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Representatives' Fees

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

2018. Representatives' Fees

2018.1 Who sets the fees for representatives' services?

We must authorize the amount of any fee that an attorney or other person may charge and collect from you for services performed as a representative in dealings with us.

2018.2 How does SSA authorize fees?

We have two methods of authorizing representative's fees: The (1) fee agreement and (2) fee petition processes.

If you and your representative elect to use the fee agreement process, you must file a written agreement with us before the date on which we make a favorable determination or decision on the claim. We usually approve the fee agreement if:

  1. Both you and your representative have signed it;

  2. The fee specified in the agreement does not exceed 25 percent of the past-due benefits or $5,300, whichever is less;

  3. Our determination or decision in the claim is fully or partially favorable; and

  4. The claim results in past-due benefits.

2018.3 When does SSA approve or disapprove the fee agreement?

We approve or disapprove the fee agreement at the time we make a favorable determination or decision on a claim. We then notify you and your representative of the determination on the fee agreement.

2018.4 If SSA disapproves the fee agreement, can the claimant request review?

If we disapprove the fee agreement, you and your representative have 15 days after the date of receiving notice of the disapproval to request review of the determination.

2018.5 If SSA approves the fee agreement, what actions take place?

If we approve the fee agreement, we notify you, your representative, and the SSA employee who approved the fee agreement (the decision maker) of:

  1. The amount of the past-due benefits;

  2. The amount of the past-due benefits payable to you;

  3. The amount of the fee that the representative may charge and collect; and

  4. An explanation that, within 15 days after the date of receiving the notice, you, your representative, or the decision maker may ask us to review the amount of the fee.

2018.6 If the determination or decision on the claim is unfavorable or SSA does not approve the fee agreement, how can a representative charge a fee?

If the determination or decision on the claim is unfavorable or we do not approve the fee agreement, the representative must file a fee petition if he or she wishes to charge and collect a fee.

2018.7 When must the fee petition be filed?

If the representative uses the fee petition process, he or she must file a petition with us after completing his or her services on a claim. The representative should submit the petition for a fee for services rendered as soon as possible after he or she completes all proceedings.

2018.8 Does the claimant receive a copy of the fee petition?

Yes, the representative must also send a copy of the fee petition to you.

2018.9 Where can the fee petition form be obtained?

Any Social Security office has a form available, listing all the required information to petition for a fee. Form SSA-1560, petition to Obtain Approval of a Fee for Representing a Claimant, also is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-1560.pdf.

2018.10 When does SSA set the fee?

When we receive the petition from the representative stating the amount of the fee requested and giving a detailed description of services rendered with the amount of time spent on each service, we will set the amount of the fee.

2018.11 What is the basis for the authorized fee?

We use several factors to determine the amount of the fee authorized under the fee petition process. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. The extent and type of services the representative performed;

  2. The complexity of the case; and

  3. The amount of time the representative spent on the case.

2018.12 What information does SSA provide about the fee?

We notify both you and your representative of the fee authorized under the fee petition process, and give a complete explanation of how we determined the amount of the fee.

2018.13 Can the claimant request a review of the fee?

You or your representative may request a review of the fee determined under a fee petition within 30 days after receipt of the notice.

Last Revised: Jul. 26, 2005

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