Identification Number:
GN 03910 TN 17
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Representation of Claimants
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 039 – Representation and Representative's Fee
Subchapter 10 – Representation of Claimants
Transmittal No. 17, 05/04/2020

Audience

PSC: BA, CA, CS, DE, DEC, DS, ICDS, IES, ILPDS, IPDS, ISRA, PETE, RECONR, SCPS, TSA, TST;
OCO-OEIO: BIES, CAQCR, CR, PETL, RECONR, RECOVR;
OCO-ODO: BTE, CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE, DS, PETE, PETL, RECOVR, RECOVTA;
ODD-DDS: DHU;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

ODP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

Summary of Changes

GN 03910.060 When a Representative's Appointment Ends

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

GN 03910.060 When a Representative's Appointment Ends

A. Duration of a representative's appointment

A representative's appointment and his or her authority end when the events explained in GN 03910.060B occur.

However, we may extend or reinstate a representative's appointment for a limited time or in cases involving good cause or reopening, as explained in GN 03910.060D.

B. Events that end a representative's appointment

The appointment of a representative and his or her authority end when:

  • we complete all actions on a pending claim, matter, or issue and no appeal is filed within the appeal period;

  • the appointed representative files a fee petition;

  • the claimant revokes the appointment of the representative;

  • the appointed representative withdraws his or her acceptance of the appointment from a pending claim, matter, or issue;

  • we make a final decision to suspend or disqualify the representative; or

  • the representative dies.

NOTE: Unless one of these events occurs, an appointed representative's appointment and authority continue throughout the entirety of the administrative process and court proceedings, regardless of whether the appointed representative also represents the claimant during the court proceedings or only before the agency.

For example, if Mr. Jones represents the claimant before the agency, but Ms. Smith represents the claimant before the court (without any involvement from Mr. Jones), Mr. Jones' appointment continues throughout the time of the court proceedings and any additional administrative proceedings that may follow a court remand - unless one of the above events occurs. This is true even if the claim goes back and forth between the agency and the court multiple times.

1. When we complete all actions on a pending claim, matter, or issue and no appeal is filed within the appeal period

We complete all actions on a pending claim, matter, or issue (e.g., a post-entitlement (PE) issue) when:

  • we make a final determination or decision on that claim, matter, or issue and issue all of the required notices, including notices to the affected auxiliary beneficiary, if any; and

  • the period to appeal our final determination or decision ends.

a. When we make a final determination or decision on a pending claim, matter, or issue and issue all of the required notices

In either partially or fully favorable decisions, we complete all actions when we effectuate the determination or decision and issue the award notice(s) to the claimant and affected auxiliary beneficiary, if any.

EXAMPLE 1: In a Title II claim, we authorize a fee of $6,000 based on the primary claimant's past due benefits, but there are delayed affected auxiliary beneficiary claims that we have not adjudicated. The representative's services continue until we adjudicate the delayed affected auxiliary beneficiary claims.

In concurrent Title II and Title XVI claims involving a common issue (e.g., entitlement to benefits based on disability), we complete all actions when we decide and issue award notice(s) under both titles to the claimant and affected auxiliary beneficiary under Title II and the spouse under Title XVI, if any.

EXAMPLE 2: In a concurrent claim, we authorize a fee of $6,000 based on the claimant's Title II past due benefits, but we have not adjudicated one or more issues that may affect the amount of Title XVI benefits (e.g., windfall offset or Title II income adjustment). The representative's services continue until we adjudicate the remaining issues.

In concurrent Title II and Title XVI claims not involving a common issue, we complete action when we decide each title and effectuate the respective determinations or decisions.

b. When the period to appeal our final determination or decision ends

The period to appeal our final determination or decision, including any decision(s) on an affected auxiliary beneficiary, ends 60 days from the date the claimant and affected auxiliary beneficiary, if any, receive our final determination or decision.

If no appeal is filed, the representative's appointment ends at the end of the appeals period.

2. The appointed representative files a fee petition

Only the appointed representative(s), who performed services on a pending claim, matter or issue, can file a fee petition for those services. This representative’s appointment ends when he or she files a fee petition, which declares that his or her services on a pending claim, matter, or issue have ended.

See GN 03930.005 for information on the submission of fee petitions and GN 03930.020C for information on the filing of a fee petition.

