WHEREAS, in the law enacting the important work incentives provisions for the disability program in December, 1999, Congress enacted a "user fee" to be paid out of the attorney’s fee awarded in social security disability insurance benefits cases, which fee is more accurately termed a "tax" since the 6.3% amount bears no relationship to the cost of writing a check; and

WHEREAS, current law does not provide a direct fee payment mechanism for attorneys who represent social security supplemental income (SSI), and because they frequently have not been paid in the past by SSI claimants whose cases they won, many of the small group of disability practitioners no longer accept SSI cases; and

WHEREAS, the attorneys’ fee since 1990 has not been raised from the limitation of 25% of past due benefits or $4,000.00, whichever is lower, despite the fact that the SSA Commissioner has been given the authority by Congress to adjust the cap with a similar COLA, which would now be over $5,000.00; and

WHEREAS, the effect of all these measures is to dissuade attorneys from accepting SSD or SSI claims from citizens, many of whom are totally disabled for at least 12 months, or expect to be; and

WHEREAS, it has become increasingly difficult for individuals applying for Supplemental Insurance Benefits to secure counsel because of the decreasing pool of attorneys willing to handle these matters;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association calls upon members of Congress to eliminate the 6.3% tax or have them enact a fee which bears a reasonable relationship to the actual costs involved ($25.00) in Disability Income Benefits ("DIB") cases, to allow SSI fees to be withheld and directly paid as they are in DIB cases, and/or to allow the Social Security Administration to streamline the process in SSI and DIB cases by issuing a single two party check for back due benefits jointly payable to the claimants and the attorney to be distributed by the attorney.

ADOPTED: June 28, 2001