I-1-1-57.Common Issues After a Suspension or Disqualification
Last Update: 3/29/13 (Transmittal I-1-63)
Social Security Act §§206(a)(1) and 1631(d)(2)(A)
A. Fee Issues
A claimant cannot appoint a suspended or disqualified representative, and a suspended or disqualified representative may not charge or collect a fee for representational services performed on or after the effective date of his or her suspension or disqualification. A representative may be entitled to payment for services provided before his or her suspension or disqualification, but the representative cannot receive direct payment of those fees on or after the effective date of the suspension or disqualification. Therefore, collection of the authorized fee is a matter between the representative and the claimant. See Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 03920.017A.
1. Fee Agreement
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not recognize a suspended or disqualified representative. SSA will disapprove a suspended or disqualified representative's fee agreement if the claim is favorably decided on or after the effective date of the representative's suspension or disqualification.
2. Fee Petition
A suspended or disqualified representative may petition SSA to authorize a fee for services provided before the effective date of the suspension or disqualification. Since a representative may not legally provide services on or after the effective date of a suspension or disqualification, he or she may not petition for a fee for any work performed on a claim on or after the effective date of the suspension or disqualification.
B. Communicating Representative Suspensions and Disqualifications
The hearing officer or the Appeals Council (AC) will promptly transmit any decision on charges following a hearing or AC review to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and to the representative against whom charges were brought. When a suspension or disqualification decision becomes final and binding, SSA components take the following actions.
OGC will notify all appropriate SSA components of the action. A copy of the decision will accompany the notification. When the suspended or disqualified representative is an attorney, OGC will provide a copy of the decision to the attorney's disciplinary authority in every State or Territory in which the attorney is known to be admitted to practice.
The representative's name will be posted to SSA's List of Sanctioned Representatives at http://odar.ba.ssa.gov/hq-components/odc/sanctioned-representatives. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review's Division of Electronic Services will update the representative's new status in the representative table that supplies information to the Case Processing and Management System (CPMS) and the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS).
Hearing offices (HO) and the AC must advise all of the sanctioned individual's clients with pending claims that SSA no longer recognizes the individual as a representative. At the hearing level, the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge will notify all regional offices (RO) of the sanction decision. The ROs will determine whether the sanctioned individual is appointed in any cases pending in the region. If cases are identified, the RO will notify the HO with jurisdiction over the pending cases. The HO will send a written notice to the claimant, enter the “End date” in the Representative Information screen in CPMS, and notify the field office (FO) of the change using a CPMS development electronic Assistance Request. At the AC level, the Executive Director's office will notify branches of any pending cases in which the sanctioned individual is appointed as representative. The branch chief will ensure written notice is sent to the claimant and that representation is ended in ARPS.
C. Attempts by Suspended or Disqualified Representatives to Act as Representatives for Claimants
If an individual who has been suspended or disqualified from acting as a representative subsequently attempts to act as a representative for claimants in any matter before SSA, staff must advise the individual in writing that SSA does not recognize him or her as a representative. If a claimant is involved, SSA staff must also notify the claimant that SSA does not recognize the individual as his or her representative. If the individual still insists on serving as a representative, SSA staff must refuse to recognize him or her and prepare a referral to OGC, following instructions in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law manual I-1-1-50 A.
See POMS GN 03970.060B for a discussion of indirect representation and the receipt of indirect fees by suspended or disqualified representatives.