I have previously posted on how the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) allows for the payment by the government of a disability claimant’s attorney fees if they prevail in a federal Court appeal and the government’s position was “substantially unjustified.” If the claimant secures a remand by the district court for a rehearing by the administrative law judge, the claimant is considered to be the prevailing party.
The question arises as to whether or not EAJA covers attorney fees for the subsequent administrative rehearing after a federal court remand. The U.S. Supreme Court answered this question in the affirmative in the case of Sullivan v. Hudson, 490 U.S. 877 (1989).
The government argued that the claimant was not entitled to EAJA attorney fees for the work done by her attorney at the administrative rehearing on remand from the federal district court because such hearings are non-adversarial and the government is not represented by an attorney at these hearings.
The Court disagreed. While it is correct that administrative disability hearings are non-adversarial, the Court ruled that the administrative rehearing was part and parcel of the district court appeal in which the government had taken an adversarial stance against the claimant. Thus, the claimant was entitled to EAJA fees for the work done by her attorney in preparing for and presenting her case at the administrative hearing on remand.
This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.