TN 18 (09-10)

GN 03920.018 Direct Payment To Non-Attorney Representatives

Citations:

Social Security Act §206 (e)

A. Introduction

The Social Security Disability Applicants’ Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010, Public Law No. 111-142, permanently extends the fee withholding process to qualified non-attorney representatives who meet certain prerequisites. For the policy on when we pay a fee directly to an appointed representative who is eligible for direct payment of authorized fees, refer to GN 03920.017.

NOTE: A non-attorney representative who is not eligible to receive direct payment must look to the claimant for payment of any fees authorized by SSA.

B. Eligible for Direct Payment Non-Attorney (EDPNA) Representative

1. Prerequisites for receiving direct payment

Section 206 (e) of the Social Security Act (Act) sets forth prerequisites that a non-attorney representative must satisfy in order to receive direct payment of fees. Under prerequisites set by the Act, the non-attorney must:

  • possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education or have equivalent qualifications derived from training and work experience;

  • secure professional liability insurance or equivalent insurance which we determine to be adequate to protect claimants in the event of malpractice by the representative;

  • pass a criminal background check to ensure the representative’s fitness to practice before us;

  • pass an examination, written and administered by us, which tests knowledge of relevant provisions of the Act and the most recent developments in agency and court decisions affecting Titles II and XVI of the Act; and

  • demonstrate ongoing completion of qualified courses of continuing education, including education regarding ethics and professional conduct, which are designed to enhance professional knowledge in matters related to entitlement to, or eligibility for, benefits based on disability under Titles II and XVI of the Act.

2. Identifying non-attorney representatives who are eligible for direct payment

The names of non-attorneys eligible for direct payment will appear on the following Intranet website: Non-Attorney Representatives . You can access the website link in PolicyNet under “Tools and Resources.”

NOTE: Before you effectuate a favorable decision, you must verify the non-attorney is eligible for direct payment. If the non-attorney representative is not eligible for direct payment on the date you effectuate the claim, do not provide direct payment of his or her fee.

a. Claimant appointed non-attorney representative after February 27, 2005 and before January 1, 2007

  • Access the Non-Attorney Representatives website to determine if the non-attorney representative is eligible for direct payment; and

  • Verify the claimant signed an Appointment of Representative- SSA-1696-U4 (or equivalent written statement) before January 1, 2007.

    NOTE: If the claimant signed the appointment agreement before February 28, 2005, he or she must sign a supplemental appointment. For more instructions, see Rule for Supplemental Appointments in GN 03920.018B.3.

b. Claimant appointed non-attorney representative after December 31, 2006

  • Access the Non-Attorney Representatives website to determine if the non-attorney representative is eligible for direct payment;

  • Verify the claimant signed an Appointment of Representative- SSA-1696-U4 (or equivalent written statement); and

  • Verify the non-attorney representative registered for direct payment with us.

For more instructions, see Representative Registered to Receive Direct Payment in GN 03920.017B.3.

c. Inappropriate request for direct payment

If you determine that a non-attorney representative improperly requested or obtained direct payment by submitting Forms SSA-1695 (Identifying Information for Possible Direct Payment of Authorized Fees) and SSA-1699 (Request for Appointed Representative's Direct Payment Information), and his or her name is not on the Non-Attorney Representatives website, you must refer the non-attorney representative for a possible fee violation. For procedures on how we develop and refer a non-attorney represe