Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Social Security - attorney fees - sec. 406 - 25% cap

Black v. Colvin – ED Pa. – November 2, 2015



The issue presented in this Social Security case is whether the total award of attorneys’ fees to the attorney who represented the claimant at the administrative level

and to another attorney who represented him on judicial review may exceed 25 percent of the claimant’s past-due benefits. It is an issue that has divided the circuit courts of

appeals, and one the Third Circuit has yet to decide.


Counsel who successfully represented the plaintiff on judicial review has moved for approval of $18,631.25 in attorney’s fees under § 406(b) of the Social Security Act

(“Act”). When combined with the $12,687.50 that counsel who had represented theclaimant before the agency has requested under § 406(a), the total requested attorney’s

fees exceeds 25 percent of the claimant’s past-due benefits by $6,941.65.


We conclude that the 25 percent cap applies only to fees awarded under § 406(b) and does not apply to the aggregate amount of attorney’s fees awarded under both §§ 406(a) and



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