I-1-2-112.Exhibit - ALJ or AAJ Incorrectly Approved Fee Agreement

Last Update: 1/28/03 (Transmittal I-1-44)

  1. Sample Language for Order Disapproving Fee Agreement

  2. Sample Letter to the Representative Transmitting Order Disapproving Fee Agreement

A. Sample Language for Order Disapproving Fee Agreement

The (Administrative Law Judge/Administrative Appeals Judge) previously approved the fee agreement between the claimant and (his/her) representative. However, the fee agreement does not meet the statutory requirements of §§ 206(a)(2)(A) and 1631(d)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act because:

[Only include those that apply]

  • the Social Security Administration did not receive the written agreement before the (Administrative Law Judge/Administrative Appeals Judge) decided the claim.

  • the claimant and (his/her) representative did not sign the fee agreement.

  • the fee agreement sets a fee that is more than the lesser of 25 percent of the past-due benefits or $6,000.

  • the fee agreement sets a minimum fee.

    or

  • the fee agreement is excepted from the process. The reason it is excepted is

    [Only include those that apply]

    • the claimant appointed more than one representative from a law firm or other business; all did not sign a single fee agreement; and the non-signing representative(s) did not waive charging or collecting a fee.

    • the claimant appointed representatives who are not members of a single law firm or other business and the representatives from the other firm(s) or business(es) did not waive charging and collecting a fee.

    • the claimant discharged a representative or a representative withdrew from the case before the claim was favorably decided, and that representative did not waive charging and collecting a fee.

    • the representative died before SSA issued a favorable decision.

    • a State court declared the claimant legally incompetent and the claimant's legal guardian did not sign the agreement.

Therefore, I do not approve the fee agreement. Because SSA cannot process the representative's fee under the fee agreement process, the claimant's representative must file a fee petition if (he/she) wants to charge and collect a fee.

[Use when the representative is an attorney and SSA is still withholding past-due benefits.]

If the claimant's lawyer wants us to pay the fee from the claimant's withheld benefits, (he/she) should submit a fee petition to (official authorized to act on fee petition) within 60 days of the date of this order.

B. Sample Letter to the Representative Transmitting Order Disapproving Fee Agreement

On   (1)  , (Administrative Law Judge/Administrative Appeals Judge)   (2)    signed an order approving the fee agreement in this case. However, [Reason for disapproval: (e.g., the claimant is not legally competent to enter into a binding agreement/the fee agreement does not meet the statutory requirements of §§ 206(a)(2)(A) and 1631(d)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act)]. Therefore, the Social Security Administration cannot process your fee under the fee agreement process.

I have enclosed an order disapproving the fee agreement. You must file a fee petition if you intend to charge and collect a fee. I have enclosed a fee petition for your convenience.

I am sending a copy of my order to (Administrative Law Judge   (3)   /the Attorney Fee Branch) and requesting that (he/she/they) expedite the action on your fee petition. [If attorney representative has already received direct payment based on the approved fee agreement: (After the (Administrative Law Judge/Attorney Fee Branch) acts on your fee petition, we will notify you how this action affects the payment you have already received from the claimant's past-due benefits.)]

I sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused you and your client.

Signature
(Name and title of CALJ,RCALJ, or Deputy Chair)

Enclosures

cc: (Claimant's name)

Fill-ins:

  1. Date of ALJ's or AAJ's Order Approving Fee Agreement

  2. Name of ALJ or AAJ

  3. Name of ALJ