3. The claimant revokes the appointment of the representative

A representative's appointment ends when the claimant (a parent of a claimant under age 18 or a legal guardian for a legally incompetent claimant) advises us in a signed and dated writing that he or she is revoking the representative's appointment. The claimant, parent, or legal guardian can revoke the appointment of a representative at any time. See GN 03910.040B.1 for information on the individuals who can sign a written notice of appointment.

To document a revocation:

  1. a. 

    Appointments in the Registration, Appointment and Services for Representatives (RASR) application: terminate the representative’s appointment in RASR as explained in the NOTE in GN 03910.040E.2 depending on whether it is a paper or electronic claim and include a copy of any written notice of revocation in the claim file. RASR will automatically send a notice to the representative; or

  2. b. 

    Appointments outside of RASR: generate a manual notice in Document Processing System (DPS) or Manage Text (AURORA) to notify the representative and for electronic claims, fax the written notice of revocation into the electronic folder or for paper claims, fax the written notice of revocation into Paperless and place the original in the paper claim file.

NOTE: For convenience, the claimant may use Form SSA-1696 SUP-1 (Claimant's Revocation of the Appointment of a Representative).

4. The appointed representative withdraws his or her acceptance of the appointment

A representative's appointment ends when the representative advises us in a dated and signed writing that he or she is withdrawing from the case. The representative can withdraw from representing the claimant at any time consistent with the rules explained in HALLEX I-1-1-30C. Only the appointed representative can withdraw him or herself.

To document a withdrawal:

  1. a. 

    Appointments in RASR: terminate the representative’s appointment in RASR as explained in the NOTE in GN 03910.040E.2 depending on whether it is a paper or electronic claim and include a copy of any written notice of withdrawal in the claim file. RASR will automatically send a notice to the representative; or

  2. b. 

    Appointments outside of RASR: generate a manual notice in DPS or AURORA to notify the representative and for electronic claims, fax the written notice of withdrawal into the electronic folder or for paper claims, fax the written notice of withdrawal into Paperless and place the original in the paper claim file.

NOTE: For convenience, representatives may use Form SSA-1696 SUP-2 (Representative's Withdrawal of Acceptance of an Appointment).

5. We make a final decision to suspend or disqualify the representative

The representative's appointment and authority end when the agency's decision to suspend or disqualify the representative becomes final.

The Office of General Law (OGL) and Offices of the Regional Chief Counsels (RCC) in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) handle all proceedings to suspend or disqualify a representative. Once the agency's decision to suspend or disqualify the representative becomes final, OGC will terminate the appointment in RASR, which then ends the representative’s appointment on all pending cases (claims, matters, or issues) that he or she was appointed to handle. RASR will automatically notify each of the representative’s clients about the representative’s suspension or disqualification.

If RASR cannot send a notice to a claimant (e.g., missing address), it will generate a list of claimants currently associated with that representative. Using this list, the field office will follow established procedure to locate the claimant's address in other systems and then manually send notifications to each claimant about the representative’s suspension or disqualification. See GN 03970.060D.1 for information on notifying the suspended or disqualified representative's claimants or beneficiaries.

6. The representative dies

A representative's appointment ends when he or she dies. A deceased representative's estate may collect fees on the deceased’s behalf. See GN 03940.009B for information on how we authorize fees in cases with a valid fee agreement after the representative dies and GN 03930.020C.6 for information on how we authorize fees in cases where the representative dies before filing a fee petition.

a. One representative appointed

If the appointed representative dies during the administrative process and before we complete all actions on the pending claim, matter, or issue, we will notify the deceased representative’s estate (redacting the claimant’s personally identifiable information as necessary) as explained in GN 03940.003D.6.

We will also contact the claimant directly to determine whether he or she would like to appoint another representative.

b. Multiple representatives appointed

If the claimant appointed multiple representatives and the principal representative dies, we will contact the claimant to select a new principal representative. Otherwise, we will continue our communications with the principal representative.

See GN 03910.040C for information on the appointment of multiple representatives.

C. Communications with a representative after the appointment ends

After the representative's appointment ends, do not send any notices about the claimant and affected auxiliary beneficiary, if any, to the representative or answer any written or oral inquiries from that representative.

