Pauper's oath

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A pauper's oath is a sworn statement or oath by a person of being completely destitute or a pauper, without much money or property.

A person without the ability to pay court costs has the option to swear a pauper's oath to file a lawsuit without paying filing fees. Prisoners filing legal actions often use a pauper's oath because persons in prison are often completely without money or any means of acquiring any.

Historically, especially during the Great Depression, the pauper's oath was required as a prerequisite for receiving welfare in the United States.

One pauper's oath used when establishing indigent status under US federal law is as follows:[1]

"So help me God," at the end, is optional.

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