Social Security Administration increases limit on SSA and SSI claims-related fee agreements

The Social Security Act (Act) provides a  streamlined process for an attorney to obtain approval of the fee he or she wishes to charge for representing a claimant before the Social Security Administration (SSA) in claims for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits. To use that process, the attorney and the claimant must agree, in writing, to a fee that does not exceed 25% of past due benefits subject to a maximum fee, which is increased periodically. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 set the maximum fee amount at $4,000. On January 17, 2002, the SSA published a notice raising the maximum fee to $5,300. There have been no increases since that time. However, that recently changed. On February 4, 2009, SSA announced in the Federal Register that the maximum dollar amount for fee agreements will increase to $6,000. SSA believes that the increase will adequately compensate attorneys for their services while ensuring that claimants are protected from excessive fees. Effective June 22, 2009, decision-makers may approve fee agreements up to the new limit provided that the fee agreement otherwise meets the statutory conditions of the agreement process.

Source:  74-fed-reg-6080 (4 February 2009)