Time to Cut Out the SSA as Middleman in SSDI Representation

Unlike traditional attorney-client relationships in which the client pays the attorney at the conclusion of a case, attorneys who represent Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants receive payment directly from the Social Security Administration (SSA), even though it is not the SSA’s money. SSDI claimants enter into private contracts with representatives to assist them with their cases, but the SSA steps in and directly subtracts money from SSDI recipients’ first back paychecks before they ever receive them, and transfers it to their attorneys or non-attorney representatives. The SSA’s role as the middleman in the payment of SSDI representatives artificially inflates the rate of SSDI representation, diminishes disability applicants’ control over representatives’ services and fees (potentially reducing the quality of representation), and adds unnecessary costs for some SSDI beneficiaries. The federal government should stop interfering in the private transactions of disabled individuals and instead provide them their full back-pay benefits.

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