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

Last Update: 4/1/16 (Transmittal I-1-84)

Citations: 20 CFR 404.1710, 404.1715, 416.1510, and 416.1515

A. Actions a Representative May Take

An appointed representative may, on behalf of the claimant:

  • Obtain information about the claim that the Social Security Administration (SSA) would generally provide the claimant;

  • Examine any documents to which the claimant would have access;

  • Appear at any interview or hearing, either alone or with the claimant;

  • Submit, present, or object to the introduction of evidence;

  • Be informed of all additional evidence needed to support the claim;

  • Make statements about facts and law;

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

  • Cross-examine witnesses;

  • Submit briefs or other written statements;

  • Make any request or give any report or notice about the proceedings before SSA; and

  • Be notified of any decision made in the claim, including, if applicable, decisions regarding auxiliary beneficiaries.

B. Actions a Representative May Not Take

An appointed representative may not:

  • 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;

  • Testify at any administrative proceeding in place of the claimant; or

  • 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 appointed representatives.

C. Disclosure of Records

See Program Operations Manual System (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 will 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, OHO and OARO staff must annotate the record and notify the servicing field office.

    • When applicable, send 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, I-2-7-1, I-2-7-30, I-3-2-16, I-3-2-17, and I-4-7-15.