Subject: Representative Fees
This transmittal amends chapter I-1-2 of the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual to update and clarify instructions related to processing appointed representative's fees.
HALLEX I-1-2 is amended as follows:
I-1-2-6 – We changed the title to “Delegation of Authority for Initial Fee Authorization” to more accurately reflect changes made to the section.
I-1-2-6 A – We moved the information previously in subsection A to subsection B, added a new subsection A titled “Initial or Reconsideration Levels,” and referenced the Program Operations Manual System section for that delegation of authority.
I-1-2-6 B – We moved information previously in subsection B to subsection C, incorporated information previously in subsection A, and retitled the subsection “Hearing Level.” We made editorial and formatting changes throughout the subsection and removed information related to administrative reviews, replacing the information with citations to the HALLEX instructions addressing administrative reviews. We also made several substantive changes to the prior instructions. We clarified in B.1. that an administrative law judge (ALJ) takes no action on a fee agreement when issuing an unfavorable decision or dismissal order. We explained that when an attorney advisor issues a fully favorable decision, the attorney advisor has the authority to approve or disapprove the fee agreement. We also clarified in B.2. that, when multiple representatives request fees in the same case using the fee petition process, jurisdiction to authorize the fee depends on the cumulative total of all recommended fees.
I-1-2-6 C – We moved the information previously in subsection C to subsection D, incorporated information previously in subsection B, and retitled the subsection “AC Level.” We made editorial and formatting changes throughout the subsection and removed information related to administrative reviews, replacing the information with citations to the HALLEX instructions addressing administrative reviews. We added a reference in C.1. to the instructions related to tiered fee agreements and clarified that the AC takes no action on a fee agreement when denying review, or when issuing a remand, unfavorable decision, or dismissal order. In C.2., we explained in more detail the process the AC uses to authorize a fee under the fee petition process, and we clarified that there are no authorization limits at the AC level.
I-1-2-6 D – We consolidated the information previously in subsections C and D and titled the subsection “Federal Court.” We made editorial and formatting changes throughout the subsection. We also clarified in D.1. that, if a court fee is limited to services provided before the court, a representative may also request a fee from the Social Security Administration for administrative services provided before the agency.
I-1-2-11 – We reorganized the information for clarity and made editorial changes throughout the section. We removed some duplicate information already in HALLEX I- 1-2-12 or information that was incorporated in updated HALLEX I-1-2-6.
I-1-2-13 – We removed the section in its entirety because the information duplicated information in HALLEX I-1-2-6.
I-1-2-14 – We retitled the section “Appeals Council Reviews Fully or Partially Favorable Hearing Level Decision With Approved Fee Agreement” to more accurately reflect changes made to the section. We removed the information previously in subsection A because it duplicated instructions already in HALLEX I-1-2-12 and because the examples were unnecessary. We moved the information previously in subsection B to subsection A and amended the language to be consistent with the instruction in HALLEX I-1-2-11. We added new subsections B and C, inserting information previously in HALLEX I-1-2-15 B and further explaining the effect of a tiered fee agreement at the AC level.
I-1-2-15 – We moved some of the information previously in subsection B to HALLEX I-1-2-14 and removed other instructions that were outdated, inconsistent, or duplicated instructions in HALLEX I-1-2-6, I-1-2-11, and I- 1-2-14. We removed all subsection designations for the remaining information, and we made editorial and organizational changes to the information.
I-1-2-52 – We removed the section in its entirety because we moved most of the information to HALLEX I-1-2-71 and the remaining information duplicated HALLEX I- 1-2-6.
I-1-2-71 – We made editorial changes throughout the section. We added information previously in subsection C to a NOTE in subsection A, and we removed subsection C. In subsection B, we changed the title to “Dual Fee Authorization (Court and Administrative Fee)” for clarity and incorporated information previously in HALLEX I-1-2-52 that distinguished the types of services that are administrative and those that are considered before the court.
Date: July 22, 2016