Disability hearings create crush of demand for attorneys

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A federal review of 1,500 Social Security benefit awards has created a crushing demand for attorneys in eastern Kentucky.

The Social Security Administration is reviewing the benefits awarded to clients of attorney Eric Conn because of suspected fraud. Those cases are likely headed to hearings before administrative law judges that could start as soon as September.

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Most of the people being reviewed say they cannot afford an attorney. The Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky has received requests from 400 people so far asking for representation. Executive Director Robert Johns said it is an unprecedented level of demand that has caused the agency to scramble to find attorneys.

Attorneys in the cases likely will not be paid. Johns said so far about 80 attorneys have volunteered to help.

 

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