How much can an attorney charge for Social Security Disability?

How much can an attorney charge for Social Security Disability?

While Social Security is not an adversarial process, it can be a very daunting process. Social Security understands that an average person is highly unlikely to be cognizant of the intricacies of Social Security Disability medical vocational guidelines or court rulings. Therefore, they established a way for disability applicants to have legal representation for a disability claim without having to pay legal retainers. An attorney must be amenable to the fee guidelines established by Social Security if they wish to represent disability cases.

An attorney can only collect a fee for representation if 1. you are approved for disability benefits and 2. you are also entitled to a back payment of benefits. Their allowable fee is 25% of your back payment up to a maximum of $6000.00 whichever is less. They are allowed to collect 25% of the back payment for any dependent entitled on your record if they did not receive the maximum $6000.00 fee from your back payment.

For example, if you have a back payment of $20,000.00, your attorney can collect $5000.00 for their fee. If you have dependents, the fee works the same; they are allowed to collect 25% of their back pay or $1000.00 (this example) whichever is less.

If you get an attorney, they will have you sign a fee agreement that will state that you agree to pay them 25% your back payment up to the maximum of $6000.00. The fee agreement can include other expenses such as medical records, travel, or any other expense incurred in the development of your disability case.

Note:Your attorney can ask for payment of expenses whether you win or lose your disability claim. Social Security neither approves or disapproves the expenses that your attorney requests. However,fee agreements are legally binding and should be read carefully to see prior to signing. You are liable to anything you agree to pay.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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