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

The Cost and Expenses of a Disability Attorney or a Disability Representative

When a claimant obtains representation by a disability attorney or a non-attorney representative, they sign two very important forms provided by the representative, which are mailed to SSA (social security administration).

The first form is an appointment of representative form, otherwise known as a form SSA-1696. This form, as one might think, states who will be representing the disability claim. It also effectively puts the social security administration to:

A) Include the representative when sending out notices to the claimant (so that both the claimant and the representative both receive copies of all notices, requests for information, and appointments)

and also

B) To ask the representative's permission before attempting to directly contact the claimant (this is done to protect the claimant).

The second form that is signed when a person is establishing a relationship with a disability representative is a fee agreement. This form will also be mailed to SSA, but it must be approved by social security before it becomes binding on the claimant.

Note: because all disability attorneys and non-attorney representatives are aware of the fact that the fee agreement must be approved, fee agreements tend to use the same language and they all tend to look very much alike...making it even more important, of course, for an individual to carefully read their fee agreement before signing it so that they can become fully aware of what it stipulates.

What does the fee agreement do? It sets forth on paper just how the representative (attorney or otherwise) will be compensated for providing representation on the claim. What are the costs for being represented on a social security disability claim, or being represented on an SSI claim?

There are two types of costs: the actual fee for representation and incidental expenses. The fee itself is non-negotiable and that is because it is regulated by the social security administration and by Congress. The fee for representation is only paid by a claimant in the event that their case is won. It is paid, in most cases, directly to the representative by the social security administration.

How is the amount determined? The fee is equal to 1/4 of the claimant's social security back pay, payable up to a maximum limit which is currently set at $6000.

So, if a claimant receives one thousand dollars in disability back pay, the representative would receive $250 in back pay, as this would be one-fourth of the back pay. If a claimant receives $24,000 in back pay, the representative would receive the maximum fee of $6000, which would be the maximum.

However, if the claimant received any amount of back pay higher than $24,000 then the representative could still only receive $6000 as this is the absolute maximum fee that a disability attorney or non-attorney can receive in compensation for their services.

The second type of cost that may be owed to a representative by a claimant whose case has been won is incidental expenses. Usually, this includes the cost of obtaining medical records and statements from your doctor or doctors, both of which are types of evidence that are used to support the case.

However, some representatives charge for other expenses, such as for the cost of postage or for travel expenses to a hearing location. For this reason, before signing with any representative should always read their fee agreement carefully before signing.

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
If you meet a Social Security Disability listing, can a judge deny your claim?
The regulation for SSDI Retroactive Benefits?

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 to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
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