Florida attorney and ASNP Advisory Board member David Lillesand has recently drafted a monograph describing the Social Security Administration’s fee approval system and its impact on special needs planners.

Most special needs planners who prepare (d)(4)(A) trusts or (d)(4)(C) joinder agreements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries probably don’t apply to the SSA for fee approval.  In his monograph, Lillesand lays out the case for why this could be problematic, tracing the history of the SSA fee approval process back to the 1960’s. In his monograph, Lillesand describes the situations that clearly don’t require fee approval as well as cases where it is absolutely necessary to obtain the SSA’s permission before charging a fee.  He argues that absent clear guidance from the SSA when it comes to special needs planning for SSI beneficiaries, practitioners are forced to “take action (or not) based on their own comfort level” when it comes to the decision to request fee approval from the SSA.   

For those practitioners who are interested in having fees approved by the SSA, either in connection with a Social Security advocacy practice or a special needs planning context, Lillesand outlines, in great detail, the pertinent portions of the law and their application to the fee approval process.  He also discusses the two methods of obtaining fee approval and the pros and cons of each, and provides resources for practitioners who are looking for more information about the SSA’s fee approval process.

To read Lillesand’s monograph in the ASNP Knowledge Bank, click here.