Every person has the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative while pursuing a claim or other rights under titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act. This site contains information and links to assist both claimants and their representatives through the benefit and appeals processes.

News Update

On  June 25, 2014, we published final rules explaining how a claimant may object to appearing at a hearing via video teleconferencing, or to the time and place of a hearing.  For more information on these changes, please click Appearing at Hearings.

Beginning March 16, 2012, representatives who request, and are eligible for, direct fee payment are required to electronically file the reconsideration or hearing appeal along with the Disability Report – Appeal on medically denied Title II and Title XVI disability or blindness claims using the Internet Disability Appeal web portal. NOTE: You cannot electronically file appeals for the following issues as they are currently exclusions to the online appeals system: disability cessations, partially favorable decisions, date of onset decisions, and non-medical appeals.

To find out how to file appeals electronically, view our webcast, "Filing a Disability Appeal Online," and view the Webcast PowerPoint presentation.

How Representatives Can Help

A claimant may appoint a qualified individual to represent him or her in doing business with Social Security. The appointment must be in writing and must be filed with SSA. If the claimant appoints a representative, the representative generally cannot charge or collect a fee for those services without first getting written approval from the Social Security Administration, even if the claim is denied. To get this approval, the representative must use one of Social Security's fee authorization processes.


If you are helping someone prepare an Internet Social Security Benefit Application:

  • You cannot electronically sign the application on behalf of the applicant. Only the person you are helping can electronically sign his or her Internet Social Security Benefit Application and attest to the accuracy of the information provided.
  • If the applicant wishes to appoint you as his or her official representative, we will need a written statement appointing you to represent him or her in dealings with Social Security. You may use a Form SSA-1696 (Appointment of Representative) for this purpose.

If you are helping someone appeal a denied disability application, depending on the reason, you may be required to file the appeal online. If the application is denied for:

Forms Frequently Used by Representatives