It can be challenging applying for disability benefits. There are many ways that a disability lawyer can help you with your application to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Many applicants are worried about the potential costs of hiring a disability lawyer, but in most cases, costs are only passed on if the application is finally approved, minimizing any upfront costs. The most a disability lawyer can charge is regulated by the SSA which helps to make the legal costs more predictable. Most disability lawyers provide free initial consultations where you can discuss your application and the lawyer’s fees in advance.
What is the Most a Disability Lawyer Can Charge?
The majority of disability lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that if they take on your case and provide legal help at any stage of your disability benefits application or appeal, legal fees charged will be deferred until the benefits application is approved by the SSA.
The legal fees are usually deducted from the backpay received from the SSA after disability benefits payments have been approved. It can often take several months, even up to a year, before disability benefits payments are made.
Because of the delay in payments, there is often a considerable amount of backpay due to you. The legal fees are deducted only out of this part of the payment. The maximum that can be charged is 25% of the total backpay, or $6,000, or whatever is the least of the two amounts. For example, if you receive $16,000 in backpay after your application has finally been approved, the maximum legal fee that can be charged will be $4,000, which is 25% of the backpay.
Do SSD Lawyers Pay For Any Legal Costs?
It is always advisable to ask the lawyer about their fee payment structure before engaging them to help you with your disability benefits application. Most additional legal costs are usually fairly minor, such as photocopying fees, postage, fees for medical documentation, copays, etc.
Get Help With Your SSD Claim
The fear of having to pay legal fees can prevent a disability benefits applicant from seeking help from a disability attorney, but in most cases this fear is undeserved. Disability lawyers generally work on a contingency fee arrangement, which means there are no upfront costs for the applicant to worry about when seeking legal advice.
Disability lawyers are also restricted in how much they can charge by a maximum imposed on them by the SSA. Legal fees are only paid once an application has been approved and backpay is paid. The maximum amount of legal fees is 25% of the backpay or $6,000, whichever is the least. It is always advisable to discuss legal fees with the attorney before hiring.
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