The lawyer is allowed to charge 25% of the past due benefits up to the maximum of $6,000 at the hearing level but only if success is achieved. If the case is denied at the hearing level, the attorney recovers nothing. Once the case is taken to the District Court, the attorney is entitled to an award of fees under the EAJA (Equal Access to Justice Act) statute; this fee is collected by the attorney from the Government and only if he or she is successful. If the District Court remands (sends the case back) to the hearing stage and he or she is successful then the attorney is allowed to collect the contigent fee or 25%, if successful. The other way that the attorney can get paid is by filing a fee petition but this is very rare. I hope that this helps.
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Yes. Once a case is denied, under the "standard" fee agreement my colleague describes, then lawyers can charge up to a maximum fee of 25% of all past due benefits assuming they win at ther Appeals Council, or Federal Court. And they can collect EAJA fees as mentioned - but if they are also paid for the time in District Court only out of past due benefits, then the smaller amount of the fee approved for District Court time must be refunded to the client.
Hope that helps. Best of luck to you.
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