An attorney or other representative who wants to charge or collect a fee for services rendered in connection with a claim before the Security Administration (SSA) is required by law to first obtain SSA's approval of the fee.

The only exceptions are when:

  • A third-party entity, which includes but is not limited to nonprofit organizations or government agencies, pays the fee and any expenses from its own funds and the claimant incurs no liability, directly or indirectly, for the cost of such services and expenses; and
  • The representative submits to us a Form SSA-1696-U4 (or a written statement) waiving the right to charge and collect a fee and expenses from the claimant or any auxiliary beneficiaries; or
  • A court authorizes a fee for services rendered as a legal guardian or a court-appointed representative.

A representative who has rendered services in a claim before both SSA and a court of law may seek a fee from either or both, but generally neither tribunal has the authority to set a fee for services rendered before the other.

To charge and collect a fee for services, the representative must use one of two mutually exclusive fee approval processes:

  • The fee agreement process; or
  • The fee petition process.

(For further information about these processes, see Representing Social Security Claimants.)

Using The Fee Petition Process

If the representative elects to use the fee petition process, the representative must file a fee petition with SSA. The representative can use

Petition to Obtain Approval of a Fee For Representing a Claimant Before the Social Security Administration, Form SSA-1560

Instructions for completing the Form SSA-1560, are included with the PDF version of the form.

If you use the fee petition process, you should request fee approval only after you complete all services for the claimant and any auxiliaries. You have the option to petition either before or after Social Security effectuates the determination(s).