As the appointed representative, if I am not able to pay for copies of the medical records, can I get them from SSA or DDS?
As the claimant’s representative (using the SSA-1696 Appointment of Representative Form), you can request a copy of the claimant’s previous and current files, which include the medical records SSA and DDS received with the application. These documents are generally provided on a CD. This is allowed under the Privacy Act (5 USC § 552a (b)) “An individual may give SSA written consent to disclose his/her personal information to a third party of his/her choosing.”
Note: When using the SOAR process, staff will want to collect the medical records and submit them to DDS rather than the other way around. The reason for this is to ensure that the DDS receives all pertinent information. However, obtaining a CD from DDS can be useful when you assist an individual who has already applied and been denied.
Source: http://www.usdoj.gov/04foia/privstat.htm and https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.NSF/lnx/0203305001