Conduct his or her dealings in a manner that furthers the efficient,
fair, and orderly conduct of the administrative decision-making
This affirmative duty includes, but is not limited to, the following:
competent representation to a claimant
This affirmative duty requires that a representative know the significant issue(s)
in a claim, have reasonable and adequate familiarity with the evidence in the case,
and have a working knowledge of the applicable provisions of the Social Security Act
(Act), the regulations, the Social Security Rulings, and any other applicable provisions
of the law.
with reasonable diligence and promptness
This affirmative duty requires that a representative provide prompt and responsive
answers to our requests for information pertinent to the processing of a claim or
availability for a hearing when we request it
This affirmative duty requires that a representative respond to our request for available
dates and times prior to scheduling a hearing by providing the number of potential
dates and times we request in the manner we specify.
representation in a non-disruptive manner
This affirmative duty requires that a representative ensure that his or her withdrawal
will not disrupt the processing or adjudication of a claim and will allow the claimant
adequate time to find new representation, if desired. We will make determinations
on whether a representative has withdrawn in a disruptive manner on a case-by-case
basis. Although we will not prevent a representative from withdrawing, if we determine
the representative has withdrawn in a disruptive manner, we may refer the representative
to OGC to consider pursuing sanctions.
A representative should not withdraw after we set the time and place for the hearing
except when extraordinary circumstances are present. Extraordinary circumstances include,
but are not limited to, medical emergency of the representative or an immediate relative,
a natural disaster, or the loss of a family member.
If another representative replaces the representative who is seeking to withdraw and
there is no detrimental impact on the hearing process (e.g., delay of the hearing),
we will not consider the withdrawal to be disruptive.
e. Maintain prompt and timely communication with the
This affirmative duty requires that a representative, among other things, keep the
claimant reasonably informed of all matters concerning representation, consult with
the claimant on an ongoing basis, and promptly respond to the claimant’s reasonable
requests for information. When making determinations about this affirmative duty,
we will consider the difficulty the representative may have in locating the claimant
because the claimant is homeless) and the representative’s efforts to fulfill this