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Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

DUA must approve the amount of the attorney's legal fees before an attorney can bill a claimant for services in an Unemployment Insurance (UI) appeal. DUA does not pay attorney fees and does not provide legal representation.
There is no deadline for seeking fee approval, but attorneys must get DUA’s approval before collecting any legal fees. Generally, the approval process takes about 10 business days from the date DUA receives the fee approval request from an attorney.

DUA Attorney Fee Approval

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The Details of Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

What you need for Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

In order to request fee approval, attorneys must submit the following documents:

  • A request letter containing:
    • The claimant’s full name
    • The claimant’s ID number
    • Hearing dates, times, and durations
    • Employer’s name (if applicable)
    • Issue ID number
    • Total potential unemployment benefit credit (“maximum benefit amount”)
    • Total fee amount being requested for approval
    • The signature of the attorney or agent who performed the services
  • A copy of the signed and dated fee agreement
  • A copy of the detailed billing statement, unless it was a flat fee agreement
  • A copy of the favorable hearing decision, if it was a contingent fee agreement

When to request approval

A request for approval should not be submitted until after the attorney has provided all the services that were agreed to in connection with proceedings before the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

In a contingent fee case, the request should not be submitted until after a favorable decision is issued.

Fees for Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

Maximum amount of fees

Generally, DUA will not approve a fee that is higher than 15% of the claimant’s maximum benefit amount (MBA). A claimant’s MBA includes the MBA for regular UI and PEUC or PUA.  Fee requests seeking more than 15% will be approved in only those cases involving particularly complicated legal issues or other unusual circumstances.  

Additionally, attorneys are encouraged to use flat fees when representing Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants. A flat fee of $750 or less will be approved, provided that the fee agreement is clearly written. Requests seeking approval of flat fees above that amount will likely require closer analysis of the agreement, the legal and procedural issues involved in the case, the rate, the time expended, other unusual circumstances, and any contingencies.

If DUA denies your request because the proposed fee is determined to be unreasonably high, you may submit a new request seeking approval of a lower amount.

How to request Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

Attorneys should send an email that includes the documents listed above (preferably in PDF format) to section37fee@mass.gov.

The subject line of the email should be the claimant’s last name and Claimant Identification Number.

Next steps for Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

After an attorney fee approval request is submitted

The attorney must wait for an approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) before collecting any legal fees from a client. Generally, the approval process takes about 10 business days from the date DUA receives the fee approval request.

Requests that do not include all of the necessary information or seek an unusually high fee (in relation to the work involved) may take longer to review. If more than a month has passed since submitting an approval request, please email section37fee@mass.gov to ask about the status of the request.

ATTORNEY FEE APPROVAL PROCESS FOR BOARD OF REVIEW

The Board of Review (BOR) has its own fee approval process for services performed at the BOR level. Representation at remand hearings ordered by the BOR is considered part of the BOR level.

Request attorney fee approval from the Board of Review.

More info for Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

 The attorney fee approval process is required by section 37 of Chapter 151A of the General Laws. The purpose of section 37 is to safeguard unemployed individuals against being charged unreasonable legal fees.  The fee approval process applies only to attorneys who are representing claimants, not employers.

Contact for Attorneys must request fee approval from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

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