;
  5. The defense of Housing Court actions that could result in a participant’s eviction from a primary residence;
  6. Consultations regarding entitlements from government agencies;
  7. Divorces, legal separations and annulment;
  8. Review by a lawyer of a legal document;
  9. Buying or selling a one-family house, cooperative apartment or condominium if it is the participant’s primary residence;
  10. Name Changes; and
  11. Representation in Family Court in many matters, including disputes over custody, visitation and paternity of children; matters involving spouse abuse other family violence; parental adoption of minor dependants; and the guardianship of minors. (NOTE: Services related to child support are limited to a single telephone consultation.)