The United States Law Week

Justices Allow Higher Attorneys’ Fees in Social Security Cases

Jan. 8, 2019, 4:22 PM

Good news for attorneys: The U.S. Supreme Court said those representing disabled individuals before courts in social security matters may be able to get more fees.

The Social Security Act caps the fees an attorney can charge to 25 percent of the past-due benefits that their client is awarded.

The statutory language makes clear that that cap applies only to the attorney’s representation before a court, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a unanimous court. Attorneys can get additional fees for their representation before the Social Security Administration, he said.

The opinion is Thomas’s first for the term, and just the fifth opinion for the court so far. All five cases handed down by the justices in argued cases this term have been unanimous.

The case is Culbertson v. Berryhill, U.S., No. 17-773, 1/8/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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