NOSSCR (the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives) sent out a good reminder to its members recently by email: SSA will divide the authorized fee among all appointed representatives in the same firm.
Here is an excerpt of that reminder:
When a claimant appoints more than one concurrent representative in the same firm and the fee agreement is approved, SSA’s stated policy has long been to divide the authorized fee by the number of appointed representatives and to send a check of equal amount to each appointed representative who has not waived a fee, regardless of who has worked on the case. If one representative waives the fee, that portion of the fee will be sent to the claimant. See POMS GN 03940.009 and GN 03920.017. In the past, SSA rarely followed this procedure. For reasons unknown to us, SSA is now regularly following this rule.
If all appointed representatives are members of the same firm, and all sign the same fee agreement, the fee agreement will be approved. See HALLEX I-1-2-12. None of the representatives have to withdraw and no one should waive the fee, or their fractional share will be released to the claimant.
Because each portion of the fee is payable to the individual representative, be sure that each representative has submitted a 1699 form, and that the firm has submitted the 1694 form, and that a 1695 and 1696 form is submitted for each claim.
I have also noticed this change. When my colleague, Collette Cushing, attends a disability hearing, the fee is now divided between us, and we receive two checks. It was not that way until a few months ago.