TN 17 (03-05)
GN 03940.009 Payment of Representative’s Fee
A. Policy – claimant dies before SSA issues a favorable decision
When a claimant or representative submitted an otherwise valid fee agreement and the claimant dies before SSA issues a favorable determination or decision, the decision maker will approve the fee agreement and SSA will send notice to the parties as described in GN 03940.008.
1. Past-due benefits payable
In the above situation, SSA will continue processing the representative's fee under the fee agreement process only if adjudication results in past-due benefits. An underpayment must be payable to such individuals as listed in GN 02301.030A.1., Statutory Order for Payment, for title II cases. For title XVI cases, refer to SI 02101.003A., SSI Underpayment Due – Individual Deceased. In concurrent title II and title XVI cases, the fee agreement approval remains valid if either a title II or title XVI underpayment is payable.
For policy on direct payment of the authorized fee, see GN 03920.017A.
2. No past-due benefits payable
If SSA determines that no one is eligible for the underpayment (in concurrent title II and title XVI cases this would mean that either there was no underpayment due under either title or there was no one eligible to be paid the underpayment under the rules for title II or title XVI underpayments), SSA will rescind the fee agreement approval. In such a situation, the fee agreement no longer meets the statutory provision that the claim or post-entitlement action results in past-due benefits (refer to GN 03940.003). SSA will notify the representative using the paragraphs entitled “Fee Agreement Subsequently Disapproved – No Past-Due Benefits.” The rescission will follow the same general principles expressed in the paragraphs listed in GN 03940.055C.3.a.
If there are no known survivors of the deceased claimant or, for title II purposes, a legal representative of the estate, SSA will mail the determination rescinding the approval to the estate of the deceased at his/her last known address. SSA will also inform the representative that he/she must file a fee petition with SSA for authorization to charge and collect a fee.
B. Policy - party dies after SSA issues a favorable decision
When a claimant or representative submitted an otherwise valid fee agreement and either party dies after SSA issues a favorable decision, the decision maker will approve the fee agreement, under the conditions defined in GN 03940.003, and SSA will send notice to the parties as provided in GN 03940.008C.
In the above situation, SSA will continue processing the representative's fee under the fee agreement process only if adjudication results in past-due benefits.
In the case of a deceased representative who was eligible for direct payment, SSA will certify direct payment of the title II and/or title XVI representative's fee, only to the executor or other person the State recognizes as the representative of the deceased representative's estate.