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.
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:
Both you and your representative have signed it;
The fee specified in the agreement does not exceed 25 percent of the past-due benefits or $5,300, whichever is less;
Our determination or decision in the claim is fully or partially favorable; and
The claim results in past-due benefits.
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.
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.
If we approve the fee agreement, we notify you, your representative, and the SSA employee who approved the fee agreement (the decision maker) of:
The amount of the past-due benefits;
The amount of the past-due benefits payable to you;
The amount of the fee that the representative may charge and collect; and
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.
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.
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.
Yes, the representative must also send a copy of the fee petition to you.
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.
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.
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:
The extent and type of services the representative performed;
The complexity of the case; and
The amount of time the representative spent on the case.
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.
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
Social Security Handbook