I-3-1-15.OAO Branch Screening for Appointment of Representative

Last Update: 7/23/15 (Transmittal I-3-120)

If the claimant is represented, the claimant must sign a written notice of appointment. The file should contain Form SSA-1696, Appointment of Representative or other equivalent written statement, signed by the claimant and the representative. If the form or equivalent statement is not in the file, the branch staff must prepare a letter addressed to the apparent representative, requesting completion of Form SSA-1696. See Appeals Text Guide for appropriate correspondence. If the representative is not an attorney, he or she must sign the form (see I-1-1-10). The regulations do not require that an attorney representative sign the notice of appointment; however, SSA strongly encourages the practice (20 CFR 404.1707 and 416.1507).

A notice of appointment may be combined with or included in another document, such as a contract or fee agreement. In such cases, if the representative or claimant wishes to retain the original signed copy of the document, SSA will accept a photocopy of the original.