Attorneys' Fees in Social Security Disability Claims
Posted on behalf of Phillips Disability, P.C. on Nov 16, 2017 in SSD
Disability lawyers do not charge upfront fees. Instead we work on contingency, meaning we only get paid if you win your claim. This method makes it easier for disability claimants to pursue their case because they will not have to confront the barrier of having to pay legal fees before they are awarded any benefits.
The skilled Social Security Disability lawyers at Phillips Disability work vigorously on every claim, fighting for the benefits you deserve. We can discuss your claim during a free initial consultation where we can further explain how our fee is calculated.
Attorneys’ fees for Social Security Disability cases are paid under a rule set by Congress as part of the Social Security Act. This rule states how much an attorney can charge, where that payment comes from and how the attorney must go about putting together the fee agreement.
This requires that your attorney provide you with an agreement that states how he or she will be paid. This agreement will state that the attorney is taking the case on contingency, meaning that the attorney will only collect attorneys’ fees if you win your claim. There are no upfront fees or retainers to pay while your case is pending. This agreement will also state that you provide permission for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to pay this fee if you win your claim.
Before the SSA approves any award for attorneys’ fees, it will review the fee agreement between you and your lawyer to safeguard your interests. The SSA reviews the agreement to ensure that it meets the fee agreement guidelines and limits the attorney’s fee to what he or she is legally entitled to deduct from your backpay.
If you are awarded benefits, the attorneys’ fees are deducted from your backpay award and will be sent directly to the attorney by the SSA. If you are denied benefits, no attorneys’ fees are paid. However, there are some situations where an attorney can petition the SSA for a higher fee.
Limit on Attorneys’ Fees
Federal law limits the attorneys’ fees you can be charged. The maximum amount is 25 percent of your backpay, up to a maximum of $4,000. For example, if your backpay is $10,000, 25 percent of this amount would be $2,500.
If an attorney charges more than this amount without specific permission from the commissioner of Social Security, he or she can face punishments, including possible suspension or loss of his or her law license.
The attorneys’ fee can only come out of the claimant’s backpay. These benefits are calculated based on the following criteria:
- For SSDI claims, your backpay includes all retroactive benefits you are owed, beginning on the date you were approved and going back to your onset date up to 12 months from the date of your application.
- For SSI claims, your backpay includes retroactive benefits beginning on the date you are approved and going back to your application date.
The first check you receive from SSA will include your backpay for the months when your application was pending minus the attorneys’ fee.
Attorneys’ fees are payment for the attorney’s time to represent you. These fees pay the attorney for his or her research, compilation of your record, representation during a hearing and other work the attorney does. However, your attorney may incur other costs to work on your claim, such as:
- Requesting medical records
- Requesting other types of records
- Paying for independent medical examinations
Information about how you will pay these out-of-pocket expenses may be included in your written fee agreement with the attorney.
Contact an Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer
Don’t let fear of having to pay attorneys’ fees prevent you from pursuing your Social Security Disability claim. At Phillips Disability, our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers diligently represent your interests by developing your claim and helping you navigate this system one step at a time.
We provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim and work on contingency. We will thoroughly explain our fee arrangement during your consultation.
Call us at 1-800-503-2000 to get started on your claim today.