Social Security Administration (SSA).
We are announcing that the assessment percentage rate under the Social Security Act (Act), is 6.3 percent for 2018.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jeffrey C. Blair, Associate General Counsel for Program Law, Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401.
Phone: (410) 965-3157, email Jeff.Blair@ssa.gov.
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A claimant may appoint a qualified individual as a representative to act on his or her behalf in matters before the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the claimant is entitled to past-due benefits and was represented either by an attorney or by a non-attorney representative who has met certain prerequisites, the Act provides that we may withhold up to 25 percent of the past-due benefits and use that money to pay the representative's approved fee directly to the representative.
When we pay the representative's fee directly to the representative, we must collect from that fee payment an assessment to recover the costs we incur in determining and paying representatives' fees. The Act provides that the assessment we collect will be the lesser of two amounts: A specified dollar limit; or the amount determined Start Printed Page 61809by multiplying the fee we are paying by the assessment percentage rate. (Sections 206(d), 206(e), and 1631(d)(2) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 406(d), 406(e), and 1383(d)(2).)
The Act initially set the dollar limit at $75 in 2004 and provides that the limit will be adjusted annually based on changes in the cost-of-living. (Sections 206(d)(2)(A) and 1631(d)(2)(C)(ii)(I) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 406(d)(2)(A) and 1383(d)(2)(C)(ii)(I).) The maximum dollar limit for the assessment currently is $93, as we announced in the Federal Register on October 30, 2017 (82 FR 50211).
The Act requires us each year to set the assessment percentage rate at the lesser of 6.3 percent or the percentage rate necessary to achieve full recovery of the costs we incur to determine and pay representatives' fees. (Sections 206(d)(2)(B)(ii) and 1631(d)(2)(C)(ii)(II) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 406(d)(2)(B)(ii) and 1383(d)(2)(C)(ii)(II).)
Based on the best available data, we have determined that the current rate of 6.3 percent will continue for 2018. We will continue to review our costs for these services on a yearly basis.
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Deputy Commissioner for Budget, Finance, and Management.
[FR Doc. 2017-28218 Filed 12-28-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4191-02-P