I-1-1-11.Documenting the Appointment of a Representative
Last Update: 10/13/11 (Transmittal I-1-62)
Staff in a hearing office (HO) or at the Appeals Council (AC) must review all incoming cases or materials to determine if a claimant is represented. In addition to the procedures below, Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 03910.040H - J provides more information about how to properly document an appointment of a representative.
A. Signed Notice of Appointment
The file must contain a completed and properly signed Form SSA-1696, Appointment of Representative, or other equivalent written statement appointing the representative. (See POMS GN 03910.040B.) An equivalent written statement should contain the same information and have the same effect as the SSA-1696—i.e., it should list the claimant, name a representative, and contain the necessary signatures. When the claimant has appointed a non-attorney representative, the non-attorney representative must also sign the SSA-1696 or an equivalent written statement. We strongly encourage all representatives to complete and sign an SSA-1696.
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 for an equivalent written statement.
A photocopy or facsimile of a notice of appointment is acceptable. We will also accept a rubber-stamped signature of the representative unless there is a reason to doubt that it represents the intent of the representative to accept the appointment.
B. Document the System and the Claim File
Upon receiving an SSA-1696 or an equivalent written statement, the HO or AC staff must annotate the appropriate systems, notify other offices, and properly associate the documents 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 at the hearing level and in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) for cases at the AC.
2. Notify the FO
Both HO and AC staff must notify the servicing field office (FO) when an appointment is received and when a claimant's representation or contact information changes. HOs will notify the FO by sending an electronic assistance request (AR) in eView. AC 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 appointment or other contact information to the servicing FO for paper cases.
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 cases, the HO or AC staff must attach a completed Form SSA-1128, Representative Involved flag, to the outside lower, right corner of the paper claim file. See POMS GN 03910.040H.7. for specific information needed on the SSA-1128.
If an HO requests a consultative examination (CE) or other support from the disability determination services (DDS) in a case involving an electronic claim file, and the FO has not yet updated the claimant or representative information, DDS will be unaware of the new information. Under these circumstances, the HO must include the claimant's contact information or the representative information with the AR it sends to the DDS requesting the CE. The HO must also send another AR to the FO to ask them to update the information in the appropriate systems.
C. Other Representation Forms
The following are other forms the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to document a representative's identifying information and registration for direct payment. Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) offices may receive these forms and should handle them as indicated below.
SSA-1694, Request for Business Entity Taxpayer Information
This form is optional. SSA uses the form to register firms, organizations, or other entities that employ individual representatives.
SSA encourages entities to submit this form because it allows SSA to send a copy of the individual representative's Form 1099-MISC to the employing entity for a correct and efficient reconciliation of employees' fees.
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.
If an ODAR office receives this form, the office should return the form to the representative to resubmit as noted in c. above.
SSA-1695, Identifying Information for Possible Direct Payment of Authorized Fees
This form is required if a representative is seeking direct payment of a fee. SSA uses the form to link a claimant to the claimant's appointed representative so that SSA can pay the representative a fee from the claimant's past-due benefits.
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 an SSA-1695 each time the representative is seeking 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.
Do not scan the SSA-1695 into the certified electronic folder because it contains personally identifiable information about the representative.
SSA-1699, Registration for Appointed Representative Services and Direct Payment
This form is required if a representative is seeking 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.
Representatives submit this form only once by faxing the completed form to OEO. (See POMS GN 03913.001.) Subsequently, representatives are responsible for updating any changes in their personal, professional, or business affiliation information online.
In November 2010, HOs began using the SSA-1699 to enroll representatives for online access to electronic folders. This process is by-invitation-only.