5 U.S. Code § 504
An agency that conducts an adversary adjudication shall award, to a prevailing party other than the United States, fees and other expenses incurred by that party in connection with that proceeding, unless the adjudicative officer of the agency finds that the position of the agency was substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award unjust. Whether or not the position of the agency was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the administrative record, as a whole, which is made in the adversary adjudication for which fees and other expenses are sought.
Basically EAJA fees are awarded to parties that have won their case against the United States Government, unless they can prove that the original decision was substantially justified.
It’s a sad state of affairs when we have to sue our own government for benefits that we are entitled to. No one chooses to be disabled. I talk with clients daily that wish they could go back to work, but that’s just not in the cards for them. After working their whole lives and paying into Social Security people are often shocked at how difficult it can be to get on benefits. They had no problem taking the money out of your checks but now that you need it you’ve got an uphill battle on your hands. If you are denied by the ALJ, and the appeals council, your only option is then to file an appeal with the Federal Court. As with all things that deal with court it becomes more expensive and time consuming. This is why EAJA fees are so important. The attorney can collect their fees for appealing in federal court from the government rather than you.