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Attorneys in Social Security Disability (“SSD”) cases can get paid either by fee agreement with a $5,300 cap, or by fee petition. Many attorneys opt for the fee agreement process because it is faster, even though it may mean receiving a smaller fee. If a claimant has been represented by more than one attorney, then each must submit a fee petition, unless one of the attorneys is not seeking a fee.
I took over another attorney’s SSD case when had to be taken to federal court. I succeeded is getting the case remanded, and then won the case it was heard by the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) a second time. Before the hearing the ALJ asked if the prior attorney retained an interest in the case, and I told the ALJ that he did not, and that I had submitted a letter from the prior attorney confirming that. At the outset of the hearing, I then restated on the record that the prior attorney no longer represented the claimant and was not seeking a fee. Nonetheless, the ALJ approved the prior attorney’s fee agreement, which will probably result in a delay before the SSA releases the claimant’s benefits.
To avoid potential delays, even if the record also contains a letter from the withdrawing attorney, and even if the hearing transcript contains a representation that the withdrawing attorney is not seeking a fee, it cannot hurt to submit a new letter from the withdrawing attorney reiterating his intention to waive any request for legal fees.Previous Next
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