I-1-2-53.Filing a Fee Petition
Last Update: 2/25/05 (Transmittal I-1-48)
A. Who May File
The person, either an attorney or a qualified non-attorney (HALLEX I-1-1-2 B), whom the claimant appointed in writing to act on their behalf in pursuing a claim or asserted right before the Social Security Administration (SSA) may file a fee petition unless:
the representative previously was authorized to receive a fee for services on that claim 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 SSA favorably decides the claim) and SSA's decision is unfavorable.
Except in the above circumstances, any duly appointed representative may request a fee for the services the representative actually provided in pursing the claimant's benefit rights in proceedings before SSA. If a representative delegates certain tasks, such as developing the claimant's medical record, to another person whom the representative supervises and directs, the representative files a single fee petition which includes the services of the unappointed assistant. However, services of another person who actually served as the claimant's representative at a hearing (whether appointed or not) may not be included in the fee petition. That person must file their own fee petition, requesting a fee for any services they performed in representing the claimant. (See HALLEX I-1-2-12 C.3.b.)
If the claimant appointed more than one representative, each representative who wants to charge and collect a fee for their services must file a fee petition and request a fee for the services they performed.
If a representative works or worked for a firm or corporation, neither the firm nor anyone else in the firm may file a petition on behalf of the appointed representative.
SSA cannot accept a fee petition filed by another person even if the appointed representative has signed a power of attorney specifically authorizing another person to file a fee petition with SSA on the representative's behalf. See POMS GN 03930.020A.
B. When to File
The representative files the petition for fee approval only after the representative has completed providing services for the claimant and any auxiliary beneficiaries. If the representative acted on the claimant's behalf in both obtaining a partially favorable determination or decision and is appealing the unfavorable aspect of that determination or decision, the representative's services do not end until the appealed issues are resolved. The representative who has ended their services may file the petition before SSA effectuates a determination or decision.
If the representative's services have not ended, authorization should be delayed. See HALLEX I-1-2-56 A.3. for procedures when delaying authorization. Multiple authorizations based on multiple fee petitions for the same services are not appropriate, even if additional past-due benefits are available.
1. Representative Eligible for Direct Fee Payment Waives Direct Payment From Past-Due Benefits
There is no time limit within which a representative must petition.
2. Representative Eligible for Direct Fee Payment Has Not Waived Direct Payment of a Fee From Past-Due Benefits
To obtain direct payment of all or part of an authorized fee withheld from title II and title XVI past-due benefits, the representative who is eligible for direct fee payment should file the petition, or a written notice of their intent to petition, within 60 days after the date of the first notice of favorable decision.
C. Where to File
Although the representative may file at any SSA office, generally the representative files the petition with the SSA office shown below.
If an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued the title II or concurrent title II and title XVI decision, the representative sends the petition to the ALJ using the hearing office address. In title XVI only cases, the representative sends the petition to the appropriate FO.
If the Appeals Council issued the decision, the representative sends the petition to:Social Security Administration
Office of Appellate Operations
Attn: Attorney Fee Branch
6401 Security Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21235-6401
D. 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 SSA office. If the representative uses the SSA-1560-U4 (Petition to Obtain Approval of a Fee for Representing a Claimant before the Social Security Administration), a four-part snap-out form, the representative:
sends the claimant the “Claimant's Copy,”
files the original “File Copy” and the “OHO Copy” or “OARO copy”, as appropriate, with the appropriate SSA office, and
retains the “Representative's Copy.”