Representing Social Security Claimants

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Frequently Asked Questions

News Updates

5/15/2023 - We updated the e1696 portal, which allows the online completion, signing, and submission of the SSA-1696, Claimant’s Appointment of a Representative form. Claimant representatives can now complete most sections of the electronic notice of appointment form. Submission of the form is still a two-step process, but claimants only need to decide on the disclosure option and sign the form. Additionally, the submission was previously accessible for five days after which representatives had to restart their submissions. The form is now accessible and available to the parties for 15 days.

2/1/2023 - The required 2023 continuing education courses for EDPNAs are now available. To remain eligible for direct payment, an EDPNA must certify the completion of each of these courses by September 30, 2023. For more information, please visit Representing SSA Claimants - Direct Payment to Eligible Non-Attorney Representatives.

Representing Social Security Claimants

11/7/2022 - The EDPNA Program is now being serviced by StratComm, Inc. As part of the new contract, we have revised the EDPNA webpage Representing SSA Claimants - Direct Payment to Eligible Non-Attorney Representatives, which is accessible through the left-side tab "Information About Representation – Eligible for Direct Payment Non-Attorneys". All information about the EDPNA program is housed on this site, including links to continuing education courses and updated information regarding the annual examination, as it becomes available.

Increase in maximum fee for the fee agreement process

On June 30, 2022, we announced in the Federal Register that the maximum fee under the fee agreement process will increase to $7,200 beginning November 30, 2022. At that time, we may approve a fee agreement up to the new maximum fee limit if the fee agreement meets the statutory conditions for approval, no exceptions to the fee agreement process exist, and the favorable determination or decision is issued on or after this date.

Tips and Best Practices for Appointed Representatives

On April 12, 2022, we published a revised “Tips and Best Practices for Appointed Representatives” document. It is located under the Resources, Fact Sheets and Guides tab on this landing page. The fact sheet includes updated information about registration for direct fees, appointment procedure, and fee payment options.

To view older posts, visit Archival Link.

How Representatives Can Help

A claimant may appoint a qualified individual to represent him or her in doing business with Social Security. The appointment must be in writing and must be filed with SSA. If the claimant appoints a representative, the representative generally cannot charge or collect a fee for those services without first getting written approval from the Social Security Administration, even if the claim is denied. To get this approval, the representative must use one of Social Security's fee authorization processes.

If you are helping someone prepare an Internet Social Security Benefit Application:

  • You cannot electronically sign the application on behalf of the applicant. Only the person you are helping can electronically sign his or her Internet Social Security Benefit Application and attest to the accuracy of the information provided.
  • If you submit the online application on behalf of the applicant, the agency will attempt to contact him or her directly by telephone to verify the applicant’s intent to file, confirm the information provided, and to give him or her the opportunity to provide a verbal signature for the application and other relevant documents. We will also mail the applicant a copy of the Application Summary, which he or she can sign and return to us instead using the telephone signature process.
  • If the applicant wishes to appoint you as his or her official representative, we will need a written statement appointing you to represent him or her in dealings with Social Security. You may use a Form SSA-1696 (Appointment of Representative) for this purpose.

If you are helping someone appeal a denied disability application, depending on the reason, you may be required to file the appeal online. If the application is denied for:

Forms Frequently Used by Representatives

Important Reminder

Representatives should use one channel only (online, mail, or fax to submit appointment-related forms and/or other evidentiary documents. Duplicate submissions may result in delays in processing the documents.

Registration for Appointed Representative Services and Direct Payment (Form SSA-1699)

Claimant’s Appointment of a Representative (Form SSA-1696)

Request for Business Entity Taxpayer Information (Form SSA-1694) Online and Paper Versions

Learn more about how we use the forms above, as they relate to registration for appointed representative services and direct payment of fees.

Petition to Obtain Approval of Fees (Form SSA-1560)

Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (Form SSA-827)

Information for Third Party Entities that Pay Representational Fees

Prior to charging or collecting a fee from a claimant or a third party for services provided in any proceeding before the Social Security Administration (SSA), a representative generally must obtain SSA's authorization.

The regulations at 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1720 and 416.1520 provide that when a third-party entity pays the representative's fee and certain conditions are met, the SSA does not need to authorize the representative's fee. SSA does not need to authorize the fee under the following conditions:

  • The claimant and any auxiliary beneficiaries are free of direct or indirect financial liability to pay a fee or expenses, either in whole or in part, to a representative or to someone else; and
  • A third-party entity, or a government agency from its own funds, pays the fee and expenses incurred, if any, on behalf of the claimant and any auxiliary beneficiaries; and
  • The representative submits to SSA a form SSA-1696 (or a written statement) waiving the right to charge and collect a fee and expenses from the claimant and any auxiliary beneficiaries as specified in GN 03920.020B.3b.

Note: When a representative wants to request a fee from the claimant(s)/auxiliary beneficiary(ies) and a third-party, we must authorize all fees since the above criteria are not met (i.e., claimant or auxiliary beneficiaries are liable for a fee), hence the representative should disclose any payments from a third-party prior to authorization.