Provide access to an incompetent adult upon request and verification of his or her
identity. The reviewing SSA employee should make the decision to accept the access
request based on his or her own judgment that the individual is capable of making
the request and of understanding the information that they are requesting.
Before granting access to a legal guardian, verify the legal guardian’s identity and
obtain documentation from the legal guardian to establish his or her relationship
to the incompetent adult (e.g., court order of guardianship), if such evidence does
not already exist in our records.
A representative payee does not have access rights, unless the payee is also the legal
guardian. If a person is both a representative payee and the legal guardian and he
or she is acting on behalf of the individual, process the request as an access request.
Field office and Program Service Center employees should determine whether a person
meets the definition of a legal guardian in a particular state. Refer questions about
legal guardianship status to the Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC). The ARC may
further consult with the Regional Chief Counsel when necessary. Central office employees
may refer questions to:
Social Security Administration
Office of Central
Center for Program Support
7070 Security West
1500 Woodlawn Drive
Baltimore, MD 21241-1500