Here's a message I received recently on a listserver for North Carolina Social Security attorneys, edited to remove names and locations:
Note that the field offices complain when these forms are submitted more than once, saying it makes extra work for them and causes confusion, but, at least where I am, the field offices are unreliable in entering an attorney's representation documents into their system. The documents disappear for weeks or months or disappear altogether. The field offices also complain about having to take calls asking whether they've entered attorney representation into their system. When the forms disappear, the field offices always blame the attorney.I can echo ____'s experience with the SSA FO [Field Office] in _____. The letters of representation along with my 1696s, 1695s, and 827s [apart from the 827 these are forms that Social Security needs to establish that the claimant is being represented] routinely that I mailed to the FO would disappear into some black hole. Taking them down to the FO for personal delivery did not work either as the security guards are not permitted to handle materials pertaining to SS benefits nor was a receptacle into which I could put correspondence readily available. Since delivery confirmation and certified mail are rather expensive, we started faxing in addition to mailing our LOR and initial forms to the SSA FO so that we would receive a fax confirmation sheet showing that we submitted our LOR and initial forms. Even then, the SSA FO staff there would always react like it was our fault if we called to find out if our letters of rep and initial forms were received and they could not find any record of our represent ation of our client in their system. The addition of a reminder or "tickle" to f/u with the FO sounds like a great idea for helping to deal with this situation.