Identification Number:
GN 03910 TN 18
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Representation of Claimants
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Disability
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 039 – Representation and Representative's Fee
Subchapter 10 – Representation of Claimants
Transmittal No. 18, 05/07/2020

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 03910.025 Authority of Appointed Representatives

 

GN 03910.060 When a Representative's Appointment Ends

 

GN 03910.025 Authority of Appointed Representatives

A. Scope of authority of appointed representatives

An appointed representative can act on the claimant's behalf with us on a pending claim, matter, or issue from the time the appointment begins until an event ends the representative's appointment. See GN 03910.001B for definition of a "pending claim, matter, or issue," and GN 03910.060B for information about events that end a representative's appointment.

An appointed representative may, on behalf of the claimant:

  • obtain information about the pending claim, matter, or issue that we would generally provide to the claimant such as additional evidence, a consultative examination report submitted to the record, or our determinations or decisions regarding the claim, matter, or issue;

  • be notified of any determinations or decisions regarding an affected auxiliary beneficiary, if any. See GN 03910.025C for information about representation of an affected auxiliary beneficiary and disclosure of his or her records;

  • submit evidence;

  • appear at non-medical appointments or interviews on behalf of a claimant if he or she is unable to do so (e.g., claimant lives in a rural area and does not have easy access to transportation);

  • make statements about facts and laws at a hearing (however, as stated below, appointed representatives are not permitted to testify in place of the claimant at a hearing); and

  • make any request or give any notice about the proceedings before us.

See GN 03316.125 for information about actions that an appointed representative may take on behalf of the claimant.

However, an appointed representative may not:

  • sign an application on behalf of the claimant (unless the representative is a proper applicant, as explained in GN 00204.003);

  • testify in place of the claimant at an administrative hearing;

  • change the claimant's personal information (e.g., first or last name or mailing address) or financial institution information (e.g., direct deposit bank account) in our records unless the appointed representative is otherwise qualified to do so (e.g., a parent of a minor child or a legal guardian). See GN 02605.001 for information on change of address requests, GN 02401.000 for information on issuance of benefit checks to claimants, and GN 02402.000 for information on direct deposit of Title II and Title XVI benefits;

  • consent to the disclosure of records on behalf of the claimant. See GN 03305.006 for information on third parties who may not consent to the disclosure of records on behalf of another individual; or

  • delegate the authority to represent the claimant or perform "representational services" to anyone whom the claimant has not appointed as a representative. See GN 03910.025B for examples of duties that an appointed representative can delegate to an associate.

B. Delegation of duties and disclosure of records

1. Delegation of duties

An appointed representative is not required to personally perform every task related to the representation of the claimant and may delegate specific duties to an associate. However, these associates must always act under the direction of the appointed representative. The appointed representative is responsible for his or her associates' actions while the appointment is in effect and during the representation of the claimant.

a. Examples of duties an appointed representative can delegate to an associate

  • developing the claimant's medical record; or

  • preparing written materials for an appeal.

b. Examples of duties an appointed representative cannot delegate to an associate

An appointed representative cannot delegate to an associate the performance of tasks that require taking legally significant actions about the claimant's case such as:

  • appearing at a hearing and presenting the claimant's case in proceedings before us;

  • cross-examining witnesses;

  • making legal arguments;

  • advising the claimant on our laws and policies; and

  • deciding whether to appeal any adverse determinations or decisions.

2. Disclosure of Records

Generally, once a representative is properly appointed, we may disclose the claimant's information to that representative without further written consent from the claimant. See GN 03316.125 for information on disclosure to appointed representatives.

However, we only disclose information from the claimant's records to an appointed representative's designated associate (e.g., clerks, partners, or parties under contractual arrangements) or organization if the claimant provides written consent via Form SSA-1696 (Claimant's Appointment of a Representative) or another acceptable form, such as the Form SSA-3288 (Consent for Release of Information). See GN 03305.001 for information on disclosure with consent.

IMPORTANT: While we will disclose information to appointed representatives outside of the United States, we will not disclose information to these representative's designated associates located outside of the United States unless the claimant provides prior written consent naming the designated associate for whom disclosure is permitted.

a. Disclosure to an appointed representative's designated associate

An appointed representative's designated associate may obtain the claimant's information from us only if the claimant provided his or her written consent on the written notice of appointment (e.g., Form SSA-1696 or any other writing) or Form SSA-3288 or equivalent valid written consent document.

NOTE: The claimant does not need to specify the name of the designated associate on the Form SSA-1696. In order to provide the necessary consent on the Form SSA-1696, the claimant may select the appropriate box in Section 2 of the form that authorizes us to release information to designated associates of the appointed representative for administrative duties. If the claimant authorizes a designated associate to receive information, the designated associate does not need to file a separate Form SSA-3288 with us. Designated associates must be able to properly identify themselves and the appointed representative they are working for and provide the claimant's identifying information before we can disclose any information to them.

See GN 03305.003 for information on consent documents and GN 03305.025B for information on disclosure with consent to appointed representatives and designated associates.

b. Disclosure to an organization or entity

A claimant may, without appointing a representative, specifically consent to disclosure of his or her records or other information to an organization or entity by completing Form SSA-3288 or equivalent valid written consent document.

See GN 03305.025 for disclosure to legal aid groups and private law firms and GN 03305.999 for an exhibit of Form SSA-3288.

