Identification Number:
GN 03930 TN 19
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:OARO OAO
Title:Fee Authorization Under the Fee Petition Process
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 039 – Representation and Representative's Fee
Subchapter 30 – Fee Authorization Under the Fee Petition Process
Transmittal No. 19, 01/13/2021

Audience

PSC: BA, CA, DS, ICDS, IES, ILPDS, IPDS, ISRA, PETE, RECONR, SCPS;
OCO-OEIO: BIES, BTE, CIES, CR, CTE, PETL, RECONR, RECOVR;
OCO-ODO: BTE, CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE, DS, PETE, PETL, RCOVTA, RECOVR;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OAO

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

We are making changes to the current policy and procedure as noted in the summary of changes.

Summary of Changes

GN 03930.020 Petitioning for Approval of a Fee for Services Provided in Proceedings Before SSA

In addition to the specific changes noted below, we changed references from SSA to “Us” or “We” where appropriate, and we made numerous editorial changes throughout.

Subsection A
We clarified that former representatives may file fee petitions only when they have not waived their fee. We emphasized with an “IMPORTANT” label that the appointed representative must personally file the fee petition. We changed the word “claim” to “claim, matter, or issue” for consistency with GN 03910.001B, which defines this term.

Subsection B
We removed introductory text regarding the requirement that each representative who wants to collect a fee must file a fee petition. Similar language is already found in subsection B.1.b (now updated to B.2.) regarding co-representation.

Subsection B.1
We changed the heading of subsection B.1 from “Claimant Appointed One or More as Representative” to “Representative’s associate provided services” because this subsection included information on unappointed “associates” in addition to properly appointed co-representatives. We have removed B.1.a. and B.1.b. to devote all of subsection B.1. to unappointed associates.

We replaced “another person” and “assistant” with the phrase “unappointed associate” for consistency with GN 03910.025B.1.

In the parenthetical citations to GN 03910.025 and GN 03305.025, we clarified that these POMS sections concerned disclosure of a claimant’s record.

Subsection B.1.a
We removed this subsection with the contents of subsection B.1.a. placed in B.1. as described above.

Subsection B.1.b
We removed this subsection and now refer to it as B.2. We moved the contents of B.1.b. to B.2. We modified language previously mentioning agreements “between the two representatives.” We removed references to a specific number of co-representatives, which clarifies that any number of representatives could be working together.

Subsection B.2
We now refer to subsection B.2. as subsection C because it concerns representation of multiple parties, which is a separate concern from multiple representatives discussed in subsection B. We modified and expanded on the language in this section to provide an example of the potential fee petitions that would need to be filed in a case with multiple parties. We also used the term “multiple parties” in place of “claimants” to clarify that we are referring to any individual who is a party to a case.

Subsection C
We now refer to subsection C as subsection D due to the reorganization described above. We changed all references from form SSA-1560-U4 to form SSA-1560 and added hyperlinks to form SSA-1560.

Subsection C.1.a
We now refer to subsection C.1.a. as D.1.a. We removed a citation to GN 03930.020C.3. because it is already referenced more appropriately in subsection C.1.b. (now referred to as D.1.b.).

Subsection C.2
We now refer to subsection C.2. as D.2. We removed a reference to Social Security Ruling 83-27 because that ruling only concerns attorney representatives while this POMs section concerns both attorney and non-attorney representatives.

We removed a reference to GN 03930.010B about determining the amount of a reasonable fee, because it is not entirely relevant to this subsection which concerns only the number of petitions required in a concurrent case.

Subsection C.3 to C.6
We now refer to subsections C.3. to C.6. as D.3. to D.6. respectively. We made minor editorial changes throughout these subsections.

Subsection C.7
We now refer to subsection C.7. as D.7. We emphasized with an “IMPORTANT” label that representatives cannot submit multiple fee petitions for the same services on a single case.

Subsection C.8
We now refer to subsection C.8. as D.8. We made minor editorial changes in this subsection.

