TN 31 (07-23)

GN 00201.010 Signature Requirements

A. Introduction

A valid, acceptable signature must be unique to the person, verifiable and secure (i.e., under the person's sole control so that one might presume from its use that the person intended to be bound).

Effective June 21, 2004, an acceptable signature also includes signature proxy alternatives for some applications for benefits, redeterminations, and other SSA processes (see GN 00201.015 for policy and procedures for the use of alternative signature methods).

B. Policy - general

This instruction is not intended to replace any other POMS procedure requiring a signature. Generally however, SSA requires claimant and/or third party signatures in the following situations:

  1. a. 

    Applications for benefit entitlement/eligibility and withdrawals of these applications;

  2. b. 

    Representative payee applications and accounting forms;

  3. c. 

    Forms and statements for which there is an external requirement for a signature;

  4. d. 

    Title XVI redeterminations;

  5. e. 

    Forms and statements supporting initial entitlement to benefits;

  6. f. 

    Forms and statements which decrease a claimant's liability to repay monies owed the Federal Government (e.g., request for waiver of an overpayment);

  7. g. 

    Special situations that may arise (e.g., persons interpreting on behalf of non-English speaking claimants where SSA determines signatures must be obtained).

C. Policy - paper documents

SSA employee signatures are generally required for paper documents in the following situations:

  1. a. 

    Adjudicative documents that authorize award or disallowance of benefits/payments when there is no system record of the adjudicator's Personal Identification Number (PIN)/password; and

  2. b. 

    Special determinations that are not recorded electronically and establish a material fact related to benefit eligibility, entitlement or payment.

D. Policy - Paperless Processing Center System

1. Background

The Paperless Processing Center System (PPC) is an electronic imaging system used in the Processing Centers (PCs). This system is capable of many new functions including tracking the development of a case at each stage of processing. Since all PCs are now using electronic imaging, adjudicators must clearly understand the electronic signature policy.

2. Policy - electronic signature

When a form is added or imported to an Action Control Record (ACR) using the Paperless Processing Center System, the document window will display both the date the document was imported and the user name based upon the user's Personal Identification Number (PIN). This PIN serves as the user's electronic signature and, along with the ACR History, creates an audit trail.

3. Procedure - use of electronic signatures

Any form that is added or imported to an ACR no longer requires the technician's ink signature, because the technician's PIN will serve as their electronic signature.

4. Reference

GN 00201.010C Signature Requirements

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GN 00201.010 - Signature Requirements - 07/10/2023
Batch run: 07/10/2023