How do Disability Lawyers in New Jersey get paid their fees?
Social Security Disability lawyers and non-lawyer representatives with fee withholding are paid by Social Security with funds withheld from your back payment of disability benefits and the back payment of benefits to any dependents on your record up to a $6000.00 maximum.
In other words, there is no fee payable to a disability attorney or non-attorney representative in New Jersey unless the case is won. The fact that there are no upfront fees that may be charged means that practically anyone may obtain representation to assist them with a Social Security Disability or SSI claim.
For the past few years, the fee limit has been $6000.00 or 21% of the back payment whichever less is. This does not mean a lawyer or representative in New Jersey is not allowed to charge for the expenses they incurred while developing your disability case. Incidental expenses, or out of pocket expenses, might include but are not limited to copying fees, cost of medical records, travel expenses, phone charges, physician statements, or even medical/vocational experts.
Disability representatives will include all incidental expenses which they expect payment for in the fee agreement that is signed by the disability applicant and representative.
Some lawyers charge incidental expenses only if they win the case, while others may only charge the expenses if they win or lose your case. It is important to read any fee agreement carefully as they are a legally binding financial contract. If your representative does not have fee withholding authorized by SSA, you are responsible for paying their fee out of your disability back payment (in either situation, however, it still comes out of the back pay, whether SSA sends the representative their fee or you do).
Lastly, if there is no back payment of disability benefits, your representative or lawyer does not get a fee for the case. However, they are entitled to charge any of the agreed upon incidental expenses.
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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