The Disciplinary Board will allow attorneys to apply for a waiver of the annual fee under the condition of extreme financial hardship. The application, instructions, and FAQs have been posted to the Board’s website. Extended only to attorneys filing for active status, a granted waiver will apply to one registration year only.
In order to qualify for the waiver, an applicant’s income must be equal to or below the federal poverty guideline. In 2022, the poverty guideline for a Pennsylvania household of four is $27,750.
The application process includes a waiver request form along with supporting financial documents. Applicants must provide a description of the nature of the financial hardship, proof of monthly income (e.g., wages, pension, Social Security, Workers Compensation, public assistance, dividends, etc.), the most recent year’s personal tax return, and proof of all year-to-date personal income. If applicable, the attorney must also present the most recent year’s business tax return and proof of year-to-date business income. Included in the application packet, a paper registration form also must be submitted.
Waiver requests will be reviewed by the Executive Director of the Disciplinary Board. If the request is granted, the Attorney Registration Office will process the annual registration form. If the request is denied, the applicant has ten days from the date of notice of denial to appeal for reconsideration by the Board Chair. The Chair will make the final decision within twenty days of receipt of a request for reconsideration. It is important to note that while any application or reconsideration is in process, no late fees will accrue. The attorney will have fourteen days from a final denial or until July 16 ̶ whichever the later date ̶ to pay the annual fee in full without penalty. Failure to pay timely may subject the attorney to late payment penalties and transfer to administrative suspension under Pa.R.D.E. 219(f).
Requests for a waiver of the attorney registration fee must be filed by July 1st, the deadline for annual registration. Requests submitted after this date will not be eligible for review.