I-1-1-40.Rules Governing the Conduct of Representatives

Last Update: 3/29/13 (Transmittal I-1-63)

Citations:

The Social Security Act (Act) authorizes the Commissioner to make and publish rules and regulations that are necessary to discharge the Commissioner's duties under the Act. As a result, the Commissioner promulgated regulations to implement the Act's provisions regarding representation of claimants.

Under the regulations, the Commissioner or his or her designee may, after due notice and opportunity for a hearing, suspend or disqualify from practice as a representative before the Social Security Administration (SSA) any individual who:

  • does not meet our qualifying requirements;

  • has violated the affirmative duties of a representative or engaged in actions prohibited by the Commissioner's rules and regulations;

  • has been convicted of a violation of section 206(a) or section 1631(d)(2) of the Act;

  • has been, for reasons of misconduct, disbarred or suspended from any court or bar to which the individual was previously admitted to practice; or

  • has been, for reasons of misconduct, disqualified from participating in or appearing before any Federal program or Federal agency.

Under 20 CFR 404.1770(a)(3)(ii) and 416.1570(a)(3)(ii), disqualification is the sole sanction available if a representative:

  • has been, for reasons of misconduct, disbarred or suspended from any court or bar to which he or she was previously admitted to practice;

  • has been, for reasons of misconduct, disqualified from participating in or appearing before any Federal program or Federal agency; or

  • has collected or received, and retains, a fee for representational services in excess of the amount authorized.

An employee in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) will generally refer suspected misconduct using the procedures in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-1-1-50. However, the Commissioner or his or her designee may also refer alleged violations to the Office of the Inspector General for investigation and potential criminal prosecution or civil action. If an ODAR employee believes a criminal violation has occurred, see the instructions in HALLEX I-1-3-3, I-1-3-6 and I-1-3-9.

See 20 CFR 404.1740 and 416.1540 for more information about the rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for claimant representatives.

See Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 03970.010E for specific examples of violations of affirmative duties and engaging in prohibited conduct and POMS GN 03970.010F for examples of criminal violations.