How Costs Are Charged In Social Security Disability Insurance Cases
In addition to the attorney fees you will owe, you must also pay the costs associated with your case. These costs can include copying costs for your medical records and reports from your physicians.
Some lawyers will require you to pay these extra costs as they are incurred while others will pay them and get reimbursed when they are paid their attorney fees. Your retainer agreement should spell out how you must pay these costs.
Can I Afford The Cost Of A Social Security Disability Lawyer
All too often, we see people forego their right to an attorney because they think they cant afford the cost of one. In many cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Particularly in Social Security Disability law.
We understand that many people can be unemployed for a long time before their Social Security Disability case is resolved. We get it. Money can be tight. And the costs associated with working with a lawyer may seem intimidating. Thats why most attorneys, including the ones at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no attorneys fee unless we get you compensation.2If you are awarded benefits, you pay no attorneys fee until you receive Social Security Disability benefits.2 This allows people who are struggling financially and may need representation the most to have the benefit of legal guidance.
We like this arrangement. And based on our Social Security Disability client testimonials and reviews, we think our clients like it too.
Why Should I Speak To A Disability Lawyer If I Havent Applied
Filing for Social Security Disability benefits can be a complicated and confusing process. Most applicants dont know how to fill out the necessary paperwork and submit the correct medical documentation. This is a primary reason why over 65% of disability claims are originally denied.
While you dont technically need an attorney to represent you during the application process, hiring one can improve your chances of a successful claim. Statistics have shown that the Social Security Administration is more likely to approve someone who is represented by an attorney. Fill out your information to receive a free case evaluation. Start the disability benefits process today.
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Your First Steps In Meeting With Our Disability Lawyers
After youve arranged a consultation, the first step is to make sure you have your disability policy handy to discuss with our disability lawyers. If you purchsed an individual policy, please call your broker for a copy of your policy. If you are a part of a group employment plan, please speak to your benefits administrator. Dont rely on your disability insurance company to find or produce the policy. It is important that we have a copy of your disability policy, especially if it was purchased some time ago. Disability Policies have changed quite dramatically in the past several years so it is important that we review the individual particulars of your policy in order to provide you the best advice we can.
Schedule Your Ssdi Consultation Today
If you are seeking assistance in filing for SSDI or appealing a denied claim, please contact the Karl Truman Law Office today to schedule your free consultation. We can be reached online, or you can call to speak with a team member at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, or call toll-free at for service in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and other nearby areas.
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When Disability Lawyers Don’t Charge Anything
Aside from the fact that lawyers generally won’t receive a fee if their clients don’t get an award for Social Security disability, a few of our readers’ attorneys didn’t take any payment even when they won the case. This was more likely to happen at the initial application stage, where nearly two in ten readers reported that their lawyers took no payment. It isn’t surprising that this number was lower at the appeals stage, when an attorney has to spend a considerable amount of time preparing for the hearing and gathering evidence.
Which lawyers are likely to waive their fee for helping with an application? Some lawyers dedicate a portion of their time to doing “pro bono” work . They usually reserve this work for disability claimants who have very severe medical conditions and who are in dire financial straits. These claimants often have clear-cut cases and are approved at the initial decision stage, and an attorney doesn’t have to spend much time to help with such an application. Similarly, there are legal aid clinics, disability rights clinics, law school clinics, and nonprofit law firms that have staff attorneys or students who will help file disability applications in some cases, the clinic will waive their fee. But don’t count on this. Many legal aid organizations stopped helping with disability claims when the SSA started paying attorneys directly out of SSI backpay awards .
“Get a good disability lawyer. It’s worth it!”
