Every person has the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative while pursuing a claim or other rights under titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act. This site contains information and links to assist both claimants and their representatives through the benefit and appeals processes.

News Update

Updates to the Internet Disability Appeal Application were released on March 14, 2015. The updates include single submission of the i561 (Request for Reconsideration) or i501 (Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge), and the i3441 (Disability Report – Appeal), the upload feature, transfer of data from screen to screen, the option to complete multiple appeal requests in one session, and acceptance of appeals with foreign addresses. These updates reduce the time that it takes to complete and submit appeal requests; ensure that representatives submit completed appeal request and supporting documents; and reduces the number of contacts with field office staff.

Beginning January 1, 2015, we will no longer include a “Fee Detail Summary” with the 1099-MISC form we will issue for the calendar year 2014.  In the past, we have provided these detailed summary sheets as a courtesy to all representatives with fee payments of $600 or more in each calendar year.  In view of increasing costs and diminishing resources, the agency will discontinue this service.

On  June 25, 2014, we published final rules explaining how a claimant may object to appearing at a hearing via video teleconferencing, or to the time and place of a hearing.  For more information on these changes, please click Appearing at Hearings.

Beginning March 16, 2012, representatives who request, and are eligible for, direct fee payment are required to electronically file the reconsideration or hearing appeal along with the Disability Report – Appeal on medically denied Title II and Title XVI disability or blindness claims using the Internet Disability Appeal web portal. NOTE: You cannot electronically file appeals for the following issues as they are currently exclusions to the online appeals system: disability cessations, partially favorable decisions, date of onset decisions, and non-medical appeals.

To find out more about filing a disability appeal online, view the Webcast PowerPoint presentation.

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 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

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-U4 (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.

Inform the SSA, by notice, if a state, county, or other third party entity will pay the representative's fee, so that SSA does not:

  • Authorize an additional fee to the representative
  • Withhold the claimant's benefit for fee payment
  • Pay a duplicate or additional fee to the representative