TN 18 (03-24)

GN 03340.030 Access Rights of an Incompetent Adult

A. Policy on incompetent adult access rights

An incompetent adult is an individual who has been the subject of a judicial finding of incompetency. An incompetent adult may exercise the right of access on his or her own behalf. The legal guardian of an incompetent adult may also request access to the individual’s records when acting on behalf of the individual.

B. Procedure for providing access

Provide access to an incompetent adult upon request and verification of his or her identity. The reviewing SSA employee should make the decision to accept the access request based on his or her own judgment that the individual is capable of making the request and of understanding the information that they are requesting.

Before granting access to a legal guardian, verify the legal guardian’s identity and obtain documentation from the legal guardian to establish his or her relationship to the incompetent adult (e.g., court order of guardianship), if such evidence does not already exist in our records.

A representative payee does not have access rights, unless the payee is also the legal guardian. If a person is both a representative payee and the legal guardian and he or she is acting on behalf of the individual, process the request as an access request.

Field office and Program Service Center employees should determine whether a person meets the definition of a legal guardian in a particular state. Refer questions about legal guardianship status to the Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC). The ARC may further consult with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) when necessary. Central office employees may refer questions to:

Social Security Administration

Office of Central Operations

Division of Training and Program Support

6100 Wabash Avenue

Baltimore, MD 21215

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GN 03340.030 - Access Rights of an Incompetent Adult - 03/08/2024
Batch run: 03/08/2024