Identification Number:
EM-21021 REV
Intended Audience:RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/OCO-CSTs
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:Online Forms SSA-1696 Claimant’s Appointment of Representative and SSA-1693 Fee Agreement for Representation before SSA
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.
 
Retention Date: May 13, 2022

Revision Statement:

We revised EM-21021 to address the release of the online SSA-1693 (Fee Agreement for Representation before SSA) on October 16, 2021.

A. Purpose
This Emergency Message (EM) notifies technicians of new online service options that representatives and claimants can utilize to complete, sign, and submit form SSA-1696 (Claimant’s Appointment of Representative) and form SSA-1693 (Fee Agreement for Representation before SSA) electronically through an online portal.

NOTE: These new service options provide online means of appointing a representative and informing the Social Security Administration (SSA) of a representative’s intent to charge a fee under the fee agreement process. These are additional service delivery options and do not displace the existing permanent or temporary processes for submitting a completed SSA-1696/SSA-1693 or other written notices of appointment or fee agreements.

B. Background
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have recognized the need to provide additional avenues for claimants to complete and submit the SSA-1696 and SSA-1693. Additionally, we recognize the need to reduce the number of paper forms coming into our offices and increase the use of technology to process these forms.

SSA-1696

If a claimant decides to appoint an individual to represent him or her in a matter before SSA, the claimant must sign, date, and submit a written notice of appointment to the agency. The written notice may take any form, but most claimants use the agency’s standard form, SSA-1696 Claimant’s Appointment of Representative.

Prior to March 6, 2021, we accepted only the following modes of submission for the written notice of appointment:


    · In person,
    · Mail,
    · Analog Fax,
    · eFax,
    · iAppeals, (as an attachment) and
    · Electronic Records Express (ERE) portal (as an upload).

SSA-1693

The Social Security Act (Act) generally requires any person who represents a claimant before the agency, and wants to receive a fee for services, to obtain SSA’s authorization of the fee. Appointed representatives may use form SSA-1693 for their fee request.

C. Online Service Delivery Options

Effective Monday March 8, 2021, the new online process for completing and electronically submitting the SSA-1696 form was made available on our agency internet website at www.ssa.gov/representation. Once the prospective representative and the claimant electronically complete their respective sections, sign, and submit the online form, an image of the completed form will be transmitted electronically to the claimant’s local field office’s online work queue system for a field office technician to process the form.

Effective Monday October 18, 2021, we made the SSA-1693 available on our agency internet website along with the SSA-1696 at www.ssa.gov/representation. Once the representative and all other signers electronically complete their respective sections, sign, and submit the online form, an image of the completed form will be electronically transmitted to the claimant’s local field office’s online work queue system for a field office technician to process the form.

NOTE: Due to SSA network restrictions, SSA employees cannot access the online SSA-1696/1693 portals to access or view pending submissions.

D. Online Completion Guidelines


    a. Online SSA-1696

The online form will require both the prospective representative and the claimant to complete their respective portions of the SSA-1696.

The prospective representative initiates the online SSA-1696 process. The prospective representative must first enter the email addresses for both themselves and the claimant. The form will be available via a personalized email link sent from Adobe Sign. The prospective representative will be required to create a password for themselves and the claimant to access the form, once information is entered into the form online .. The prospective representative must provide the password he or she created to the claimant either by phone, in person, or SMS text message. If the prospective representative is unable to contact the claimant by those means, he or she may send the password via a separate email message to the claimant.

NOTE: Technicians will NOT have access to the password and CANNOT reissue a password. Technicians will never ask a prospective representative or a claimant for their password. The password is between the prospective representative and the claimant ONLY.

The claimant and the prospective representative have five calendar days from the date the prospective representative clicks the “Submit” button on the email collection page to electronically complete, sign, and submit the SSA-1696 online form to SSA.

If the claimant does not electronically complete, sign, and submit the form to SSA within five calendar days from when the prospective representative clicks the “Submit” button on the email collection page, the system will lock the form and it cannot be reactivated. At this point, the prospective representative will need to start a new form or submit a new notice of appointment through any of the modes described in Section B.

Phase 1: Prospective Representative

· The prospective representative begins the Form SSA-1696 Online process by providing and confirming email addresses for both the prospective representative and the claimant.
NOTE: The prospective representative cannot proceed with the online process unless they provide and confirm a properly formatted email address for both parties.

