I-1-1-11.Documenting the Appointment of a Representative

Last Update: 12/17/19 (Transmittal I-1-94)

A. General

Any written document that includes the below elements is a valid notice of appointment:

  • The claimant's signature;

  • A statement reflecting that the claimant wants the person to be the claimant's representative in dealings with the Social Security Administration (SSA);

  • The named person's signature agreeing to be the claimant's representative, if the person is not an attorney. An attorney does not have to sign a notice of appointment. (See note in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-1-1-10 B.)

See 20 CFR 404.1707 and 416.1507.

Staff in the Office of Hearing Operations (OHO) or the Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) must review all incoming cases or materials to determine whether a claimant has a representative. In addition to the procedures below, Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 03910.040B provides more information about how to properly document the appointment of a representative.

B. Notice of Appointment

For an appointment to be valid, the claim(s) file must contain a completed and properly signed notice of appointment, which can be on form SSA-1696-U4, Appointment of Representative, or another written document that meets the requirements of subsection A, above. When the claimant appoints a non-attorney representative, the non-attorney representative must also sign the notice of appointment. SSA strongly encourages all representatives to complete and sign the notice of appointment.

A notice of appointment may be combined with or included in another document, such as a contract or a fee agreement, as long as the document meets the requirements of HALLEX I-1-1-10 A.

A photocopy or facsimile of a notice of appointment is acceptable. SSA will also accept a rubber-stamped signature of a representative unless there is a reason to doubt the intent of the representative to accept the appointment.

C. Document the System and the Claim(s) File

Upon receiving a notice of appointment, OHO or OAO staff must annotate the appropriate systems, notify other offices, and properly associate the document(s) with the file.

1. Document the System

Staff will enter or update the representative's name, address, and telephone number in the Case Processing and Management System (CPMS) for cases pending with OHO and in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) for cases pending with the Appeals Council.

2. Notify the Field Office (FO)

OHO or OAO staff must notify the servicing FO when a notice of appointment is received and when a claimant's representation changes or either the claimant's or the representative's contact information changes. OHO staff will notify the FO by sending an electronic assistance request (AR) in eView. For updates to a claimant's representation, OAO staff will notify the FO by entering an alert message and a “Representative Involved” flag in eView for fully electronic cases or by faxing a copy of the notice of appointment or updated contact information to the servicing FO for paper claim(s) files. When OAO staff updates the claimant's contact information in ARPS, an alert is automatically added to eView.

In situations involving the initial appointment of a representative or a new appointment, the FO's system updates will cause the electronic folder to display a “Representative Involved” flag. For paper claim(s) files, OHO or OAO staff must attach a completed form SSA-1128, Representative Involved flag, to the outside lower, right corner of the paper claim(s) file. See POMS GN 03910.040H.7. for specific information needed on the form SSA-1128.

If OHO requests a consultative examination (CE) or other support from disability determination services (DDS) in a case involving an electronic claim(s) file, and the FO has not yet updated the claimant or representative information, DDS will be unaware of the new information. Under these circumstances, OHO must provide the new information in the AR it sends to the DDS requesting the CE. OHO must also send another AR to the FO to ask them to update the information in the appropriate systems.

D. Multiple Representatives

A claimant can appoint multiple representatives. However, if a claimant appoints more than one person to serve as his or her representative, SSA requires the claimant to designate a principal representative since SSA will make contact with and send notices or requests for development only to the principal representative. SSA expects the principal representative to provide copies of notices or requests to other representative(s). See POMS GN 03910.040D. For that reason, OHO or OAO staff must not remove electronic cases from eSign or take other action in order to send notices to another appointed representative(s).

On receipt of a notice of appointment, OHO or OAO staff will ensure that the representative designated as the principal representative appears as the claimant's representative in CPMS for cases pending with OHO and in ARPS for cases pending with OAO. If a claimant appoints multiple representatives and he or she did not designate a principal representative, OHO and OAO will consider the last appointed representative to be the claimant's principal representative. If the claimant indicates an intent to terminate any representative's appointment, OHO or OAO staff will inform the claimant that he or she must submit the request in writing. See HALLEX I-1-1-30.

E. Other Representation Forms

The following are other forms SSA uses to document a representative's identifying information and registration for direct payment. OHO and OAO may receive these forms and should handle them as indicated below.

  1. Form SSA-1694, Request for Business Entity Taxpayer Information

    1. This form is optional. SSA uses the form to register firms, organizations, or other entities that employ individual representatives.

    2. SSA encourages entities to submit this form because it allows SSA to send a copy of the individual representative's form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to the employing entity for a correct and efficient reconciliation of employees' fees.

    3. Representatives or employing entities can submit this form online or by contacting the Employer Reporting Branch (ERB) in the Office of Earnings Operations (OEO) at 1-800-772-6270. See POMS GN 03925.001.

    4. If OHO or OAO receives this form, the office should return the form to the representative to resubmit as noted in E.1.c., above.

  2. Form SSA-1695-F3, Identifying Information for Possible Direct Payment of Authorized Fees

    1. This form is required if a representative seeks direct payment of a fee. SSA uses the form to link a claimant and the claimant's appointed representative so that SSA can pay the representative an authorized fee directly from the claimant's past-due benefits.

    2. The representative must submit a separate form for each instance of representation. The representative can mail, fax, or hand-deliver the completed form to an FO. This means that a representative must provide a form SSA-1695 each time the representative seeks direct payment, and:

      • He or she is appointed to represent a claimant before SSA; or

      • A Federal court approves a fee, and the attorney did not submit the form when the claim was pending before SSA.

    3. If OHO or OAO receives a form SSA-1695, see HALLEX I-1-2-95.

      NOTE:

      OHO or OAO staff will not scan the form SSA-1695 into the certified electronic folder because it contains personally identifiable information about the representative. See HALLEX I-1-2-95 for what to do when this form is in eView.

  3. Form SSA-1699, Registration for Appointed Representative Services and Direct Payment

    1. This form is required if a representative seeks direct payment of a fee. It is optional for those representatives who do not seek direct payment. SSA uses the form to register representatives and to generate a user identification and password. This form is for general registration and is not case specific.

    2. Representatives submit this form only once by faxing the completed form to OEO at 1-800-772-6270. (See POMS GN 03913.001.) Subsequently, representatives are responsible for updating any changes in their personal, professional, or business affiliation information online.

    3. OHO uses the form SSA-1699 to enroll representatives for online access to electronic folders. This process is by invitation only.