EXCEPTION: We will send notices related to the representative’s fee (e.g., questions about a fee petition filed after the appointment has been terminated) or responses to a request for administrative review of the authorized fee. See GN 03960.000 for information about administrative review of fee authorizations under the fee agreement process and GN 03950.000 for information about administrative review of fee authorizations under the fee petition process.

D. When we may extend a representative's appointment

Generally, we do not extend or reinstate a representative's appointment after it ends. See GN 03910.060B for information on events that end a representative's appointment.

If a claimant wants to be represented again by a previously appointed representative for the same or any pending claim, matter, or issue (unless RASR shows that the representative is disqualified or suspended), he or she must file a new written notice of appointment with us. See GN 03910.040 for information on the appointment of a representative.

However, we may extend or reinstate a representative's appointment for a limited time or in cases involving good cause and reopenings.

1. Extension of an appointment for a limited time

We may extend an appointment for a limited time if the claimant asks us in writing and the situation warrants it (e.g., partial or deferred development when a case involves worker's compensation information or an overpayment). In this situation, we will continue to conduct business with the representative until we conclude case development on the particular claim, matter, or issue.

2. Appointment in cases involving good cause and reopenings

The duration of a representative's appointment does not always coincide with the duration of a pending claim, matter, or issue.

Generally, we require a new, signed written notice of appointment to reinstate a representative whose appointment has ended, conduct business with him or her, and continue disclosing information to him or her. However, we apply the following exceptions provided there is no indication to contradict the assumption that the representative's appointment continues:

a. Good cause found for untimely filing of an appeal

One of the events that ends the representative’s appointment is when we complete all actions on a pending claim, matter, or issue (i.e., issue a final determination or decision and issue all required notices to the claimant and affected auxiliary beneficiary, if any) and no appeal is filed within the appeal period. See GN 03910.060B.2 for information on this event ending the representative’s appointment.

However, under certain circumstances, we may find good cause for extending the time limit to file an appeal. See GN 03101.020B, HALLEX I-2-0-60, and HALLEX I-3-4-2 for information on good cause for late filing considerations.

We will assume that the claimant continues to engage the former representative without a new or amended notice of appointment when:

  • the appeal and good cause explanation or statement are both filed by the representative;

  • there is indication the representative is still involved (e.g., the claimant verbally informs us or submits a written statement to us); or

  • an administrative error occurred (e.g., the representative's copy of the final determination or decision notice was mailed to the wrong address and caused the delay in filing).

NOTE: If the claimant verbally informs us that the former representative is still involved, document the record using a Form SSA-5002 (Report of Contact) with language that clearly indicates that the claimant wants to work with the previously appointed representative.

b. Reopening of prior determination or decision

In certain situations, we may reopen and revise a determination or decision after it is final and binding either on our initiative or at the request of a party to the determination or decision (e.g., the claimant or representative). See 20 CFR 404.987 - 404.989 and 416.1487 - 416.1489.

Following a reopening, we will assume that the claimant continues to engage the former representative without a new or amended notice of appointment when:

  • the reopening is requested by the former representative;

  • there is indication that the claimant continues to engage the former representative (e.g., the representative submits a brief or additional medical evidence along with the request for reopening);

  • the reopening is warranted due to an administrative error. See GN 04010.010B.2 for information on administrative errors not subject to the rules of administrative finality; or

  • a court order for a reopening indicates that the previous representative's appointment continues.

NOTE: When a new or amended notice of appointment is required to reinstate the appointment in the same claim, matter, or issue, the representative's appointment begins with the date of the first written notice of appointment. See GN 03910.040B.4 for information on signature dates and when we recognize the appointment of a representative.

E. Appointment of a Representative in Subsequent Disability Applications

When we accept a subsequent disability application and the claimant has appealed the prior claim to the Appeals Council (AC), we require that the parties submit a new notice of appointment even when the appointed representative in the subsequent application is the same individual as in the prior claim. See GN 03104.380 for procedures on handling the new application while a request for review is pending at the AC and GN 03940.038 for information on fee agreements in subsequent application cases.

1. Documenting the appointment when the claimant is represented on the subsequent application

If the claimant appoints the same representative as in the prior claim, accept a copy of the written notice of appointment filed in the prior claim but require that it is signed and dated again by the claimant and the representative if he or she is a non-attorney. Process the written notice of appointment as explained in GN 03910.040D.

