How Much Does It Cost for a Lawyer to Represent Me During a Disability Appeal?
In general, you can expect to pay your disability attorney 25 percent of your back pay. In most cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send you 75 percent of your back pay and forward the 25-percent fee to your lawyer.
There is an exception to this 25-percent limit. In the event you fight several years to get the approval you deserve, your back pay could reach tens of thousands of dollars. Because this could cost you a significant sum, the SSA generally has a $6,000 cap on legal fees except in special circumstances that require the attorney to submit a fee petition and ask for permission to charge more.
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How Do Social Security Disability Benefits Work?
Social Security Disability benefits are for people who are disabled and cannot work in the capacity that they usually would. Typically, you have to meet certain criteria to qualify for the program’s benefits. For example, the SSA considers your current working status, the severity of your disability, and your ability to work in a different job.
When you qualify for Social Security Disability, you can use this money to help cover your living costs when you have limited income and working capacity.
Applying for Social Security Disability
When you apply for Social Security Disability, you will need to provide information to make sure you qualify. This information can include the following:
- Your name and Social Security number
- Bank information
- The number of children you have under the age of 18
- Medical information, including treatments you have received and the medications you are taking.
- Information about your work history, such as your level of previous income and the previous jobs you have had
- Your previous education and training
Once you have submitted all the appropriate information, the SSA determines if you are eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
What Is a Social Security Disability Lawyer’s Role?
A Social Security Disability lawyer helps people get appropriate payments for Social Security Disability. They can help you go through the process and review your legal options. If your claim is denied, you will have the option to appeal the denial.
At Berger and Green, we can work with you through the appeals process to help you get any Social Security Disability benefits you are entitled to. We can help you understand the process and help make the legal process go more smoothly for you.
It’s easy to be concerned about the fees related to legal services, so it’s important to understand when and how much you are required to pay your lawyer.
When Do I Have to Pay My Lawyer’s Fees?
Social Security Disability lawyers and personal injury lawyers do not ask you for fees up front. Disability attorneys generally provide representation on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing until your attorney gets your disability benefits approved. Your lawyer can only collect a portion of your unpaid back pay. If an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) or an appellate court overturns your denial but does not grant you back pay, your lawyer will not receive payment.
The only fees this rule does not cover are any costs above and beyond the usual expense associated with an appeal. When you review the fee agreement, it should outline the types of expenses that may not fall under the general fee. We can discuss how our fee structure works when you consult with one of our Social Security Disability attorneys.
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SSDI and SSI
Social Security Disability benefits involve two distinct programs that both provide money to people who are disabled. The medical requirements are the same, but each program is slightly different.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is dependent on your previous work experience and payment of social security taxes. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also available to people with disabilities, but it is not based on your prior work experience. Rather, it is based on your need for supplemental income.
How Does the SSA Determine Back Pay?
When you finally win your appeal and the SSA awards you the disability benefits you deserve, it will determine the exact date you first qualified for benefits based on your medical condition. In other words, the SSA decides the date you became disabled and unable to work.
In some cases, this may be the date you stopped working. It could be the date of an accident or the date you received a serious diagnosis. It may even be the date you underwent a specific test or imaging scan.
This date is important because it determines how much back pay you receive. You will receive money to cover the months between the date you first qualified and the date you received approval, minus the five-month waiting periodfor SSDI recipients. The SSA bases your attorney’s fees on this total. Your attorney receives their portion, and you receive the rest. For SSDI, this is usually a lump-sum payment. SSI beneficiaries receive their back pay in a series of smaller payments.
How Can I Talk to a Disability Lawyer Today?
The disability attorneys from Berger and Green know what it takes to get you the disability benefits you deserve. We offer our services on a contingency fee basis and will be glad to discuss our fee agreement with you during our free initial consultation. Call us today to get started. We want to help you get the disability compensation so that you can meet your expenses. We know it can be challenging and are ready to help.