NOTE: While a claimant may consent to disclosure of his or her records to an entity (e.g., law firm or legal aid organization), he or she cannot appoint the entity as his or her representative because appointed representatives must be individuals and meet certain qualifications. See GN 03910.020 for information about qualifications for and recognition of representatives.

c. Further disclosure by appointed representatives, designated associates, or organizations is generally not permitted

An appointed representative, designated associate, or organization should not disclose the claimant's information further without prior written consent from the claimant.

Additionally, when multiple representatives are appointed to a pending claim, matter, or issue, all of the representatives must be appointed prior to the disclosure of the claimant's information to each other.

NOTE: Consent to the disclosure of medical records, particularly for children's records, is further limited. See GN 03305.003J, GN 03305.005C, and GN 03305.005D for information on consent for minor children, including disclosure of medical records. See GN 03340.035 for information on access to records.

3. Handling disclosure requests from appointed representatives, designated associates, or organizations

We handle disclosure requests from appointed representatives, designated associates, or organizations as follows:

a. Disclosure over the phone

We may disclose information to him or her over the phone with the claimant’s prior written consent. See GN 03305.002 on limitations on disclosure with consent and GN 03305.005 on who may consent to disclosure of records

To protect the claimant's privacy, you must:

  • carefully examine any request to disclose information from the claimant's record to the requester;

  • identify and authenticate the requester, as explained in GN 03380.005B. If the requester is the appointed representative’s designated associate, review the written notice of appointment to confirm that the claimant authorized disclosure to the requester (i.e., claimant checked the appropriate box in Section 2 of the Form SSA-1696);

  • review the record to confirm the representative's appointment is in effect. If the appointed representative is registered, look for his or her information in the Registration, Appointment and Services for Representatives (RASR) application; and

  • ask the appointed representative or designated associate to provide the identifying information of the claimant, as explained in GN 03380.005.

b. Disclosure in person

Prior to disclosing information about a claimant, you must:

  • identify and authenticate the requester, as explained in GN 03380.005B. If the requester is the appointed representative’s designated associate, review the written notice of appointment to confirm that the claimant authorized disclosure to the requester (i.e., claimant checked the appropriate box in Section 2 of the Form SSA-1696);

  • review the record to confirm the representative’s appointment is in effect;

  • review the notice of appointment to confirm that the claimant authorized disclosure to the appointed representative’s designated associate or review the record to verify that the claimant provided written consent to authorize disclosure to the organization; and

  • ask the appointed representative or designated associate to provide the identifying information of the claimant, as explained in GN 03380.005.

IMPORTANT: Never provide any of the claimant’s or affected auxiliary beneficiary's personally identifiable information (PII) either in-person or over the phone without following established disclosure policies.

4. Disclosure to attorneys who represent claimants at Federal court

An attorney who represents a claimant before a Federal court, but is not appointed to represent the claimant before the agency, has no authority to receive any information from our records unless the claimant also appoints this attorney as his or her representative before the agency or otherwise properly authorizes disclosure to this attorney (i.e., claimant signs a Form SSA-3288 or equivalent, valid written consent document that meets the requirements for disclosure, as explained in GN 03305.003D).

See GN 03305.001 for information on disclosure with consent.

5. Disclosure of queries and other sensitive material

We do not routinely disclose queries (e.g., system screen-shots of a claimant's past due benefits), sensitive information unrelated to the claim for which the representative has been appointed to handle such as tax return information in the record that the appointed representative does not have a need for when providing representational services to the claimant, administrative messages, and program operations manual system (POMS) or emergency messages designated by the agency as "sensitive."

See GN 03305.003C and GN 03305.004 for information on disclosure of queries.

C. Representation of a primary claimant's affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse and disclosure of his or her records

Unless informed otherwise, we consider a primary claimant’s appointed representative to also represent the primary claimant’s affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse (see Social Security Ruling (SSR) 68-61c). This ruling reflects the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hopkins v. Cohen, 390 U.S. 530 (1968), which established that the representative of a primary claimant is deemed to be acting on behalf of all other claimants in the case, and accordingly has a right to charge and collect fees for services from the affected auxiliary beneficiary's or eligible spouse's past-due benefits.

Consistent with SSR 68-61c, we will release to a primary claimant's appointed representative copies of any notices sent to the affected auxiliary beneficiary (including notices sent to the affected auxiliary beneficiary not living in the primary claimant's household) or eligible spouse unless the affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse:

  • appoints his or her own representative. See GN 03920.035B for information on withholding from an affected auxiliary beneficiary who is independently represented and GN 03920.036B for information on withholding from an eligible spouse who is independently represented;

  • tells us in writing that he or she does not want to be represented by the primary claimant's representative and does not appoint his or her own representative; or

  • tells us that the primary claimant's appointed representative should not receive copies of the notices and does not appoint his or her own representative.

NOTE 1: In the second and third exceptions described above, we will explain to the affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse about the withholding of his or her past-due benefits amount for payment of the primary claimant's appointed representative's authorized fee consistent with GN 03920.035D or GN 03920.036C.

NOTE 2: If the affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse does not appoint his or her own representative, we will create an appointment for each affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse in RASR for a single purpose: payment of the primary claimant's representative authorized fee. RASR will not release to the primary claimant's appointed representative any appointment-related notices about the affected auxiliary beneficiary or eligible spouse.

See GN 03316.105 for information on disclosure without consent to primary claimant about the auxiliary beneficiary and GN 03316.110 for information on disclosure without consent to auxiliary claimant/beneficiaries about the primary claimant/beneficiary or number holder.

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 at the FO and GN 03910.060B for information on how to document events that end a representative's appointment; 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 18 - Representation of Claimants - 5/07/2020