· The prospective representative will also create a password from 8-32 alphanumeric characters in length that will require at least one upper case, one lowercase letter, and one number. No special characters are required. The prospective representative must share this password with the claimant outside of the Form SSA-1696 Online process. The prospective representative and the claimant must use this password whenever either party attempts to open a copy of the SSA-1696 from the link distributed via email once a party has begun entering information into the form.

    NOTE: SSA employees will not have access to the password. This is a matter between the claimant and the prospective representative. The password is unique to a single SSA-1696/SSA-1693 transaction and cannot be reset or recovered. The prospective representative will need to restart the Form SSA-1696 Online process if the password is lost or forgotten.

    Password Inquiries (Prospective Representative):
      The form is password protected once information has been entered into the form. The prospective representative initially creates this password. Prospective representatives and claimants must enter this password each time they access a partially or fully completed form.

      On some screens, the dialogue box that prompts the representative to enter a password shows a dialogue box with a fillable password field, as well as a stating sentence “If you don’t have a password, you will need to contact SocialSocial Security Administration to obtain it.” The words “Social Security Administration” include a hyperlink that opens an email to an unmonitored SSA mailbox, which provides. If the e-mail is sent, the representative will receive automated replies that state that the password cannot be reset and that they will need to start a new form.
      If the prospective representative contacts SSA about the password, explain to the individual that:

      “If the password is lost or forgotten, the password cannot be reset. The prospective representative must restart a new form. The password must be kept in a secure location to ensure the form and any PII on it are protected.”
      · After providing the email addresses, the prospective representative will receive an on-screen message directing him or her to open the email sent from Adobe Sign.
      · The email will include a “Review and Sign” button that, when selected, will direct the prospective representative to enter their password-protected online SSA-1696 form. (All required fields for the prospective representative will be highlighted with asterisks.)
        Once the prospective representative completes all required fields, and electronically signs the form, he or she will select “Click to Sign.”
    NOTE: The online process will not allow the prospective representative to submit their portion of the form without completing all required fields and electronically signing the form.
      · The system then generates an email to the claimant at the email address provided, with a link to complete the remainder of the form for Phase 2 of the online appointment process.
      Phase 2: Claimant
      · The claimant will receive an email from Adobe Sign with a link to complete the remainder of the form.
      · The claimant must use the password created by the prospective representative to access the remainder of the form.
        Password Inquiries (Claimant):

        The claimant must also use the password created by the prospective representative to complete or view the form. If the claimant does not have the password, or has questions regarding the password, he or she must contact the prospective representative. SSA does not know the password and cannot reset it.

        On some screens, the dialogue box that prompts the claimant to enter a password includes a sentence that states “If you don’t have a password, you will need to contact Social Security Administration to obtain it.” The words “Social Security Administration” generate a hyperlink that opens an email to an unmonitored SSA mailbox. If the e-mail is sent, the claimant will receive automated replies that states to contact the representative to obtain the password.
        If the claimant contacts SSA about the password for the SSA-1696 online form, explain to the individual that:

        “SSA does not have access to your password. If you have lost or forgotten the password, you will need contact your prospective representative. If your prospective representative has lost or forgotten the password, he or she will need to restart a new form.”

        · The claimant will have an opportunity to review the information filled out by the prospective representative.
        IMPORTANT: Each respective party will not have the ability to key in information in the other party’s section, or revise what has been submitted. For example, the claimant will not be able to change the information that was previously filled out by the prospective representative. If the claimant disagrees with any information completed by the prospective representative, the claimant should not sign or submit the form. If the claimant contacts SSA, you must advise the claimant that he or she should contact the prospective representative to initiate a new, accurate, online SSA-1696.
        · The claimant will complete the highlighted fields to finish the form.
        · The claimant will sign the form and select “Click Here to Sign”.
        · The claimant will receive a message on screen that the Form SSA-1696 Online form has been submitted. The message will contain a link to download a copy of the form, so the claimant is able to review the submitted form. If the claimant selects the option to review a copy of the signed form, he or she will be prompted to enter the form’s password.
        · A final email will be automatically generated from Adobe Sign to both the prospective representative and the claimant confirming that their submission is complete. The email will include a link to view and download the completed SSA-1696 form. The password will be required to access or download the completed form.
            b. Online SSA-1693

          The online form will require the appointed representative’s email address for the SSA-1693.

