Alternative Signature Processes for Form SSA-827 --
"Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA)"
Since 2012, individuals filing for Social Security disability benefits on their own behalf have had alternative ways to sign and submit their Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (Form SSA-827). Adults filing online now can use a click-and-sign process, while those filing by telephone or in person can use our attestation process to sign and submit their SSA-827.
Beginning August 2013, the attestation process used for adult telephone and in person claims is also available for some disability claims filed for children. Children filing a claim on their own behalf, or individuals with legal authority to act on behalf of a child claimant can use our attestation process to sign and submit the SSA-827 when filing by telephone or in person.
How do these processes work?
As part of the disability application process, claimants have the option to sign the SSA-827 using click-and-sign (adult internet claims only), or using our attestation process (adult and some child telephone and in person claims). In both the click-and-sign and attestation processes, once the form is signed, it is transmitted and saved directly to Social Security's systems. This transmission eliminates the need for applicants to print, sign, and mail (or deliver) a paper copy of the form to a Social Security office. Our application process includes steps to verify the identity of the signer, and we continue to protect the information and records we receive. When filing online, applicants can print a copy of the signed SSA-827 for their records. For those filing by telephone or in a Social Security office, we will provide a copy of the signed SSA-827.
What are the benefits of these processes?
By offering applicants new options to sign and submit the SSA-827, we improve our process and provide better service to our customers. Social Security estimates that, on average, this reduces disability application processing time by nine days on cases filed online or by telephone, resulting in applicants receiving much needed medical insurance coverage and cash benefits sooner. Applicants filing over the internet also benefit from a streamlined process that allows for the online submission of all parts of their disability application.
If you are an adult applying for disability benefits on your own behalf, once you have read the SSA-827 and intend to authorize disclosure to Social Security, you will have the opportunity to sign the form more efficiently as part of your disability application, whether you are applying over the telephone, in person, or online.
If you are filing for childhood disability benefits by telephone or in person, you may now have the opportunity to sign the SSA-827 more efficiently as part of the disability application process.
By signing the SSA-827 using one of our new processes, you will not have to print, sign, and mail (or deliver) a paper copy of the form to a Social Security office. This means that we can begin processing the disability claim sooner.
I provide Social Security with patient or student records. How does this affect me?
You will continue to receive a signed SSA-827 with each of Social Security’s requests for records. There is no change to the current HIPAA-compliant SSA-827 form you are already accepting. In the completed signature block, you may see an indication that the applicant signed using our new processes. You may see the name of the Social Security employee in the witness block if your patient applied for disability benefits by telephone or in a Social Security office. The only new thing is the method used to sign the form.
By accepting the signed authorization, you are helping to speed up the application process, which can result in patients getting quicker access to cash benefits and medical insurance coverage under Medicare and Medicaid, which in turn may decrease the number of uninsured and underinsured patients you serve.
We will only be accepting signed authorizations using the new processes from adults filing for disability benefits on their own behalf and in some childhood disability claims, so you will also continue to see traditional pen-and-ink signed SSA-827s. We will continue to expand the number of authorizations signed with alternatives processes as we improve our services to meet the needs of the public.
I am filing a disability appeal. How does this affect me?
If you are an adult filing a disability appeal on your own behalf, once you have read the SSA-827 and intend to authorize disclosure to Social Security, you will have the opportunity to sign the form more efficiently as part of your disability appeal, whether you are filing over the telephone, in person, or online. If you are filing an appeal in connection with a claim for childhood disability benefits, you may now have the opportunity to sign the SSA-827 more efficiently whether you are filing over the telephone or in person.
By signing the SSA-827 using one of our new processes, you will not have to print, sign, and mail (or deliver) a paper copy of the form to a Social Security office. This means that we can begin processing your disability appeal sooner.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Signature Processes
How do Social Security's signature processes meet the requirements for a valid authorization under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule?
What steps does SSA take to verify identity of the signer?
How does Social Security protect the information that it gets from health care providers?
Is a disclosure to Social Security safe?
Why is Social Security using an employee attestation process for Form SSA-827 when individuals apply for disability benefits by telephone or in a Social Security office?
Organizations that are helping us spread the word about our new signature processes
American Health Information Management Association: April 2012 E-Alert
American Hospital Association (AHA): AHA News Now
American Medical Association (AMA): AMAWIRE
American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP): News in Brief: Week of March 26-30
Department of Defense (DoD): Reliance on a Signature on Form SSA-827 when Disclosing Protected Health Information to the Social Security Administration
Professional Association of Healthcare Office Managers (PAHCOM): March/April 2012 PAHCOM Journal article
For more information about these changes, contact your local Professional Relations Officer