Clay v. Social Security Administration

Filing 26

ORDER, re 22 Order on Motion for Attorney Fees, directing the Commissioner to contact the Treasury Department to determine whether Plaintiff owes any debt under the Treasury Department's Offset Program, as of the date of this Order. If Plaint iff owes 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, Anthony W. Bartels & mail it to Mr. Bartels. Signed by Magistrate Judge Beth Deere on 11/30/2010. (jct)

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Clay v. Social Security Administration Doc. 26 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 L E N O R A CLAY V. CASE NO.: 3:09CV00155 BD PLAINTIFF M I C H A E L J. ASTRUE, Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT ORDER In an order filed October 26, 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 $2,438.64. (docket entry #22) Plaintiff's counsel attached a copy of the contract he entered into with Plaintiff to h is brief in support of Plaintiff's motion for attorney's fees. In the contract, Plaintiff a s s ig n e d her rights to any EAJA fees and costs awarded in her case to her counsel. (#201 at p. 4) The contract also provides that Plaintiff agreed to have any "checks made p a ya b le directly to Anthony W. Bartels and sent directly to his address." (#20-1 at p. 4) At the Court's request, the Commissioner has responded to the Plaintiff's request to have the fee award made payable directly to her 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 Dockets.Justia.com the claim is decided. (#23 at p. 2) The Commissioner goes on to admit, however, that it is the government's policy and practice to pay the EAJA fee to the Plaintiff, in care of her a tto rn e y, and mail a check directly to the attorney. The commissioner also states that he m a y "waive strict compliance with the Anti-Assignment Act once the Court issues the O rd e r for EAJA fees payable to Plaintiff, and the Commissioner determines there is no d e b t." (#23 at p. 3) Accordingly, 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 dept 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, Anthony W. Bartels, and mail it to Mr. Bartels. IT IS SO ORDERED this 30th day of November, 2010. ___________________________________ U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 2

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