TN 8 (02-05)
GN 03930.085 Fee Reviewer Responsibilities - Overview - Fee Petition Process
A. Policy - General Tasks
The individual assigned responsibility for processing fees (e.g., reconsideration reviewer, senior claims processing specialist or claims technical examiner (CTE)) in the processing center (PC):
resolves or instructs others (e.g., the benefit authorizer (BA), benefit technical examiner (BTE), claims authorizer (CA), or CTE about issues related to title II benefit withholding, fee petitions, and direct payment to representatives from title II past-due benefits;
evaluates the fee petition and authorizes a reasonable fee for representation in cases decided below the hearing level (including title XVI only); and
notifies the field office (FO) when he or she authorizes a fee in a title XVI claim or concurrent title II and title XVI claims, and when he or she makes direct fee payment in concurrent title II and title XVI claims.
B. Policy - Specific Tasks - Title II and Concurrent Title II and Title XVI Cases
Generally, the job position assigned the fee reviewer responsibility in the PC performs some or all of these tasks:
Provides notice to the representative who is eligible for direct payment when the diary matures and the PC has not received a petition for a fee for services in administrative proceedings, a fee waiver, or a waiver of direct payment, and SSA is withholding past-due benefits.
Follows the procedures in GN 03930.091 when the diary matures and the PC has not received an order from the court regarding a fee for services in court proceedings, a fee waiver, or a waiver of direct payment, and SSA is withholding past-due benefits.
Provides notice and other processing instructions on cases he or she decides.
Responds (as GN 03920.035D. explains) when an auxiliary beneficiary objects to SSA's withholding from his or her past-due benefits for possible direct payment to the primary claimant's representative.
Instructs the BA/BTE to certify direct payment of the representative's fee from the title II past-due benefits when the representative is eligible for direct payment, and initiate title II overpayment recovery from the claimant when SSA has not withheld and the representative is unable to collect from the claimant (see GN 03920.055 for the procedure).
Coordinates with OGC when (as GN 03920.055 discusses) SSA inadvertently does not withhold or prematurely releases past-due benefits in a title II and concurrent title II and title XVI court case.
Provides the BA/BTE with the language for SSA's notices to the claimant and the representative when the Office of Hearings and Appeals (ODAR) has increased a fee on administrative review (see GN 03950.050 for instructions).
NOTE: An individual PC may designate employees in another position as responsible for a given task within that component. For example, the Office of Disability Operations has designated the disability specialist as responsible for the above actions in court cases.
C. Policy - Local Practice
Depending on local practice, the fee reviewer also may perform the following tasks:
Contacts ODAR when the diary matures and the PC has not received a fee authorization, a fee waiver, or a waiver of direct payment, and SSA is withholding title II past-due benefits.
Determines the proper amount for SSA to certify for direct payment from title II past-due benefits withheld when the representative has funds in a trust or escrow account.
Provides notice and other processing instructions on title II cases ODAR decides.
Instructs the BA/BTE to certify direct payment of the representative's fee and release any excess title II past-due benefits when ODAR or a court authorizes a fee.