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 have a representative and you are interested in getting one but do not know how to, 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.