I-1-2-55.Representative Is Eligible to Receive Direct Fee Payment - Effectuating Component and ODAR Actions Up to Receipt of Petition

Last Update: 2/28/05 (Transmittal I-1-48)

A. Effectuating Component's Actions After ALJ or AAJ Decision Issued

The effectuating component will:

  • Issue award notice.

    After effectuating a favorable title II and/or title XVI decision in a case in which the claimant was represented, the appropriate processing center (PC) or field office (FO) sends a copy of the Award Notice to the claimant and representative.

    The Award Notice informs the claimant and the representative of:

    • the amount of benefits due,

    • the amount withheld for the payment of a representative fee, and

    • in fee petition cases, the requirement that the representative eligible for direct fee payment file a fee petition in order to receive direct payment of a fee from withheld benefits.

  • Set a 60-day diary.

  • Follow-up by e-mail with the HO or AFB at the end of the 60-day diary period if it has not received a fee authorization or information that the representative was granted an extension of time. The PC or FO in title XVI only cases will send the e-mail message requesting status to the designated HO e- mail address or to the AFB at ¦¦¦S3GC41 OAO ATTY BR, as appropriate.

If an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued the favorable decision and the HO staff member designated as the PC or FO fee petition contact responds that it has not received a fee petition or waiver statement, and no extension has been requested or granted, the PC or FO will send the representative a 20-day closeout notice and diary the case for 45 days.

If the Appeals Council issued the favorable decision, the AFB will issue the close out notice. The PC or FO will diary the case 45 days.

At the end of the 45-day diary period, the PC or FO will send a message to the HO or AFB office to determine whether it should release the past-due benefits.

  • If ODAR has not received the fee petition or an indication that the representative has or will file a fee petition by the end of any extension of time granted, it immediately will advise the PC or FO to release the past-due benefits.

  • If ODAR has received or expects to receive a fee petition by the end of any extension of time granted, it will advise the PC or FO to continue to withhold.

B. ODAR Actions to Secure Fee Petition

1. 60 Days After Award Notice

If the claimant's representative is eligible for direct fee payment and, within 60 days of the award notice, the PC or FO does not receive the fee authorization or information that the representative was granted an extension of time, the PC or FO will contact the HO or the AFB by e-mail, and request the fee authorization or status of the fee petition.

The HO fee petition contact or the AFB will respond immediately by e-mail and advise the PC or FO whether they have received:

  • a fee petition and faxed the fee authorization to the PC or FO (see 3. below),

  • a fee petition and authorization is pending,

  • a statement of intent to petition and granted an extension of time to file,

  • a fee waiver statement or direct payment waiver statement, or

  • neither a petition nor a request for an extension to file one.

NOTE:

If the HO does not provide a timely response, the PC or FO will refer the matter to the Office of the Chief ALJ.

2. HO/AFB Received Fee Petition or Statement of Intent to File One

If the HO/AFB received a fee petition or a statement of intent to petition, it will:

  • advise the PC or FO when the ALJ/AFB expects to issue the fee authorization if the decision was issued more than 90 days before the petition was received;

  • enter the petition information into the Case Processing Management System (CPMS) or the Attorney Fee Tracking System, as appropriate; and

  • immediately begin processing the fee petition so that it can be forwarded to the PC or FO as soon as possible.

NOTE:

If the ALJ or Administrative Appeals Judge (AAJ) approved a fee agreement and the representative subsequently filed a fee petition, either on his/ her own initiative or in response to an erroneous notice from the PC or FO, refer to I-1-2-44 (A.).

3. Action Completed on Fee Petition

When the ALJ or AFB completes action on the fee petition, the HO or AFB will:

  • fax a copy of the Form SSA-1560A (Authorization to Charge and Collect a Fee) to the appropriate PC or the appropriate FO in title XVI only cases. PC fax numbers are provided in I-1-2-114 (A.). FO fax numbers can be accessed through the Detailed Office/Organization Resource System (DOORS). From the SSA Main Menu, select #2 (DOORS) and enter the field office code and

  • enter the information into the component's case control system as required.

4. Fee Petition Not Received

If the ALJ/AFB has not received any of the above documents, the HO/AFB should advise the PC or FO of this by e-mail in response to the request for status. For a case decided by an ALJ, the PC or FO then will send a close-out notice (see A. above). For a case decided at the AC level, the AFB will send a close-out notice (see 5. below).

5. Attorney Fee Branch and the Closeout Notice

If the AFB did not receive a fee petition or a statement of intent to petition within 60 days of the date of the decision, the AFB will send the representative a 20-day closeout letter advising the representative that:

  • He/she must file a fee petition or a written request for an extension of time if he/she intends to charge a fee, or to notify the AFB if he/she is waiving the fee.

  • SSA will release any withheld past-due benefits to the claimant if no petition or request for extension is received within the 20-day period.

  • The release of withheld benefits does not relieve the representative of the responsibility to petition if he/she later decides to charge a fee.

  • Attempting to collect a fee without obtaining SSA's authorization could place him/her in violation of section 206(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 406(a)) and the regulations (20 CFR 404.1740(c) and 416.1540(c)).

6. Release of Withheld Benefits

The PC or FO will release withheld past-due benefits to the claimant if the representative eligible for direct fee payment does not submit a fee petition or intent to file a petition and the PC's last diary date expires. THEREFORE, WHEN THE REPRESENTATIVE SUBMITS EITHER THE FEE PETITION OR A STATEMENT OF INTENT TO FILE A PETITION, THE HO OR AFB MUST IMMEDIATELY ADVISE THE PC OR FO TO PREVENT RELEASE OF PAST-DUE BENEFITS.