TN 1 (06-10)

RM 03254.004 Examine Signature (4403)

A. Proper signature of the plan participant

To properly identify the plan participant, and to safeguard against an invasion of privacy, each request for information from our records must contain a proper signature of the plan participant whose record is involved.

  1. This means there should be an SSA-795 (Statement of Claimant or other Person) or the request for information should have the same information contained on the SSA-795 and the appropriate signature.

  2. Presume that a signature is valid in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

  3. Forward requests that appear altered without the plan participant's knowledge to the servicing district office for investigation.

  4. A signature is NOT required when the request is submitted on or accompanied by a form SSA-L99-C1 (Potential Private Benefit Information) which was previously furnished to the individual.

B. Improper signature of the plan participant

Consider a request as containing an improper signature and process accordingly if:

  • An “X” mark is not witnessed or not properly witnessed.

NOTE: If the signature of at least one witness is given, the “X” mark may be accepted as properly witnessed.

  • The plan participant's signature is typed, stamped, pre-printed, or hand-printed.

  • It appears a third party signed and initialed the signature on the request.

Other than the actual plan participant, only the court-appointed legal guardian of an incompetent individual may request or authorize the release of information from the individual's records.

If the individual is deceased, a surviving relative or the legal representative of an estate may request or authorize the release of information from the deceased plan participant's pension record after proof of death is established.

C. Third party request

Release information to a third party upon signed authorization of the individual whose vested pension record is involved.

1. Proper authorization

If a request contains a proper signature or a third party authorization, obtain the vested pension information.

2. No authorization

If there is no proper signature or authorization to release to a third party, examine each request and process as indicated below:

  • Check the appropriate box on Form SSA-4482 (Social Security Request for Information-ERISA) and attach to the request.

  • Prepare an envelope for return of the request to the requester.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0103254004
RM 03254.004 - Examine Signature (4403) - 06/30/2010
Batch run: 06/30/2010
Rev:06/30/2010