Social Security Disability Lawyers and 21% Back Pay
Social Security allows non-attorney disability representatives and disability attorneys to collect a fee of 25% of any back payment up to 6000.00 (this is the maximum amount allowable as of August of 2014, however this amount can change periodically).
This means an individual's attorney or representative can charge 25% of all back pay due to the disabled individual as well as any dependent benefits payable on the individual's record up to that maximum amount.
If an individual has no back pay or their back pay is less than the maximum amount, the attorney or representative can only collect 25% of whatever back pay is available to the disabled individual and their dependents. Sometimes that means nothing if there is no back pay, or a smaller fee for the attorney if there is very little back pay.
Regarding fee agreements
Individuals entering into fee agreements for representation should be careful about the expenses they agree to pay. Some attorneys and non-attorney representatives charge for incidental expenses (i.e. phone calls, medical records, travel, medical or vocational experts, etc) along with the standard fee amount that is mandated by SSA.
Additionally, some disability attorneys or non-attorney representatives expect that these "other expenses" will be paid whether the individual is approved for disability benefits or not. This is why it is extremely important to read any fee agreement prior to signing. Fee agreements are legally binding agreements.
If the attorney or non attorney representative is entitled to 25% of a smaller portion of the back pay, is this dependent upon when the attorney or not attorney came on to the case? The answer to this question is that it does not matter when an individual obtains the services of their disability attorney or representative. If the case is won, the fee will be 25% of any back payment up to the maximum amount allowable, regardless of when they hired the attorney.
So the fee for representation on a disability claim would be 25% of any back payment or the maximum, whichever is less, plus any agreed upon incidental expenses.
This is the same if the attorney represents the disabled individual at the initial disability claim through the disability hearing, or if the individual waits until their disability hearing to obtain the attorney's services.
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.
Questions and Answers
1. The chances of winning a social security hearing for disability benefits?
2. Can I Do My Social Security Appeal Without Using A Lawyer?
3. Can You Appeal A Decision By A Judge On A Social Security Disability or SSI Case?
4. Social Security Disability Hearing with a Judge
5. Will Social Security Follow The Opinion Of my Doctor And Approve My Disability Claim?
6. How Do I Find Out How My Disability Appeal Is Going?
7. How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled Or Not?
8. Social Security Disability Appeal Deadlines Are Always 60 Days
9. Is There A Way To Get Automatically Approved For SSI And Social Security Disability?
10. How Much Income Can A Person Earn If He Draws Social Security Disability?
11. How long does it take receive disability benefits after you are approved?
12. Appealing A Social Security Disability Determination
13. Can a Lawyer Speed Up My Disability Case?
14. Social Security Disability and the Job that You Worked
15. Can You Lose Your Social Security Disability Benefits after You get Them?
16. The Social Security Denial Letter
17. Why Will You be Sent to a Social Security Doctor?
18. What should you say if you go to a Social Security Exam?
19. How will Social Security Determine if you get Disability Benefits?
20. When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
21. What does Social Security Disability Representation Provide?
22. The Qualifications for Disability Benefits and the Types of Evidence Social Security Looks at
23. What kind of Final Decision can I receive on my Disability Application?
24. What are the Chances of Being Approved for a Child who is Filing for Disability?
25. Why are Disability Cases Involving Children More Likely to be Denied?
26. When is a Person Considered Fully Disabled by Social Security?
27. How is the Determination for Disability made by Social Security?
28. To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
29. Social Security Disability Claim Status in Pennsylvania
30. Has my Disability Claim Been Approved?
31. Will an SSI or Social Security Exam help with the Decision?
32. When you Apply for Social Security do you get Medicare?
33. Does Social Security offer Partial Disability Benefits?
34. To get Social Security Disability or SSI do you have to have Total Disability?
35. What does it mean if Social Security sends you to a Psychiatrist?
36. Should you talk to an Attorney before you file a Disability Claim with Social Security?
37. Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability, or get an answer on your claim?
38. Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
39. You Cannot get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award if you don't Provide SSA what they need
40. Social Security Disability Advice from the Wrong Sources
41. Can the Social Security Office give you Bad Advice on a Disability Claim?
42. Will my claim for SSD or SSI Disability Benefits be denied?
43. What makes you disabled for SSD, Social Security Disability Benefits, OR SSI?
44. How do you Apply for SSI?
45. How to File for SSI
46. Waiting for a Hearing to be Scheduled before an ALJ, Administrative Law Judge
47. How much time does it take to get an SSI Decision?
48. Will the Medical Rules for Receiving Disability Grant Benefits for Short Term Social Security or SSI?
49. Should I be Represented by a Disability Lawyer or a Non-Specialized Disability Attorney?
50. Will You Possibly Get Less Than Total Disability From Social Security?
51. Can You Be Denied Social Security Disability If You Have Money In A Savings Account?
52. What Is A Social Security Durational Denial?
53. Can Your Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits Be Reduced?
54. Do You Pay A Disability Attorney When You Are Approved?
55. Do You Get Disability Benefits From The First Time You Applied?
56. What is The Difference Between The Social Security Disability Application And The Disability Report Form?
57. Will the income of a Spouse Affect My Disability Benefits?
58. If I File For Disability And Want An Attorney To Represent Me, Does Social Security Cover My Legal Fees?
59. Does Social Security Do Range of Motion Exams For A Disability Claim?
60. Crucial Information about the Social Security Disability Application Process and SSI
61. What Determines If You Are Covered for SSDI (Social Security Disability) Benefits - The DLI Issue
62. What Determines If You Are Covered for SSDI - Social Security Disability Insurance
63. Can You Get Disability Benefits If You Were Self-Employed and had Self-employment Earnings?
64. How Old Do You Have To Be For Social Security Disability - Is There An Age Requirement?
65. Decisions On Disability - How Social Security Decides Claims
66. Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications - What is the examiner looking for?
67. How Much Do You Get For Disability If You Are Awarded Benefits?
68. Can You Get SSD or SSI Disability Benefits If you are Injured In An Accident?
69. Do You Have To Qualify For SSI Financially?
70. When Do You Get A Social Security Disability Award Letter And What Does It Say?
71. If You Get Workers Comp, Will You Get Disability From Social Security?
72. Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions. What Is the Rate of Approval?
73 Are Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?
74. If I Move To A State Where There Is A Lower Cost Of Living, Would My SSD Benefits Decrease?
75. If You Are Represented For Social Security Disability or SSI, When Do You Pay The Fee?
76. How Quick Is The Disability Claim Decision Made?
77. Does Your Last Job Determine If You Receive A Social Security or SSI Award?
78. Does Social Security Hold Back The First five Months Of Back Pay?
79. How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Disability Hearing?