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Who Signs Applications

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

1501. Who Signs Applications

1501.1 Who normally signs the application form for Social Security benefits?

We normally expect the claimant to sign the application (which includes the use of signature alternatives to the pen-and-ink signature) personally if he or she is:

  1. At least age 18;

  2. Mentally competent; and

  3. Physically able to do so.

Where good cause is shown, i.e., dire circumstances exist that preclude the claimant from filing his or her own application and a loss of benefits may result from the delay in obtaining an application from a person authorized to file for the claimant, an application may be signed by someone else. (See §1501.2. below)

Note: There is no similar provision for medical insurance coverage. These applications can only be filed at specific times. (See Chapter 24.)

1501.2 Who signs the application if the claimant can not?

If the claimant does not meet the conditions above, the application ordinarily is signed by the legal guardian, committee, or other legal representative of the claimant. It may also be signed by the relative or other person who cares for the claimant. If the claimant is in the care of an institution, the manager or principal officer of the institution may sign the application for the claimant.

Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007

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