(SOAR) SSA Updates to Appointed Representative Services (ARS) and SSA-1696
SSA Expanding Appointed Representative Service (ARS) Access to Initial and Reconsideration Claims!
We are pleased to share that starting September 19, 2020, SSA has expanded Appointed Representative Services (ARS) (online access to applicants' electronic folders or eFolders) for Appointed Representatives (vis-à-vis SSA-1696) to access their cases pending at the initial and reconsideration levels!
This is an incredible new expansion which will gain a huge response from SOAR providers! It's not surprising that SSA will begin this rollout slowly which will limit some of you from enrolling right now.
At this time, Appointed Representatives who only have cases pending at the initial and reconsideration levels are not eligible to enroll. Appointed Representatives already enrolled in ARS have immediate access to their initial and reconsideration level cases. The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) will continue the current process of enrolling Appointed Representatives who have cases pending at the hearings level. In other words, for right now, only Appointed Representatives with cases at the hearing level are eligible to enroll.
While we recognize that that most SOAR providers only represent applicants at the initial and reconsideration levels, we know that some SOAR providers are also providing representation at the hearing level. So, please keep this limitation in mind and we will update you when SSA opens up enrollment to Appointed Representatives who only have cases at the initial and reconsideration levels.
SSA updated the Appointment of Representative (SSA-1696) form in August 2020. Be sure to use the August 2020 version moving forward. There are two changes:
SSA has eliminated the need to enter the applicant's SSN twice on the first page of the form. Originally, SSA asked for the claimant's SSN at the top of the form and then again at the beginning of Section 1. SSA has removed the entry in Section 1.
The more impactful change is the addition of a check box in Section 5. SSA added "I work for a non-profit organization (e.g. a law clinic or state legal aid)."
We advise that you continue to select the appropriate box for the questions about attorneys (most SOAR providers will check "I am a non-attorney not eligible for direct payment") and, if applicable, select the "I work for a non-profit" box. Again, check those boxes which best fit your professional and agency descriptions.