Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

If I File For Disability And Want An Attorney To Represent Me, Does Social Security Cover My Legal Fees?

In a manner of speaking, Social Security does cover legal fees for you if you want a disability attorney. Social Security has set forth guidelines that limit how much and when an attorney is entitled to receive legal fees for representing Social Security disability applicants. Social Security rules stipulate that an attorney or a non-attorney disability representative can collect a portion of a disability beneficiary’s back payment of benefits.

Currently, an attorney or non-attorney disability representative can collect twenty five percent of a beneficiary’s disability back payment up to the $6000.00 maximum fee amount. They are allowed to collect twenty five percent of any dependent’s (your spouse or child) back payment to reach the maximum fee amount. If you do not have a disability back payment, your attorney is not entitled to collect a representation fee.

Having said that, you may be responsible for other payment obligations to your disability attorney. When you obtain the services of an attorney or non-attorney representative, you usually sign a fee agreement. Social Security allows attorneys and non-attorney representatives to charge incidental expenses for such things as copying, travel, phone calls, medical evidence, or any other agreed upon expense. Some attorneys charge these expenses only if they win your disability claim, others charge these expenses whether they win your disability case or lose your disability claim, and still others do not charge incidental expenses at all.

If your disability representative charges incidental expenses, they are included in the fee agreement you signed. Fee agreements are legally binding contracts; therefore it is very important to read your fee agreement thoroughly before signing.

Currently, Social Security withholds the attorney fee (just the representation fee not incidental expenses) for attorneys and many non-attorney representatives prior to paying your disability back payment. However, many non-attorney representatives and some attorneys do not have fee withholding. If your representative does not have fee withholding, you are still obligated to pay their fee out of your disability back payment.

Remember, if you signed a fee agreement that obligated you to pay incidental expenses, you are obligated to pay those expenses to your disability representative as well. An attorney or non-attorney representative can demand payment for incidental expenses even if there is no representation fee.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

What does a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative do for your claim?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
Disability Lawyers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing case?
Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability, or get an answer on your claim?
Using a lawyer for a Social Security Disability, SSDI, case
Receiving Social Security Disability and living in another country

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria