Disability lawyers, unlike the other lawyers, do not require a retainer or an upfront fee to work on your Social Security disability case. Most advocates and disability attorneys will get their money after winning the case. The cost is referred to as contingency fees. Let’s look at how it works.
Contingency Fee Contract
When you initially hire an advocate or a disability lawyer, you will sign the fee contract that will allow the SSA pay that attorney in case your claim is approved. This contract is signed when you are filling the SSI or SSDI. The agreement will be reviewed by the SSA to ensure it meets the federal law fee agreement. For this reason, the lawyer will only receive the amount he is entitled to receive. The fee agreement is meant to be conducted on a contingency basis. In this case, he will only receive the money once your case is approved.
How Much Is the Advocate’s Fee?
For the Social Security advocates, the fee has a limitation of a maximum of 25 percent of benefits awarded to the claimer. Moreover, the amount must not exceed &6,000. It is important to note that this money will be subtracted from your benefits after winning the case. The attorney will also not receive a fee if no back-dated benefits are awarded to you. However, the lawyer can request a higher pay if he submits a fee petition to Social Security.
For you to hire a disability lawyer for your case, you require no upfront money. They will be paid from the money you receive after the petition. Some lawyers, however, will ask you to pay some associated costs at the commencement of your Social Security case.
When do you pay the fee? In most cases, you don’t have to pay. The SSA will take the lawyers fee from the disability check before it is passed to you.
Once your benefits are approved, the SSA will calculate the back pay you are owed. For the SSDI, the backpay will have an inclusion of the retroactive benefits that date from your approval date to the determination date as stated in the presented documents. In most cases, it dates back from the past 12 months after application.
For the SSI, your benefits will be calculated from the date the benefits were approved back to the initial month of application. The attorney will charge you a maximum of 25 percent of the total benefits received. However, the money must not exceed $6,000. For instance, if your benefits sum up to $10,000, you will receive $7,500. In this case, your attorney gets $2,500. However, the attorney will get more money if he negotiates with SSA. However, it cannot be done without hearing.
During your representation period, the claimant’s medical records must be represented by the disability lawyer to the board or judge. He will also resent your work and school records. In rare cases, he will be required to present your psychological or medical examinations. However, these are some of the most expensive examinations. The client must cater for these costs without affecting the attorney’s pay. Other costs may include the postage and copying charges. In most cases, it will be unusual for these costs to exceed $200. The miscellaneous costs are often lower.
Sometimes, the lawyer will ask you for the money to cater for these expenses in advance. So long as the attorney holds the money in trust until it is needed, this action is always permitted by the federal guidelines. However, most lawyers leave these costs at the feet of their clients. Once the case has been closed, the attorney will send you a bill to request a reimbursement if you win or lose the case.
Before you hire an advocate or disability lawyer, ensure you understand your case concerning the necessity of these miscellaneous expenses. You can also ask if they are likely to occur. Moreover, you can also inquire about the inclusion of other miscellaneous expenses.