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I am afraid that in general the above answer was correct in that normally SS benefits cannot be garnished. However, there is an exception, which was missed, and that is attorney's fees and costs for any SS appeals or hearings where the recipient is represented and the SS law guarantees payment to the representative/attorney for representation in an SS hearing, the lawyer was not lying to you about that I am afraid.
This is what even the SSA site states about your issue:
When the SSA or a Federal court authorizes a representative's fee based on an approved fee agreement or a fee petition, SSA will withhold up to 25 percent of the claimant's title II and/or title XVI past-due benefits for payment of all or part of the authorized fee, if the following criteria are met:
- At least one of the claimant's representatives is an attorney or a non-attorney whom SSA has determined is eligible for direct payment of fees.
- The claimant is entitled to past-due benefits under title II and/or title XVI.
- The attorney or non-attorney who is otherwise eligible to receive direct payment has not waived his or her fee or waived the right to direct payment.
- An attorney or non-attorney whom the claimant appoints after December 31, 2006 to represent him or her before SSA, or an attorney for whom a Federal court approves a fee after December 31, 2006, has registered to receive direct payment by taking two steps:
1. Submitting, one time, a completed Form SSA-1699, Registration of Individuals and Staff for Appointed Representative Services. 2. Submitting, in connection with the specific claim(s), a completed Form SSA-1695, Identifying Information for Possible Direct Payment of Authorized Fees.
When SSA makes direct fee payment, the law requires SSA to charge an assessment to cover administrative costs. SSA deducts this service charge from the amount payable to the representative. The representative cannot charge or collect this expense from the claimant.
Beginning with direct payments SSA makes to representatives on or after September 1, 2004, the service charge is capped at the lower of either a flat rate dollar amount or 6.3 percent of the amount of the fee payable from past-due benefits. The flat rate dollar amount cap is adjusted periodically based on the cost of living. For direct payments made to representatives on or after December 1, 2012, the service charge is capped at a flat rate dollar amount of $88.
Thus, I am sorry to state that since your son agreed to representation with this attorney, if SSA deems the fee to fit the above criteria I am afraid they will deduct it to pay the attorney in accordance with the SSA rules.
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