Identification Number:
GN 03930 TN 20
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:OARO OAO
Title:Fee Authorization Under the Fee Petition Process
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:
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. 20, 01/28/2021

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

 

Summary of Changes

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

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

In addition to the specific changes noted below, we removed the words “properly” and “appointed” when describing a representative, since by definition all representatives must be properly appointed. We also made other minor editorial changes including updating internal links due to reorganization of this section.

Subsection A - For organizational purposes, we moved language previously found in subsection D.7 to this subsection, which explains that a representative cannot submit multiple fee petitions for the same services on a single case.

Subsection B.1 - We added the word “unappointed” to the caption of this subsection to clarify that it concerns a representative’s unappointed associate.

Subsection D.3 - For organizational purposes and clarification, we moved the bullet item concerning the amount of money a representative received, or expects to receive, toward payment of a fee from a third party, or from the claimant to a NOTE following the bulleted items of this subsection. We also added language to that NOTE explaining that representatives are encouraged to provide this information.

For organizational purposes, we added a bullet item to this subsection by moving language previously found in subsection D.4 concerning a non-attorney representative’s description of special qualifications.

Subsection D.4 - This subsection was removed in its entirety and the language previously found in this subsection is now placed as a new bullet item in subsection D.3 as described above.

Subsection D.5 - This subsection was renumbered to D.4 based on the removal of D.4 noted above. The caption of the subsection was changed to “Fee request from a legal guardian”.

Subsections D.6 to D.8 - These subsections were renumbered based on the removal of D.4 noted above. We deleted the language previously found in subsection D.7, IMPORTANT and moved this language to subsection A, which explains that a representative cannot submit multiple fee petitions for the same services on a single case.

Subsection D.9 - This subsection was renumbered to D.8 based on removal of D.4 noted above. For each bullet item in this subsection we added additional clarification to describe which office will receive the fee petition if the representative’s services are terminated before the claim is resolved. These additional clarifications describe the agency’s existing practices and do not introduce new procedure or policy.

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 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 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. However, a representative cannot submit multiple fee petitions for the same services on a single case, even if additional past-due benefits become payable. Former representatives may file fee petitions only when they did not waive their fees.

IMPORTANT: The 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 representative, including fee petitions submitted with a power of attorney. We will return those fee petitions to the representative(s). We will annotate the document to alert the representative that we will not take any action until he or she submits a fee petition personally.

Refer to GN 03930.020D.5 if the representative dies before filing a petition.

B. Multiple individuals provided services

1. Representative's unappointed 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 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. and D.4.

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(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.

  • For non-attorney representatives, a description of the special qualifications that enabled him or her to provide the claimant with valuable help with his or her claim.

NOTE: To facilitate the fee petition process and ensure compliance with agency rules and regulations, we encourage representatives to provide 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.

4. Fee request from a legal guardian

As GN 03920.010 explains, a 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.

5. 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.

6. 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).

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, but the representative does not expect to complete his services and petition for a fee within 60 days of the date of the first notice of favorable determination. In order to obtain direct payment of an authorized fee, he should file (within the 60-day period) a written notice of intent to petition when his services have ended.

7. 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.8.

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.

8. Where to file

  • If a Federal court issues a decision that concludes a claim and requires no further adjudicative action from the agency (e.g. finding of disability), the claim is resolved by the Appeals Council, or the claim is pending at the Office of Appellate Operations when the representative's services ends, the representative should send the petition for fees for services performed before us to:

    Office of Appellate Operations
    ATTN: Attorney Fee Branch
    5107 Leesburg Pike
    Falls Church, VA 22041-3255
  • If an administrative law judge (ALJ) resolves the claim, the representative should send the petition to the ALJ, using the hearing office address on the decision. If the claim is pending at the Office of Hearing Operations when the representative's services ends, the representative should send the petition to the hearing office where the request for hearing was pending at the time the representative's services ended.

  • If we resolve a title II only or concurrent titles II and XVI claim at the initial or reconsideration level, the representative should send the petition to the processing center (PC) address that appears on the claimant's title II notice (e.g., the notice of award or notice of disapproved claim). If one of these claims is pending at the initial or reconsideration level when the representative's services ends, the representative should send the petition to the servicing PC.

  • If we resolve a title XVI only claim at the initial or reconsideration level, or the claim is pending at the initial or reconsideration level when the representative’s services ends, 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 20 - Fee Authorization Under the Fee Petition Process - 1/28/2021