Does the Social Security Administration withhold past-due benefits to directly pay attorney’s fees?

Yes. Currently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) withholds 25 percent of a claimant’s past due benefits for both SSDI and SSI benefits for direct payment of attorney’s fees. If the attorney and client agree to a fee other than the 25 percent or greater than the amount of past-due benefits, and if SSA authorizes the fee, then the claimant is responsible for paying the difference to the attorney.

This can happen but rarely does. Generally, it happens in cases which involve relatively small amounts of retroactive benefits, and the attorney wants to charge a minimum fee to be adequately compensated. However, although some cases fall outside the norm, the norm is 25 percent and generally our fee is the norm of 25 percent of retroactive benefits.