I-1-1-20.Authority of an Appointed Representative

Last Update: 10/13/11 (Transmittal I-1-62)


A. Actions a Representative May Take

An appointed representative may, on the claimant's behalf:

  1. Obtain information about the claim that the Social Security Administration (SSA) would normally provide the claimant;

  2. Examine documents to which the claimant would have access;

  3. Appear at a hearing either alone on behalf of the claimant or with the claimant;

  4. Present evidence or object to the introduction of evidence;

  5. Be informed of any evidence needed to support the claim;

  6. Present the claimant's arguments and position on issues in the claimant's proceedings;

  7. Cross-examine witnesses;

  8. Make statements about facts and law;

  9. Submit briefs or other written statements;

  10. Make any request or give any notice about the proceedings before the Commissioner; and

  11. Be notified of any decision made in the claim.

B. Actions a Representative May Not Take

An appointed representative may not:

  1. Sign an application for rights or benefits on behalf of a claimant, except under the criteria specified in 20 CFR 404.612 and 416.315;

  2. Testify in place of the claimant;

  3. Assign his or her authority to represent the claimant to anyone whom the claimant has not appointed as a representative.


    See 20 CFR 404.1740 and 416.1540 for more information about the rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for claimant representatives.

C. Disclosure of Records

See POMS GN 03910.025.2 for a discussion of disclosing the records of represented or unrepresented claimants.

D. Delegation of Duties

Although an appointed representative may not assign his or her authority to represent a claimant to another individual whom the claimant has not appointed, the appointed representative may delegate certain tasks to an assistant. See POMS GN 03910.025.3 for information about what duties a representative may delegate to another individual whom the claimant has not appointed.

E. Contact with Claimant and Representative

  1. Consistent with the claimant's authorization for the representative to act on his or her behalf, SSA must contact the claimant through the representative unless SSA has the representative's permission to contact the claimant directly, or another exception applies.


    See POMS GN 03910.050 for a discussion of the limited circumstances in which SSA may contact a represented claimant directly.

  2. SSA must send all administrative notices and requests for information to both the claimant and the representative as follows:

    • At the administrative law judge hearing and Appeals Council review levels, direct all notices, orders, and decisions to the claimant, with a copy to the representative. When a claim is in Federal court because of a civil action, send all notices, orders, and decisions to the representative, with a copy to the claimant.

    • Direct all requests for information to the representative, with a copy to the claimant, unless the representative requests orally or in writing that we send them directly to the claimant. If the representative makes an oral request for SSA to contact the claimant directly, ODAR staff must annotate the record and notify the servicing field office.

    • Send any evidence received after the administrative hearing directly to the representative with a copy to the claimant. (See Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law manual I-2-5-28, Action Following Receipt of Requested Evidence, I-2-7-30, Proffer Procedures, I-3-8-10, Prior Notice to Claimant When Granting Request for Review, and I-4-3-84, Appeals Council Decisions—Profert.)