Lawyers & the Secret Welfare State

22 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2016 Last revised: 4 Aug 2016

See all articles by Milan Markovic

Milan Markovic

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: January 22, 2016


Lawyers play an outsized role in the distribution of public benefits in the United States. This article suggests that, in assisting clients to circumvent stringent eligibility requirements for programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Medicaid, attorneys have created a secret welfare state that favors comparatively well-off Americans at the expense of the truly needy. Lawyers’ handling of evidence of non-disability in SSDI proceedings and participation in Medicaid planning is used to illustrate the argument.

The article concludes by analyzing whether attorneys should serve as gatekeepers of the public benefits regime.

Keywords: Social Security, SSDI, Medicaid, Medicaid Planning, Legal Ethics, Gatekeeper, Entitlements, Binder

JEL Classification: Z10

Suggested Citation

Markovic, Milan, Lawyers & the Secret Welfare State (January 22, 2016). Fordham Law Review, Forthcoming; Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-03. Available at SSRN:

Milan Markovic (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States
817-212-4056 (Phone)

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