Beginning February 28, 2005, if the claimant’s representative is eligible for direct
payment and has not waived a fee or waived direct payment, SSA withholds 25 percent
of a claimant's title XVI past-due benefits for possible direct payment of:
all or part of a representative's authorized fee for administrative proceedings, and,
all or part of an attorney’s authorized fee for court proceedings.
(See GN 03920.017D., Policy – Direct Payment to Representatives – Title XVI Cases, GN 03920.031., Representative’s Fee – Title XVI Past-Due Benefits, and GN 03920.060B.3., Attorney’s Fees for Representation in Proceedings Before a Court – Past-Due Benefits
NOTE: If a Federal court awards a fee in addition to the fee, if any, SSA authorizes for
proceedings at the administrative level, SSA withholds a maximum of 25 percent of
past-due benefits for payment of fees, whether authorized by SSA, a court, or both.
SSA also may withhold from the claimant’s spouse’s past-due benefits, in a supplemental
security income (SSI) couple’s case, for possible direct payment of all or part of
the claimant's representative's authorized fee for administrative proceedings and
of an attorney’s fee for court proceedings, if the spouse’s benefits increase as a
result of the claimant’s eligibility or if the spouse becomes eligible for benefits
as a result of the claimant’s eligibility.
If the spouse is individually represented, see GN 03920.036B., Withholding From the Spouse.
After SSA pays a fee directly to the representative, SSA continues to withhold any
remaining amount up to 25 percent of a claimant's past-due benefits under these circumstances:
a party has filed a request for administrative review, or
the Federal court issued a decision and the attorney has not waived his or her fee.
NOTE: Prior to February 28, 2005, there was no withholding provision for any representative
from title XVI past-due benefits. The representative looked to the claimant to pay
the authorized fee.