§ 404.612. Who may sign an application.

We will determine who may sign an application according to the following rules:

(a) A claimant who is 18 years old or over, mentally competent, and physically able to do so, must sign his or her own application. If the claim is for child's benefits for a person who is not yet 22 years old, the application may be signed by a parent or a person standing in place of the parent.

(b) A claimant who is between 16 and 18 years old may sign his or her own application if he or she is mentally competent, has no court appointed representative, and is not in the care of any person.

(c) If the claimant is under age 18, or mentally incompetent, or physically unable to sign, the application may be signed by a court appointed representative or a person who is responsible for the care of the claimant, including a relative. If the claimant is in the care of an institution, the manager or principal officer of the institution may sign the application.

(d) If a person who could receive disability benefits or who could have a period of disability established dies before filing, an application for disability benefits or for a period of disability may be signed by a person who would be qualified to receive any benefits due the deceased.

(e) If a written statement showing an intent to claim benefits is filed with us, but the person for whom the benefits are claimed dies before an application is filed, an application may be filed as explained in § 404.630(d).

(f) If a person who could receive benefits on the basis of a “deemed” filing date of an application under § 404.633 (b)(1)(i) or (b)(2)(i) dies before an application for the benefits is filed, the application may be signed by a person who would be qualified to receive any benefits due the deceased person as explained in § 404.633 (b)(1)(ii) and (b)(2)(ii).

(g) If it is necessary to protect a claimant from losing benefits and there is good cause for the claimant not signing the application, we may accept an application signed by some one other than a person described in this section.

Example:  Mr. Smith comes to a social security office a few days before the end of a month to file an application for old-age benefits for his neighbor, Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones, a 63 year old widower, just suffered a heart attack and is in the hospital. He asked Mr. Smith to file the application for him. We will accept an application signed by Mr. Smith since it would not be possible to have Mr. Jones sign and file the application until the next calendar month and a loss of one month's benefits would result.

[44 FR 37209, June 26, 1979, as amended at 59 FR 44923, Aug. 31, 1994; 61 FR 41330, Aug. 8, 1996]