Subsection C.9
We now refer to subsection C.9. as D.9. We removed an introductory paragraph explaining that the representative could file at any office while simultaneously indicating our preference for certain offices based on the level of adjudication. This paragraph is unnecessary because the bullet points in this subsection sufficiently describe where to file. We include the word “should” when describing the filing requirement in each bullet point to emphasize that while not technically mandatory, it is the preferred office for sending the fee petition at that particular level of adjudication. We also removed the suite number for the Office of Appellate Operations mailing address.

GN 03930.020 Petitioning for Approval of a Fee for Services Provided in Proceedings Before SSA

A. Who may file a fee petition?

The representative, whom the claimant properly appointed in a claim before us, may file a fee petition unless:

  • the representative was previously authorized to receive a fee for services on that claim, matter, or issue based on an approved fee agreement, or

  • the representative submitted a contingency fee contract (i.e., agreed to charge and collect a fee only if we favorably decide the claim, matter, or issue) and our decision is unfavorable.

Except in the above circumstances, any properly appointed representative may request a fee for the services he or she actually provided in a claim, matter, or issue before us using the fee petition process. Former appointed representatives may file fee petitions only when they did not waive their fees.

IMPORTANT: The appointed representative must file the fee petition personally. We will not accept or process fee petitions submitted by a firm or other entity or persons on behalf of the appointed representative, including fee petitions submitted with a power of attorney. We will return those fee petitions to the appointed representative(s). We will annotate the document to alert the appointed representative that we will not take any action until he or she submits a fee petition personally.

Refer to GN 03930.020D.6 if the representative dies before filing a petition.

B. Multiple individuals provided services

1. Representative's associate provided services

A representative may delegate certain tasks to an unappointed associate whom the representative supervises and directs, as explained in GN 03910.025. (GN 03910.025 and GN 03305.025 discuss disclosure of a claimant’s record). The representative files a single fee petition that includes the services of the unappointed associate.

2. Co-representation

A claimant may appoint multiple representatives (refer to GN 03910.040D). An agreement between the representatives about the fee does not control our fee authorization under the fee petition process. Each appointed representative must file a separate fee petition to obtain our approval of any fee for services he or she actually performed.

C. Multiple parties represented

Representatives who provided services for multiple parties in the same case must file separate fee petitions for each party. For example, in a title II claim, the representative must file a fee petition for the claimant and a fee petition for each auxiliary beneficiary who is not independently represented. In a title XVI claim, the representative must file a fee petition for the claimant and a separate fee petition for the claimant’s spouse who is not independently represented.

D. Filing the fee petition

1. Format of petition

a. Form SSA-1560

A representative may petition for fee approval using form SSA-1560 , "Petition For Authorization To Charge And Collect A Fee For Services Before The Social Security Administration."

b. Another written form

A representative may also petition for fee approval by providing the required information in writing, as detailed in GN 03930.020D.3. through D.5.

2. Fee petition for concurrent case

A representative files one fee petition covering all of the services provided in connection with both the titles II and XVI programs when all of the following circumstances apply:

  • The concurrent titles II and XVI claims, or post-entitlement or post-eligibility (PE) actions, involved a common substantive issue (e.g., disability);

  • Although some services may have been unique to the title II claim, the title XVI claim or the PE action, most of the representative's services focused on resolving the common issue, and the representative did not perform different sets of services in most respects; and

  • The services the representative provided led to favorable determinations or decisions under both titles.

3. Information required for fee petition

The representative must furnish all of the following information in the petition:

  • The dates services began and ended;

  • The services provided (e.g., preparation of correspondence, research, travel and attendance at the hearing);

  • The amount of time spent on each type of service;

    EXAMPLE:

    1/3/18

    Meeting with client (.5 hr.)

    1/7/18

    Telephone calls with client and claims representative (.25 hr.)

    1/8/18

    Preparation of brief (1.75 hr.)

