Stovall v. Social Security Administration

Filing 30

ORDER, re 26 Order on Motion for Attorney Fees, directing the Commissioner to contact the Treasury Department to determine whether Plaintiff owes any debt to the Treasury Department's Offset Program as of the date of this Order. If Plaintiff owes any debt, the Commissioner shall pay the EAJA award to Plaintiff, deducting any offset owed. If Plaintiff does not owe a debt, the Commissioner shall make the EAJA award check payable directly to Plaintiff's attorney, Robert P. Young, & mail it to Mr. Young. Signed by Magistrate Judge Beth Deere on 11/30/2010. (jct)

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Stovall v. Social Security Administration Doc. 30 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT E A S T E R N DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS J O N E S B O R O DIVISION C H A R L E S SCOTT STOVALL V. CASE NO.: 3:08CV00175 BD PLAINTIFF M I C H A E L J. ASTRUE, Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT ORDER In an order filed November 3, 2010, this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for an A w a rd of Attorney's Fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA") in the amount o f $5,696.28. (docket entry #26) Plaintiff's counsel attached a copy of an "assignment of EAJA fee" he entered into w ith Plaintiff to a memorandum filed in response to this Court's November 3, 2010, o rd e r. (#27 at p.2) In the agreement, Plaintiff assigned his rights to any EAJA fees and c o s ts awarded in his case to his attorney, Robert Young, and asked that the payment of the f e e s and costs be made directly to his attorney. (#27 at p. 2) At the Court's request, the Commissioner has responded to the Plaintiff's request to have the fee award made payable directly to his counsel. The Commissioner, in his re s p o n s e , contests the validity of the assignment to the extent that it does not comply with th e Anti-Assignment Act, 31 U.S.C. 3727, which provides, among other things, that in o rd e r to be valid, an assignment must be made after a claim is allowed and the amount of 1 the claim is decided. (#28 at pp. 1-2) The Commissioner goes on, however, to state that " in an effort to work with Plaintiff's bar, the Commissioner has determined that, if there is no debt owed, the Commissioner will waive the requirements of the A-A Act and honor th e agreement between the plaintiff and her [sic] attorney by paying the EAJA award d ire c tly to the plaintiff's attorney."1 (#28 at p. 4) A c c o rd in g ly, the Court will honor the Plaintiff's assignment to the extent Plaintiff d o e s not owe any debts subject to administrative offset under the Treasury Department's O f f s e t Program ("TOP"). The Commissioner shall contact the Treasury Department to d e te rm in e whether Plaintiff owes any debt, as of the date of this order. If Plaintiff owes a n y debt under the TOP, the Commissioner shall pay the EAJA award to Plaintiff, d e d u c tin g any offset owed under the TOP. If Plaintiff does not, however, owe a debt u n d e r the TOP, the Commissioner shall make the EAJA award check payable directly to P la in tif f 's attorney, Robert P. Young, and mail it to Mr. Young. IT IS SO ORDERED this 30th day of November, 2010. ___________________________________ U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE T h e Commissioner also notes that it is the government's policy and practice to pay th e EAJA fee to the Plaintiff, in care of her attorney, and mail a check directly to the a tto rn e y. (#28 at FN1) 2 1

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