WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association strongly supports the rights of claimants seeking Social Security Disability benefits to retain private counsel to assist them in obtaining their full entitlement;

WHEREAS, in light of the Social Security Act's current prohibition against assignment of benefits, claimants do not have the ability to contract for Social Security representation as they do for any other legal service thereby precluding a normal attorney-client relationship;

WHEREAS, the Social Security Administration currently withholds a portion of past due benefits to pay private counsel for successfully representing claimants in Social Security cases, thereby compensating for the typical litigant's inability to otherwise contract for attorney representation;

WHEREAS, this attorney fee withholding process guarantees that claimants will have the opportunity to afford effective representation to pursue their claims;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner of the United States Social Security Administration has proposed eliminating the withholding of past due benefits to pay private counsel;

WHEREAS, such elimination of the attorney fee program within the Social Security Administration will effectively deny impoverished claimants their right to have an attorney assist them to litigate claims in a complicated web of agency regulations and procedures;

WHEREAS, the Congressionally mandated Social Security Administration study on attorney fees in Social Security cases expressly found that contingent fee representation was the most practical, effective means for Social Security claimants to obtain attorney representation;

WHEREAS, the current proposal to eliminate the attorney fee withholding process will inevitably impair claimants' ability to retain attorneys on a continent fee basis;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes all efforts of the Social Security Administration to eliminate the attorney fee program;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges Congress to mandate that the Social Security Administration retain its current attorney fee withholding procedures which assist claimants in seeking counsel to litigate their claims;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor is hereby authorized to communicate this position of the Association to the appropriate governmental bodies and to take other appropriate action in furtherance of this resolution.

ADOPTED: May 25, 1995