SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2017. Representation of Claimant

2017.1 Who can represent you?

A qualified attorney or a qualified non-attorney may represent you at any proceedings before us, such as at an initial determination, a reconsideration, a hearing, or an Appeals Council review.

2017.2 Are there restrictions on who may represent you?

The following restrictions apply:

  1. No one who has been suspended or disqualified by us from representing Social Security claimants or another agency who is otherwise prohibited by law from acting as a representative may be appointed as your representative; and

  2. You may appoint only individuals as your representative(s). You may appoint a qualified member in a firm, labor union, or other organization as your representative, but we will not recognize the firm, labor union, or other entity as your representative

2017.3 How do dyou appoint a representative?

To appoint a representative, whether an attorney or non-attorney, you must tell us in writing (preferably on a Form SSA-1696-U4, Appointment of Representative, available online at or at any Social Security office). You must sign, date, and file the written appointment with us. If the representative you are appointing is not an attorney, he or she must also sign the SSA-1696-U4 or submit a written acceptance to us. It is not necessary for an attorney to sign the appointment.

2017.4 What information is available to your representative?

Your representative may obtain the same information about the claim that would be available to you for as long as the individual is appointed and acting on your behalf.

2017.5 What actions may your representative take?

Your representative may submit evidence, make statements about facts and law, appear at an interview or hearing with or without you, and make any request or give any notice concerning the proceedings. He or she cannot sign an application for benefits or other rights on your behalf, or testify on your behalf in any administrative proceeding.

2017.6 How does SSA notify your representative?

We will send your representative a notice and a copy of any administrative action, determination, or decision, and requests for information or evidence. These notices or requests will have the same force and effect as if we had sent them to you.

Last Revised: Aug. 8, 2011