There are multiple ways in which you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) but one of those methods (in-person) is not available because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Dozens of Social Security offices across the country have closed to the public because of stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.

Even though the Social Security Administration (SSA) is an essential operation, employees are either being asked to work fewer hours or work from home. This means that applicants can only apply for benefits via mail, the phone, or online. If your loved one doesn’t have access to the internet, or cannot use the phone due to a disability, can you help them apply for SSD?

The short answer is yes, you can help someone else apply for SSD. Those who are eligible to do so include the following:

  • Friend
  • Relative
  • Lawyer
  • Employer
  • Paralegal
  • Member of an advocacy group

The SSA does not require anyone helping someone else apply for SSD to register as that person’s authorized representative. However, if the person you are helping would like to name you as the authorized representative, they will need to complete the Form SSA-1696-U4.

You are permitted to complete the entire application for the person you are helping, either online or on paper, but the recipient of the benefits must sign the application electronically or using a pen. You cannot sign the application under your name or as the recipient. If the application was filed without the recipient present, a copy will be mailed to them that they must sign in order to have it reviewed.

Reasons why you might have to help someone else apply for SSD

There are a few reasons why you might have to help someone else apply for SSD and they include the following:

  • Mental incapacity
  • Physical disability
  • Unavailability
  • No access to the internet or phone service

In a few of these situations, the applicant might be physically unable to sign the application. If this is the case, the person helping the applicant complete the application should either be a legal guardian of the applicant or the authorized representative because they will have to sign the application.

If the applicant has been deemed legally incompetent, the SSA field office will ask for a copy of the court order before moving forward with reviewing the application. Being named power of attorney for the applicant is not acceptable when submitting an application for an applicant who is mentally incapacitated.

If the applicant is physically unable to complete and sign the application due to blindness, burnt hands, missing limbs, or another physical deformity; the person helping can complete the application. The SSA might request proof of your relationship to the applicant, which can be as simple as a letter stating you are a spouse, adult child, parent, sibling, or friend.

The Mississippi personal injury lawyers of Merkel & Cocke, P.A. are here to help. Please call 662-627-9641 or fill out our contact form if you have sustained an injury because of someone else’s negligence. We have offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford to better serve our clients.