Except as provided in the exceptions listed in subsection (B), regular Federal employees,
other than in the proper discharge of their official duties, are prohibited from:
Acting as an agent or attorney for prosecuting any claim against the United States,
or receiving any gratuity or any share of interest in such claim, in consideration
of assistance in the prosecution of such claim;
Acting as an agent or attorney for anyone before any department, agency, court, court-martial,
officer or civil, military, or naval commission in connection with any matter in which
the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest; or
Demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting, or agreeing to receive or accept any compensation
for any representational services, as agent or attorney or otherwise in relation to
any proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract,
claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter in which
the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest, before any
department, agency, court, court-martial, officer or civil, military or naval commission.
Example 1: SSA claims representative Sue’s neighbor, Bob, is a veteran who sustained
injuries during active military duty. Bob would like to apply for Social Security
Disability Insurance Benefits. Sue is prohibited from representing Bob at his SSA
administrative hearing because this would be a representation before a Federal agency
in connection with a matter in which the United States has a direct and substantial
interest. Similarly, SSA would prohibit Sue from representing Bob at a Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative hearing for VA benefits for the same reasons.
Example 2: SSA assistant district manager, Juan, is president of his local Parent-Teacher
Association (PTA). Juan and the other PTA board members have decided that their organization
should submit a funding application to the U.S. Department of Education to help modernize
the school library. Though Juan could help draft the application or could direct others
to do so, he could not be the one to sign the application, as he would then be acting
as an agent for the PTA in front of a Federal agency in connection with a matter in
which the United States has a direct and substantial interest.
Example 3: Prior to joining SSA as an attorney-advisor for ODAR, Gloria worked as
an attorney for a law firm specializing in representing Social Security Disability
claimants. While at the law firm, Gloria represented Social Security Disability claimant,
Han, whose claim was still pending when Gloria left the firm to join SSA. After Gloria
began working for SSA, an ALJ issued a favorable decision and awarded Han benefits.
Gloria is prohibited from now seeking or receiving attorney fees related to Han’s
disability claim under section (A)(3) above.