Avoiding Claim Processing Delays – Tips for Expediting Compensation Claims for the Savvy Biller
by Lisa Bustamante, Claims Processor & Laurel Thorpe, Resource Admin.
In the world of comp claims, time is money! These tips highlight errors that may either slow down the processing of a claim, significantly delay the claim while awaiting additional information, or may require a phone call or email to the panel attorney for approval to correct the claim form:
- Tips for Completing the Claim Form With Correct Info
- Read our Line-by-Line Guide (PDF) for a better understanding of what goes where on the claim form. For a full understanding of claim policies, read out Panel Claims Manual (PDF).
- List only the determinate term in the "Years" and "Months" boxes. If there is an indeterminate life portion of the sentence, the number of those counts should be listed in the respective boxes. For example, a sentence of 27 years to life (for a three strikes sentence of 25-to-life plus two prison priors of one year each) is listed as 2 years in the "Years" box and a 1 in the "Non-LWOP life tops" box.
- Do not include jail time that is ordered as a condition of a grant of probation in the determinate term boxes. If jail time is imposed as a condition of probation, nothing goes into the determinate term box. Simply check mark the "Probation" box -- no more is required!
- Check mark only one box for commitments. If the appellant was not committed to state prison, only one of the boxes in the lower portion of item (D) should be checked: Criminal "Probation," "Civil Commit," or "Other." Examples of "Civil Commit" are commitments to CRC, SVP and commitments after a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.
- Fill in "WI 300" for the code and "dependency proceedings" for the description in dependency cases. Use these same descriptions regardless of the point in the dependency process when the appeal was taken.
- Fill in "WI 602" for the code and "delinquency proceedings" for the description in juvenile delinquency cases; don't separately list the criminal codes/counts/allegations of the petition.
- Tips for Expediting Processing Time
- Return phone calls or emails from Lisa or the staff attorney! We must set aside your claim until the claim is "complete."
- Determine the correct rate of payment. The compensation rate is based primarily on two things: the date of your appointment on the case and the type of case. If the incorrect rate is claimed, CCAP must call you to approve the correction before proceeding with processing that claim. See our Rates Page to determine the correct rate for your case.
- Paper claims: double check for errors in math. A phone call or email must be made for corrections. On final claims, use cumulative totals (interim + final hours) for each line item.
- Record the amount of the interim payment on the final claim (not the amount claimed at interim). A phone call or email must be made for corrections.
- List only one rate for photocopying charges. If copying was done at two or more different rates, then list an average for the cost per page. The data CCAP electronically transmits to the AOC must consist of a single rate per copy. List the total number of pages copied as one figure. A phone call must be made for corrections.
Paper claims: don't staple receipts together. Instead, attach a copy of the receipts to an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper. (Copies of receipts are acceptable and for these purposes are better than an original receipt.)
eClaims: fax necessary receipts to CCAP (see Panel Claim Manual (PDF), "Receipts" topic).
For both paper & eClaims we recommend that you keep all receipts associated with the case in the file as a good business practice in case of an audit.
- Don't forget your John Hancock on the original claim form! A phone call will be made to ask for an original signature page. A fax copy is not acceptable. We cannot send our claim recommendations to the AOC until we have an original signature on the claim form in our file.
- Submit final claims in a timely fashion! In cases where the interim claim was filed after 1/1/99, the AOC expects the final claim to be filed with the program within 180 days following the issuance of the Court of Appeal opinion.
- Other Helpful Tips to Get Paid in Full:
- Use a separate piece of paper to justify any time claimed over statewide guidelines that doesn't fit in the explanation boxes provided. (See statewide compensation guidelines.) It is very difficult for a staff attorney to recommend payment for time in excess of normal guidelines if not provided an explanation, so taking that extra time could be the difference between getting paid and not getting paid for the actual time spent. The explanation does not have to contain a time log. A short, simple explanation is usually sufficient. For instance, a written explanation could make a big difference in the recommended payment for a relatively short argument, where the argument required a great deal of federal research that did not show up in the final product. It is also very helpful if the explanation can be disclosed, if necessary, during an audit by AIDOAC. In other words, whenever possible do not insert confidential or privileged information in the explanation.
- Include an explanation for any time claimed for review of the preliminary hearing transcript in the reading of the record. Because there are very few cases in which compensation for reading the preliminary hearing transcript is allowed, counsel is encouraged to contact the CCAP staff attorney assigned to the case before claiming time for this service.
- Obtain prior authorization for any travel expenses other than travel for oral argument. This includes time for appearances in another court in a proceeding related to the appeal. Where time is claimed for travel or appearances without prior authorization, CCAP must cut the claim. Accordingly, counsel should discuss with the CCAP staff attorney his or her options before proceeding with any travel.
- In the Third and Fifth Districts, obtain pre-authorization for all writ work and extraordinary expenses. The CCAP staff buddy assigned to the case can provide assistance in applying for pre-authorization.
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