A claimant (or proper applicant on his/her behalf) must file a valid application to
become entitled to benefits except in those situations where automatic conversions
apply (e.g., the beneficiary is entitled to Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) in
the month before attainment of full retirement age (FRA) and benefits are converted
to Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB)). (See RS 00615.003 for the FRA chart.) Also, claimants must file a new application to become re-entitled
if entitlement was previously terminated and reopening does not apply.
EXCEPTION: A new application may not be needed if expedited reinstatement is requested under
the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (see GN 00204.001F).
A faxed application does not meet the signature requirement to qualify as a valid
application; a faxed application is considered the same as a photocopy. A photocopy
is not acceptable when the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that an individual
submit an original or a certified copy of a document. Therefore, when policy calls
for a signed application, a pen and ink signature or signature proxy is required.
The use of signature proxy is acceptable for some applications for benefits including
Internet claim (iClaim) applications, redeterminations, and other SSA processes (see
GN 00201.015 for policy and procedures for the use of alternative signature methods).