What Can A Disability Lawyer Charge For Their Services - Fees and Expenses?

Social Security allows disability claimants to retain the services of a Social Security Disability representative to help them with their disability claims.

Disability representatives can be lawyers or non-attorney representatives. All attorney and non-attorney representatives are bound by the same fee guidelines. They are allowed to charge twenty-five percent of any back payment of benefits up to the current maximum fee amount of $6000 (this amount increases from time to time).

This simply means if an individual is approved for disability and there is a back pay of benefits, the representative is entitled to twenty- five percent of the back pay amount or six thousand, whichever is less.

Certainly, if an individual's back pay of disability benefits amounts to two thousand dollars the lawyer is not going to receive six thousand. They will receive five hundred dollars.

That being said, disability applicants should keep in mind their lawyer is entitled to twenty five percent of all back pay benefits on the claim. If twenty- five percent of the disability beneficiary's back pay does not reach the maximum, the lawyer is entitled to twenty - five percent of each dependent's back pay up to six thousand total (for instance, a dependent could be a child of the claimant).

In addition to the normal fee agreement amount, lawyers and representatives are allowed to charge their clients incidental fees. Incidental fees might include the cost of copies, telephone calls, travel, medical records, or vocational experts.

The important thing to remember when retaining the services of a Social Security Disability lawyer or representative is to read your fee agreement thoroughly. If you do not understand something in the fee agreement ask for clarification. Some disability lawyers charge incidental expenses whether they win or lose your case, some do not charge incidental fees, and others only charge incidental fees if you win your disability case. Once you sign your fee agreement you have legally obligated yourself to pay the agreed upon expenses.

While it may seem complicated, the services of a disability lawyer or representative can mean the difference between losing or winning your disability claim, especially at the administrative law judge hearing appeal level.

While some disability applicants are approved at the initial disability claim or reconsideration appeal level, far more have to appeal their disability claim to an administrative law judge to win their disability benefits.

With this fact in mind, Social Security sets fee guidelines that make disability representation affordable for all. Lawyers and representatives are allowed a fair fee for their services and disability applicants do not have be disadvantaged because they cannot afford to pay a retainer or legal fees up front.

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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