          The representative initiates the online SSA-1693 process. The initiating representative must first enter his or her valid email address and valid email addresses for the claimant and other potential signers. The online SSA-1693 is limited to seven signers: the initiating representative, the claimant, and up to five (5) additional representatives.

          The initiating representative is responsible for establishing the form’s password and sharing it with other signers. The password allows all signers to access the form.

          NOTE: Technicians will NOT have access to the password and CANNOT recover, reset, or reissue a password. Technicians will never ask for this password.

          The initiating representative, claimant, and any additional representative(s) have ten (10) calendar days from the date the initiating representative clicks the “Submit” button on the email collection page to electronically complete, sign, and submit the SSA-1693 online form to SSA.

          If all relevant signers dodo not electronically complete, sign, and submit the form to SSA within ten calendar days from when the initiating representative clicks the “Submit” button on the email collection page, the system will lock the form and it cannot be reactivated. If this happens, the initiating representative will need to start a new form or submit a fee agreement through any of the modes described in Section B.

          Phase 1: Initiating Representative

              · The initiating representative will create a password from 8-32 alphanumeric characters in length that will require at least one upper case letter, one lowercase letter, and one number. No special characters are required. The initiating representative must share this password with the other signers (as listed on the email collection page). All signers must use this password to access the online SSA-1693 from the Adobe Sign email link in order to complete, sign, or view the form.

              · After providing the email addresses, the initiating representative will receive an on-screen message directing him or her to open the email sent from Adobe Sign.
              · The email will include a “Review and Sign” button that, when selected, will allow the initiating representative to complete the required fields on the online SSA-1693 form. All required fields for the appointed representative will be highlighted with asterisks.

          Phase 2: Claimant and Additional Representatives (if any)
              · Once the initiating representative selects “Click to Sign”, an email will be generated to the additional signers that were previously identified on the email collection screen.

              · When each signer electronically completes all required fields, and signs the form, he or she will select “Click to Sign” to submit their individual portion of the form.

              · A final email will be automatically generated from Adobe Sign to all signers confirming that their submission is complete. The final email will include a link to view and download the completed SSA-1693 form. The password will be required to access or download the completed form.


                NOTE: For password inquiries follow D.a. above.
          E. FO Processing Guidelines

          Once all parties have reviewed, completed, signed, and submitted the online SSA-1696 or SSA-1693, the system will electronically route an image of the completed form to WorkTrack for processing, using the claimant’s zip code provided on the submission to identify the claimant’s local field office.

          WorkTrack will list the Online Form SSA-1696/Online Form SSA-1693 submission as unassigned. Follow current processing guidelines for handling the SSA-1696 in GN 03910.040 (Appointment of a Representative) and the SSA-1693 in GN 03940.001. You must:
              · Check to make sure there is a pending and/or active claim.
              · For the SSA-1696, verify the representative(s) meets the approved standards outlined in GN 03910.020

          IMPORTANT: We cannot accept a notice of appointment unless there is a claim or other matter pending decision before SSA. Further, the notice of appointment or SSA-1696 is not the mode for an address change. Based on this:
            a. If you determine that there is no pending claim, you cannot process the submission and must notify the parties. Use UTI REP028 in DPS.
            b. If the claimant’s address is different in the claim file, or another office has jurisdiction of the pending claim, the document was misrouted. You must identify the claim’s pending location (e.g. WSU, DDS, OHO, etc.), route the form to the proper location, and send the correct notifications.

          NOTE: If you have questions about the submission, contact the representative. If you need to contact a represented claimant and the situation potentially falls under an exception, make sure to follow policy in GN 03910.050 regarding when and how to do it.

          NOTE: The signature date for the Registration, Appointment and Services for Representatives (RASR) application will be the claimant’s submission date on the online SSA-1696.

          Direct all program and technical related questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff or Program Service Center (PSC) Operations Analysis (OA) staff. RO support staff or PSC OA staff may refer questions, concerns, or problems to their Central Office contacts.

          References

          GN 03910.040 Appointment of a Representative

          GN 03910.050 Contacting a Represented Claimant

          GN 03910.020 Qualifications for and Recognition of Representatives

          GN 03910.060 When a Representative’s Appointment Ends

          GN 03940.001 Fee Agreement Process Overview


          EM-21021 REV - Online Forms SSA-1696 Claimant’s Appointment of Representative and SSA-1693 Fee Agreement for Representation before SSA - 11/12/2021