Your source for news affecting the U.S. Social Security Administration/© Charles T. Hall
Requirements for Direct Payment to Non-Attorney RepresentativesThe Social Security Disability Applicants' Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010, Public Law No. 111-142 permanently extends fee withholding to all eligible non-attorney representatives. Section 206 (e) of the Social Security Act (Act) Social Security Act §206 [42 U.S.C.406] (e) sets forth prerequisites that non-attorney representatives must satisfy in order to receive direct payment of fees. Non-attorney representatives must possess a bachelor's degree or equivalent qualifications, pass a written examination administered by the Social Security Administration, secure professional liability insurance or equivalent, undergo a criminal background check, and complete continuing education courses. Current StatusWe selected CPS HR Consulting as the contractor to administer the examination and to ensure non-attorney representatives meet and maintain the requirements for direct fee payment. EDPNA ExaminationFor detailed information about the examination, please go to CPS HR Consulting’s Website.Requirements for Current EDPNAsFor detailed information about ongoing requirements for current EDPNAs (i.e., Continuing Education courses), please go to CPS HR Consulting’s Website.How do I update my address and telephone number?You must update your address/phone or payment information through the SSA-1699 process. Submitting a completed Form SSA-1699. You should continue to notify your local field office of any phone or address changes. In addition, submit your address, phone, or name changes to CPS HR Consulting.NOTE: If you have already registered for direct payment and your registration information has not changed, you do not need to submit a new or updated Form SSA-1699.
I have seen several non-attorney reps use the "EDPNA" letters after their name, e.g., "Sam Smith, EDPNA"
Yes, for a number of years the good folks at NADR have been encouraging members to use this acronym behind the representative's name. But to stand out even more from "run o' the mill" EDPNAs they are now encouraging the use of the acronym ADR (accredited disability representative.)Membership often is up in arms over the fact that to be come an EDPNA they must take and pass an examination, whereas attorneys merely must be a member of any bar. I have always preferred taverns.
Been around since demo project in 2005. Made law in 2011. As a Board Member of National Association of Disability Representatives, I deal with scores of EDPNAs every day. We also have many attorney members. All EDPNA's I know are professionals, who take their advocacy seriously. A grueling 2 hour exam is required that many of my attorney friends would have failed. Also, ongoing CEU's. Most of us are former employees of SSA or their related support cadre; (Field Offices, DDS, ODAR, Vocational Experts, etc.) I worked 34 years in a FO before beginning advocacy. We have lobbied SSA to change that acronym, which merely describes what we are NOT (attorneys), but the term is in the regs so unlikely to change.
@9:56:Attorneys must pass a grueling state Bar examination, which lasts two full days, 8 hours each day. Prior there to, Attorneys must pass three grueling years of law school, which I can only describe as something akin to academic boot camp US Marine style. Compare this to your two hour EDPNA exam, and think again about whether Attorneys could pass such an exam,
I am a EDPNA, but don't use the initials after my name because I think it would be confusing. Also of note, the exam requires a $1000 application fee and is held once yearly, usually in Baltimore. Applicants from all over (California, Puerto Rico, etc.) have to travel to Baltimore for the exam, which is very challenging. I passed on the first time, but for those who don't you have to wait another year and pay another $1000. For me, the most challenging part of becoming eligible was obtaining professional liability insurance as many companies don't understand what a non-attorney disability representative does. Overall, this work is rewarding and worth the effort.
Granted, attorneys take a Bar exam -- but that covers general topics. Most attorneys know nothing about Federal administrative law in general, and social security law in particular. This is a specialized area of law, and unless an attorney takes the time to study it, a non-attorney rep may well know more about social security regs and practice. i've seen non-attorney reps who are very, very good, and I've seen attorney reps who "know nothing" (in the immortal words of Sgt. Schultz).
@12:33From 9:56 - Yes I certainly agree with you. Law School and Bar exams are absolutely more "grueling" than a 2 hour exam, and I have great respect for and deference to those who've survived it. And yes MOST attorneys I know, who practice in the SSA area, could absolutely pass the EDPNA exam. But a few couldn't, and no one who has 30 years of law school and law practice could match the "technical" expertise of someone with 30 years of SSA employee experience. All of which is but to say there are some very effective and professional non-attorneys in this practice. Attorneys will continue to provide most of the representation on SSA cases, and for most of the time, in most of the cases, from most of the attorneys -- that's a good thing.
There are some truly qualified EDPNA’s out there. I don’t think it’s fair to make assumptions about anyone’s qualifications, attorney or not. That said, the thing that really frustrates me about EDPNA’s is that they’re not bound by the same ethical rules as attorneys. It’s especially concerning that they’re not bound by MRPC 1.5 on Fees and 7.2/3 on Advertising/Solicitation of Clients. So I went through 3 years of law school, passed the bar and ethics exams, and yet those who haven’t are able to simply ignore the ethical rules I need to follow? Why? SSA could address this in their regs, but afaik haven’t.
EDPNA's are required to take some ethics units to stay qualified for withholding of direct pay. That said, I see no problem with requiring that they do follow the same ethics and rules that an attorney must follow.I just don't see why there must be a divide between non-attorneys and attorneys representing disability clients. We all have the same problems with difficult judges and rules that are frequently being re-written to make life difficult for our claimants.
12:33, Having gone through both law school and the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, I have to say that the difference is the positive reinforcement one gets from the drill instructors.
It's a 3 hour exam.
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