  • The amount of the fee the representative wants to charge for the services;

  • The amount of the fee the representative has received or wants to request or charge for services provided in the same matter before any State or Federal court;

  • The amount of money, if any, the representative received, or expects to receive, toward payment of the fee from a third party, or from the claimant, and whether any money received from a third party or the claimant is held in a trust or escrow account;

  • The amount(s), and a list, of any expenses the representative incurred for which he or she has been paid or expects to be paid; and

  • A statement affirming that the representative sent a copy of the petition and any attachment(s) to the claimant.

4. Additional requirement - non-attorney representative

We may ask a non-attorney representative to furnish a description of the special qualifications that enabled him or her to provide the claimant with valuable help with his or her claim. We may ask for this information whether the non-attorney representative used form SSA-1560 or another written form.

5. Additional requirement - legal guardian

As GN 03920.010 explains, an appointed representative who is also a legal guardian, committee, conservator, or other State court-appointed representative also must furnish copies of:

  • his or her fee request to the court;

  • his or her accounting to the court; and

  • either the court's declination to order a fee, or the court's order(s) of fees for his or her services as legal guardian during the same period in which the representative provided services in proceedings before us.

We will require this information whether the representative used form SSA-1560 or another written form.

6. Representative dies before filing a fee petition

If the representative dies before filing a fee petition, only the executor of the deceased’s estate, or the individual recognized by the State as the representative of the estate, may request authorization of a fee for services the decedent provided to the claimant in proceedings before us.

NOTE: If the representative dies before we make direct payment to the representative, we may issue the payment only to the executor or other individual recognized by the State as the representative of the deceased representative’s estate.

7. When to file

a. General

The representative files the fee petition only after completion of services for the claimant and any auxiliary beneficiaries in a title II claim or the claimant and the claimant’s eligible spouse in a title XVI couples claim. The representative who has ended services may file the petition before we effectuate a determination or decision (GN 03910.060 discusses when a representative's appointment ends).

IMPORTANT: A representative cannot submit multiple fee petitions for the same services on a single case even if additional past-due benefits are payable.

b. Direct payment consideration

There is no time limit for filing a fee petition. However, in order to obtain direct payment of all or part of an authorized fee from withheld past-due benefits, the representative who is eligible for direct payment should file the petition, or a written notice of the intent to petition, within 60 days of the date of the first notice of the favorable determination or decision. Refer to

EXAMPLE: There are multiple claims on one account, and the representative does not expect to complete his services and petition within 60 days of the date of the first notice of favorable determination. In order to obtain direct payment, he should file (within the 60-day period) a written notice of intent to petition when his services have ended.

8. How to file

The representative must give the claimant a copy of the petition and any attachment(s) before filing the original with the appropriate office per GN 03930.020D.9.

The representative may use the PDF form SSA-1560. After completing the form, the representative will:

  • send the claimant a copy,

  • file the original with us, and

  • retain a copy for his or her records.

9. Where to file

  • If a Federal court or the Appeals Council issued the decision, the representative should send the fee petition for administrative services to:

    Office of Appellate Operations
    ATTN: Attorney Fee Branch
    5107 Leesburg Pike
    Falls Church, VA 22041-3255
  • If an administrative law judge (ALJ) issued the decision, the representative should send the petition to the ALJ, using the hearing office address on the decision.

  • If we made a title II only or concurrent titles II and XVI determination at the initial or reconsideration level, the representative should send the petition to the processing center (PC) address that appears at the top right of the claimant's title II notice (e.g., the notice of award or notice of disapproved claim).

  • If we made a title XVI only determination, the representative should send the petition to the servicing field office (FO).

    NOTE: The servicing FO will forward the fee petition and the title XVI claims file to the servicing PC. For authorization of the fee and routing, refer to:

    • GN 03930.015 - Responsibility for Authorizing Fees Under the Fee Petition Process for Services Provided in Proceedings Before SSA - Jurisdiction


GN 03930 TN 19 - Fee Authorization Under the Fee Petition Process - 1/13/2021