If the claimant appoints a different representative on the subsequent application, process the written notice of appointment as explained in GN 03910.040D.

NOTE: If the claimant's intent regarding representation is not clear, contact the claimant to clarify the appointment(s) and document your contact accordingly. See GN 03910.040C for information about when multiple representatives are appointed to a single claim, matter, or issue.

2. Claimant is not represented

Inform the claimant of his or her right to representation as explained in GN 03910.030.

3. When we do not receive a new or amended notice of appointment for a subsequent application

If we do not receive a new written notice of appointment or an updated copy of a previous written notice of appointment (i.e., signed and dated again by the claimant and non-attorney representative), assume that the claimant is not represented in the subsequent application and do not :

  • notify any representative, including any representative appointed in the prior claim, of any decision made in the subsequent application;

  • withhold any of the claimant's past-due benefits based on the subsequent application; or

  • authorize a fee to any representative, including any representative appointed in the prior claim, for services provided on the subsequent application.

F. When a claimant dies

If a claimant dies before we complete action in a pending claim, matter, or issue, the representative's appointment continues until it is ended by one of the events listed in GN 03910.060B.

In Title II and Title XVI claims, the claimant’s qualifying substitute party or survivor (in the order of priority stated in GN 02301.030A.1 for Title II claims and in SI 02101.003A.1 for Title XVI claims) who is entitled to an underpayment can:

  • revoke the appointment of the previously appointed representative; and

  • also appoint a new representative.

NOTE 1: If the survivor appoints a new representative, process the new appointment as explained in GN 03910.040E.

NOTE 2: In Title XVI claims where the claimant is deceased and there is no party entitled to an underpayment (e.g., a State or political subdivision with a written interim assistance reimbursement authorization or survivor), we will dismiss the claim, deny the fee agreement, if any, and not authorize any fees to the appointed representative, if any. We will inform the appointed representative that he or she must file a fee petition for authorization to charge and collect a fee. See bullet 2 in SI 02101.003A.1 and GN 03940.009A for information on SSI underpayments due when the claimant is deceased and payment of representative's fee when the claimant dies before we issue a favorable decision.

G. Handling name changes for appointed representatives

Representatives may change or correct their names for any reason, including marriage or gender reassignment.

NOTE: While representatives may use multiple names in their practice (e.g., a representative practices under her maiden name but retains her married name on her bank accounts), we do not recognize multiple names.

1. Representatives registered in RASR

If the representative is registered in RASR, it is not necessary to submit a supplemental notice of appointment when changing a first name, last name, or both. See GN 03910.040B.5 for information on supplemental appointments.

To initiate a name change in our systems and process updates on pending claims, matters, or issues, a representative must:

  • submit the required forms (e.g., Form SSA-5) and evidence to the representative’s servicing field office (FO). See RM 10212.015 for information on evidence requirements to process a name change on the social security number;

  • submit a list of his or her pending claims, matters, or issues to the servicing FO; and

  • update his or her registration information by submitting a new Form SSA-1699 (Registration for Appointed Representative Services and Direct Payment) to the designated office in Office of Central Operations (OCO) as explained in GN 03913.025.

Once the representative's name change has been processed, the technician in the servicing FO will:

  • compare the list of pending claims, matters, or issues provided by the representative to the list of active appointments for the particular representative using the RASR query screen. In rare situations, when a discrepancy exists between the representative's list and RASR (e.g., the representative's appointment ended recently because an event in GN 03910.060B occurred or the representative was recently appointed by a claimant but the appointment has not yet been processed), contact the representative or claimant as appropriate to resolve the discrepancy and document your contact in RASR accordingly;

  • ensure that the information in RASR has been updated. See GN 03910.040E for information on processing appointments and GN 03910.060B.4 for information on documenting a withdrawal in RASR; and

  • process updates to pending claims, matters, or issues for the particular representative by entering information into the respective screens in Modernized Claims System (e.g., NOT2) and Modernized SSI Claims System (e.g., UATH) so that each system has information that is consistent with RASR. The name change should propagate into each system once accessed by the technician.

2. Representatives not registered in RASR

If the representative is not registered in RASR, we require a supplemental notice of appointment with the change in his or her first name, last name, or both. See GN 03910.040B.5 for information on supplemental appointments.


GN 03910 TN 17 - Representation of Claimants - 5/04/2020