EAJA may apply to SSA claims decided by the court. In order to be considered for reimbursement
of legal fees and other expenses incurred in the course of litigation, the party must
have prevailed against SSA, and, within 30 days of a final favorable judgment, submit
to the court a petition (i.e., application) which shows:
that the party is a prevailing party;
that the party meets all conditions of eligibility (e.g., net worth of not more than
the amount sought, including an itemized statement from the attorney, agent or expert
witness appearing on behalf of the party, stating the time expended and the rate at
expenses were computed; and
a statement that the position of SSA was not substantially justified.
The court will then either set the amount to be reimbursed to the claimant and order
SSA to pay, or the court will deny the application.
The EAJA is silent concerning the definition of the term “substantially
justified.” However, initial court decisions which have addressed this issue have characterized
the standard as one of “reasonableness.” In cases where SSA has shown that its position had a reasonable basis both in law
and fact, no EAJA awards have been made.