Representatives can be attorneys or non-attorneys. Representatives must abide by standards of conduct, which the Social Security Administration has published. In addition, many representatives do not charge a fee unless they win your case. A representative cannot charge you until Social Security authorizes the fee the representative is looking to collect from you.

If you do not know of any representatives in your area, your local Social Security office can give you a list of legal referral services and non-profit organizations, (such as legal aid services and local bar associations) that either provide services free of charge or help you find a representative.

If you decide to have a representative, you must sign and submit a written statement to us appointing him or her to represent you in your dealings with Social Security. You may use Form SSA-1696 (Appointment of Representative) for this purpose.

Appointment of Representative, Form SSA-1696