A legally declared incompetent adult may be able to consent to the disclosure of his
or her own records. We will honor the consent of a legally declared incompetent adult
when both of the following conditions exist:
The legal guardian refuses to consent; and
The interviewing SSA representative is reasonably certain that the individual is capable
of making a rational decision concerning the particular disclosure.
The interviewing SSA representative must be able to establish that the person to whom
we would disclose records, based on the individual’s consent, will use the information
on behalf of the individual. If it appears that the disclosure will be harmful to
the individual, the FO manager (or other official) may want to question the individual's
capability of providing “informed consent.” If the incompetent adult is not capable
of making a rational decision concerning the disclosure, send the request to OPD for
processing under the guidelines of the FOIA. For additional FOIA processing instructions,
see GN 03350.005J. For more information about legal incompetency, see GN 00502.023.
A legally declared incompetent adult claimant secures an attorney to challenge the
determination that he is incompetent and provides consent for us to disclose relevant
claim file information to his attorney. The claimant’s legal guardian refuses to consent
to disclose any information to the attorney. The FO manager interacts with the claimant
frequently, believing the disclosure would be on behalf of the claimant and would
help to protect the claimant’s right to conduct his own affairs. In this example,
the FO manager makes the decision to honor the claimant’s consent and disclose relevant
and necessary information to his attorney, without the legal guardian’s consent.