Social Security to Raise the Representative Fee Cap to Help with Claiming Benefits

Change can help SSA issue decisions more efficiently amid growing disability backlogs

Visit graphicThe Social Security Administration (SSA) plans to raise the fee cap for claimants’ representatives, from $7,200 to $9,200, when they and their client agree to use what is known as a “fee agreement process.” This will be the first increase to the fee agreement cap since November 2022, when the cap went up from $6,000 to $7,200, after remaining the same for thirteen years.

The fee cap increase is scheduled to take effect this Fall. The agency also plans to tie future increases to the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). SSA will publish notice of this change in the Federal Register in April in advance of the effective date.

“Our programs can be complex and quality representation – from initial claims to appeals – helps people navigate the process,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security.

Fees are paid from beneficiaries’ past-due benefits. When a claimant or beneficiary decides to retain representation, the representative is required to obtain approval of any fee from SSA. The fee agreement cap is the maximum dollar amount an appointed representative can receive under the “fee agreement process” for successfully representing a person in a case for disability benefits. The cap does not apply to the “fee petition process.”

Due to underfunding, SSA is currently experiencing growing disability backlogs in the State Disability Determination Services that make initial and reconsideration decisions for the agency. Disability applicants are waiting on average nearly 8 months (228 days) for an initial decision and an additional 7 months (223 days) for those who request a reconsideration appeal. SSA’s long-term goal is to reduce those waits to 4 months (120 days) each. Representatives can help SSA develop medical evidence in disability claims more fully, which allows SSA to issue decisions more efficiently.

Information about appointed representatives is available at Once retained, a representative must file a fee agreement form, SSA-1693.

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