DI 43530.010 Inquiries About Benefits, Attorneys and Other Agents--FAM 241.3-1
A social security claimant may be represented by an attorney or any other person the claimant selects to act in proceedings before SSA. It is mandatory that both claimant and a representative who is not an attorney complete Form SSA-1696-U4, Appointment of Representative. An attorney representative is not required to sign the SSA-1696-U4 Unless and until this form is jointly executed, the post should decline to deal with any representative other than an attorney admitted to practice before a U.S. court. Necessary contacts should be made with the claimant, alone.
To obtain authorization to charge a fee, a representative must complete and mail to SSA, Division of International Operations, P.O. Box 17769, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7769, Form SSA-1560-U4 (Petition For Authorization To Charge And Collect A Fee For Services Before The Social Security Administration). SSA mails this form to appointed representatives upon notification of the appointment. SSA will authorize any fee that appears to be reasonable in terms of customary charges for equivalent services in the locality, but it will be the responsibility of the representative to collect the fee.
If any post should come to know or suspect that a person has represented a social security claimant and charged a fee without SSA authorization, or in excess of an amount authorized, or has otherwise engaged in unethical or dishonest practices as a representative of a social security claimant, it should inform SSA by operations memorandum, setting forth the basis for its belief. Signed statements by persons with firsthand knowledge should be enclosed, if available. SSA will review the case and take any necessary action. If the evidence appears to warrant, SSA will initiate formal administrative proceedings to disqualify such persons from serving as a representative in matters before SSA, and will advise that person of the decision in writing. When persons are formally suspended or disqualified, posts in the locality will be informed of their names and addresses, and asked to inform claimants who seek to appoint such persons as representatives that SSA cannot recognize them as representatives.