TN 1 (09-18)

GN 03980.040 Representation by Former SSA Employees and Officials (Other than Senior Employees)

A. Prohibited Representation by Former SSA Employees and Officials

  1. 1. 

    A former SSA employee or official may never communicate to or appear before SSA on behalf of any person or entity in any matter in which the former employee had participated personally and substantially as an employee of SSA.

  2. 2. 

    Personal and substantial participation is defined as directly influencing by official recommendation, decision or adjudicative action, a claimant's eligibility to a benefit, payment or other right to which he may be entitled under the Social Security Act.

B. Restrictions on Representation by Former SSA Employees and Officials

  1. 1. 

    In addition to the above prohibition, a former SSA manager or supervisor is prohibited for a period of 2 years after his employment has ended from communicating to or appearing before SSA on behalf of any person or entity on a matter the subject matter of which was actually pending under his official responsibility within his last year of employment.

  2. 2. 

    “Actually pending” means that the claim or issue was referred to or under consideration by persons within the employee's area of responsibility.

  3. 3. 

    “Official responsibility” means the direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final and either exercisable alone or with others and either personally or through subordinates, to approve, disapprove or otherwise direct SSA's functions. Thus, any particular matter under consideration in SSA is under the official responsibility of the office director or office manager and under that of any intermediate supervisor having responsibility for an employee who actually participates in the matter within his position description.

  4. 4. 

    The 2-year restriction on former employees seeking to represent a person or entity under the above criteria will, generally, apply when an employee has “direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final, and either exercisable alone or with others, and either personally or through subordinates, to approve, disapprove, or otherwise direct Government action.”

The following examples illustrate “personal and substantial participation” and “actually pending within the employee's area of responsibility.”

Example 1: A former Claims Representative (CR) comes to a district office seeking approval to represent a claimant for disability insurance benefits (DIB). The claimant has not previously filed with SSA. SSA may accept the former CR as the claimant's representative regardless of when his or her employment with SSA terminated. In this case, the former CR was representing a claimant who had never before filed a claim with SSA. There was no possibility of the former CR ever having participated personally and substantially in the matter as an employee of SSA. On the other hand, had the CR been seeking to represent a DIB beneficiary in a continuing disability investigation (CDI) on which the CR handled the initial DIB claim, SSA would prohibit him forever from representing the claimant before SSA on any subsequent questions or issues involving his disability.

Example 2: A former Operations Supervisor in a social security district office (DO) seeks approval to represent an RSI beneficiary claiming an earlier month of entitlement because of an earlier date of birth. The beneficiary submits primary evidence that he did not know existed when he filed his original claim. He filed his original claim 9 months ago in the same DO that employed the Operations Supervisor at that time. However, no one assigned the original claim to the operational component over which the former employee was a supervisor. The former Operations Supervisor may represent the beneficiary. While the initial claim was pending within the preceding 12-month period, it was not pending in the former employee's area of official responsibility; i.e., it was never subject to the direct operating authority of the Operations Supervisor or his subordinates. The 2-year restriction does not apply.

Example 3: The situation is the same as example 2, except the former SSA employee was the District Manager. In the case of the District Manager, the initial claim was pending in his area of official responsibility within his last year of government employment. The 2-year restriction applies. SSA prohibits the District Manager from representing the beneficiary for a period of 2 years from the date his employment with SSA terminated.

C. Development: Former SSA Employees and Officials

1. General standards regarding former SSA employees and officials

The prospective representative should volunteer the information that he is a former SSA employee, or it may be revealed in the development of the qualifications of a representative (GN 03910.030). Once it is determined that the prospective representative is a former SSA employee and his former position title warrants it, the DO, PSC or ODO, with assistance from the Ethics Office, will determine:

  1. a. 

    Whether he ever personally and substantially participated in the matter as an SSA employee, and if not;

  2. b. 

    If he terminated his employment with SSA less than 2 years ago, and if so;

  3. c. 

    Whether the matter was actually pending within the area of his official responsibility within his last year of employment with SSA. This information should be recorded on an SSA-795 signed by the prospective representative. The DO, PSC, or ODO should contact the Ethics Office with any questions.

 

2. Former employees qualify as a representative

If the former employee is not prohibited by the conflict-of-interest rules from representing the claimant, he shall be recognized as the representative of record if he otherwise qualifies and is properly appointed (GN 03910.040).

3. Former employees do not qualify as a representative

If it is determined that the former employee is prohibited from representing the claimant before SSA, both the former employee and the claimant will be notified in writing. The notice will state that, under 18 U.S.C. §207 and the implementing regulations (5 CFR, Part 1304), the former employee is prohibited from serving as a representative before SSA and will not be recognized as the claimant's representative.

The claimant will also be informed that SSA will deal directly with him throughout the processing of his claim or until he appoints a successive representative (who is not prohibited from serving as a representative of claimants before SSA).

A copy of this notice will be placed in the claims folder. Should the former employee submit evidence or information in connection with the claim, SSA will accept the evidence or information; however, SSA will not communicate with the former SSA employee concerning such information or evidence. SSA may acknowledge receipt of such material by communicating with the claimant or beneficiary or his subsequent representative.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0203980040
GN 03980.040 - Representation by Former SSA Employees and Officials (Other than Senior Employees) - 09/25/2018
Batch run: 09/25/2018
Rev:09/25/2018