GN 03980.005 Representation by Regular Federal Employees
As used here the term “regular Federal employee” means an officer or employee (other than a “special Federal employee”) of the Federal government and includes Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service on active duty. The term “regular Federal employee” is used to make a clear distinction between “special Federal employees” and others employed by the Federal government. Special Federal employees may, under certain conditions, be accepted to represent parties in claims before SSA (GN 03980.010).
A. Rules Governing Regular Employees
Regular Federal employees or officials may not, with or without pay, represent a person in a social security claim. A regular Federal employee may, however, act for his parents, spouse, or child or any person (or estate) for whom he is serving as fiduciary, subject to the following restrictions.
he must not have participated personally and substantially as a government employee with respect to the matter in issue; and
the matter in issue must not be the subject of his official responsibility; and
he must have received the consent of the official for his office who has been designated to approve or disapprove employee requests to engage in outside activities.
Any request by an employee in connection with 3. will be handled as an outside activity request and should be submitted on Form HHS-520 (Request for Approval of Outside Activity) to the employee's immediate supervisor who will refer it to the appropriate official.
As for requirement 1., an SSA employee's statement that he has not participated in the matter should be accepted in the absence of information to the contrary. In many instances, his position (e.g., file clerk, messenger, etc.) or the functions of the employing entity will make it apparent that he has not previously participated in the matter.
Requirement 2. generally pertains only to an SSA employee, or where the matter involves some provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, an IRS employee. In such instance, if the employee's job description in any way refers to the subject matter in issue, he may not represent the claimant even though he has not participated, and will not participate, personally in the particular claim. For example, a Recovery Reviewer could not serve in this capacity if the subject matter in issue were an overpayment, nor could a Disability Claims Examiner represent in a claim for disability insurance benefits. Such an employee might, through his official position, have knowledge which would result in a conflict of interest.
If under 1. and 2., the employee is qualified to represent the claimant, he will be required (in compliance with 3. to obtain authorization to engage in this activity. This approval is not required for a representative payee (GN 03980.070).