This news release from NOSSCR is certainly encouraging to all of us who practice Social Security disability law:
The user fee rises each year because it has an automatic Cost-of-Living-Adjustment.
The fee cap for fee agreements does not rise each year because it has no automatic Cost-of-Living-Adjustment. By statute, the Commissioner has the discretion, but not the mandate, to raise the fee cap. That has happened only once, in 2002, when Commissioner Barnhart raised the cap from $4,000 to $5,300.
Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) has introduced legislation to address this issue. His bill, H.R. 7285, contains two provisions. First, the bill would increase the maximum fee in fee agreement cases to $6,264.50.
Second, the bill would establish a statutory annual COLA for the fee cap.
This Congress will be adjourning shortly. We anticipate that the bill will be re-introduced next year in the new Congress. At that time, it will be given a new number. We will of course keep you advised.
With best wishes from all of us here for very Happy Holidays!