To cover administrative costs, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 required that we charge an assessment, also called a “user fee” or “service charge,” to an attorney who receives his or her fee via direct payment from us. This applied to a title II claim and the title II fee payable on concurrent titles II and XVI claims. This did not apply to title XVI because direct payment of an attorney's fee was a service not yet available for title XVI claims. Direct payments resulting from fees authorized under the fee petition and fee agreement processes became subject to the assessment when we favorably decided the case after January 31, 2000. As of February 1, 2000, legislation set the user fee rate at 6.3 percent. The user fee rate remained at 6.3 percent through August, 31, 2004.
On March 2, 2004, the President signed into law the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) (Public Law 108-203). Section 301 of the SSPA amended section 206(d)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act by:
capping the assessment at a flat-rate dollar amount or 6.3% of the fee payment, whichever is lower, effective September 1, 2004; and
adjusting the flat-rate cap based on annual cost-of-living adjustments rounded down to the next lower $1 beginning December 1, 2006.
The current flat-rate assessment amount effective December 1, 2020 is $98.00.
The flat rate assessment amount was $97.00 effective December 1, 2019.
The flat rate assessment amount was $95.00 effective December 1, 2018.
The flat rate assessment amount was $93.00 effective December 1, 2017.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $91.00 effective December 1, 2014.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $89.00 effective December 1, 2013.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $88.00 effective December 1, 2012.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $86.00 effective December 1, 2011.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $83.00 effective December 1, 2008.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $79.00 effective December 1, 2007.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $77.00 effective December 1, 2006.
The flat-rate assessment amount was $75.00 effective September 1, 2004.
The SSPA extended the title II fee payment provisions, including the assessment charge, to title XVI and authorized direct payment to eligible non-attorney representatives effective February 28, 2005. See GN 03920.017, Payment of the Representative's Fee.