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How do attorneys who represent Social Security disability applicants get paid?

It is extremely helpful for someone filing for Social Security disability benefits to hire a specialized attorney or representative to help them file their initial claim for disability and work through the appeals process. But how and when do these attorneys get paid after they have rendered their assistance?

According to law, an attorney who helps you file for SSDI benefits may receive up to 25% of the disability back pay that you received, or six thousand dollars, whichever is less. Your attorney does not require a retainer to work for you, as is the case with some other types of litigation. In addition, if you don't win your claim for Social Security disability benefits, then your attorney generally will not collect any funds from you.

The process of applying for SSDI or SSI is a long and tedious one. It is beneficial to have someone who can speak for you and who knows how the law works in these cases. This will give you an advantage over someone who represents himself in an SSDI or SSI case.

Looking at the statistics, most claims for Social Security disability are denied at the initial and reconsideration stages of the disability application process. This may have nothing to do with representation, but an attorney who is well-versed in Social Security disability law will be able to go through your forms and make sure that you have provided the SSA with all the information they need. Missing information is a common reason why initial claims are denied, and a qualified disability attorney or advocate can help ensure that all paperwork is filled out correctly.

Once past the initial stages, SSDI and SSI claims that are heard by one of the Administrative Law Judges will have a better chance of being approved if the claimant is represented by a skilled attorney. At the ALJ level, you can benefit immensely from the services of a disability attorney or advocate.

Having an attorney will not guarantee that your claim will be approved, of course, but they know how the system works, and statistically you will have a much better chance for approval if you have an attorney who knows your case and can help you at any further levels of claims or appeals.