Occasionally SSA receives an allegation from a representative or claimant that SSA
applied an incorrect fee cap. The assertion usually involves the Commissioner's decision
to increase the fee cap, which he/she may do from time to time. For example, the Commissioner
increased the fee cap from $5,300 to $6,000 for fee agreements approved on or after
June 22, 2009.
When the Commissioner increases the cap, the increased cap does not automatically
apply to all fee agreements; the fee agreement must contain language that provides
for the increased cap. Refer to GN 03940.003B.3. for guidance on fee agreement language.
When SSA applies an incorrect fee cap and the representative or claimant advises SSA
of the mistake, SSA will correct the error. SSA will not treat the communication from
the party as a request for administrative review.
During periods of transition to a higher fee cap, situations similar to the following
EXAMPLE 1: A fee agreement with language consistent with a $6,000 cap was in file and approved
by the decision maker at the time of the favorable determination. The technician incorrectly
capped the fee at $5,300. The representative advises SSA that the fee agreement provided
for a fee cap of $6,000.
EXAMPLE 2: A fee agreement with a $5,300 cap was in file and approved by the decision maker
at the time of the favorable determination. There was no other agreement in file.
The technician incorrectly capped the fee at $6,000 and paid an amount in excess of
$5,300 to the representative. The claimant advises SSA that the fee agreement provided
for a fee cap of $5,300.
NOTE: Refer to GN 03920.040 when the past-due benefits amount increases or decreases after the date SSA notifies
the claimant and the representative of the authorized fee amount.