Disabilities Covered By Ssdi
There is a broad range of physical and mental health conditions that may be covered by SSDI, which are detailed on the SSA Listing of Impairments Web page. Specific conditions fall under a number of categories recognized by the SSA, including:
- Musculoskeletal conditions, such as those caused by spinal cord injuries
- Neurological conditions, such as those caused by brain injuries
- Skin disorders, such as those caused by severe burn injuries
- Respiratory system conditions, such as cystic fibrosis
- Cardiovascular conditions, such as congenital heart disease
- Hematological disorders, such as sickle cell disease
- Endocrine disorders, such as types of diabetes
- Mental disorders, such as schizophrenia
- Digestive system disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease
It is important to note that there are some conditions not specifically listed by the SSA that may still entitle you to SSDI benefits. Your consultation with one of our attorneys can help you determine if you will qualify.
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How Are Ssdi Attorney Fees Calculated And Paid
Notice how we said fees are calculated based on your SSDI back pay? That is an SSA rule too. It means that your social security disability lawyers fees cant be paid out of your ongoing benefits. If you dont get back pay, your attorney doesnt get paid.
If your case involves a lot of extra work, like an appeal, it is possible for your attorney to petition the SSA for a higher fee. This is pretty rare with a standard disability claim, though.
What If My Attorney Charges An Excessive Fee
An unavoidable result of the contingency fee arrangement is that attorneys aren’t compensated for work performed on losing cases. Because taking cases on contingency is more risky for attorneys, legal fees in contingency fee cases tend to be higher than fees in hourly or flat-fee cases.
Still, most state bar associations prevent attorneys from charging fees that are clearly excessive, even in contingency fee cases. The amount of compensation received by your attorney must bear a reasonable relationship to the amount of work the attorney performed. If you believe you’ve been charged an excessive fee, first contact your attorney to see if you can arrive at a compromise. If nothing else, your attorney should be able to provide you with an accounting of the hours spent on your case. If your lawyer fails to address your concerns, consider filing a complaint with your state bar association.
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Challenging Denied Benefits Claims
Even if you are eligible to receive long-term disability benefits and you or your employer has paid the required monthly premiums, your insurance company may still deny your claim. If you believe your claim for benefits was unfairly denied, a long-term disability claims lawyer may be able to help you appeal the insurance companys decision. Appeals may be made directly through the insurance provider, or externally in court.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against your insurance provider for a wrongfully denied claim for long-term disability benefits, in accordance with the provinces Limitations Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 24, Schedule B, you have only two years from the time you were notified about their decision in order to pursue legal action.
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Many people are confused and intimidated by the thought of hiring and paying a lawyer.
This can be an especially overwhelming thought when you need a disability lawyer for your Social Security Disability claim. Many of our clients wonder:
How much does a disability attorney cost? or What is the cost of a disability lawyer?
For most people, a claim for disability benefits comes at a time when money is particularly tight. Paying for a lawyer might seem impossible.
However, the Social Security disability system is structured in a way that allows almost everyone with a disability claim, no matter how pressed for funds, to pay for competent legal representation by paying the lawyer at the END of the case, and ONLY if you win your claim for benefits.
So hiring a disability lawyer is probably way more affordable than you think!
For a FREE consultation with a North Carolina disability lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111.
There are no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless we successfully obtain disability benefits for you.
Call 1-800-525-7111 today and lets discuss your disability claim for free.
Because we work on a contingency basis, there are no attorney fees unless we obtain disability benefits for you.
-Scott Scurfield, lead Social Security disability attorney at Riddle & Brantley
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Are Lawyers Worth The Cost
It isn’t easy to get Social Security disability benefits, and the application process can be complicated and lengthy. But our survey showed that having a lawyer nearly doubled applicants’ chances of getting an award. Of the readers who hired a lawyer at some point along the wayto help with the application and/or represent them at the appeal hearing60% were ultimately approved for benefits, compared to 34% of those who didn’t have a lawyer’s help.
What If Ive Been Charged Up Front
Lawyers and representatives should only be charging social security disability clients a contingent fee as approved by the Social Security Administration. In fact, they can be penalized for collecting a fee that isnt authorized. If think youve been charged an unauthorized fee, talk to your representative and if they cant clear it up – talk to social security.
Watching the mail, waiting for your benefits to arrive?
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How Can A North Carolina Social Security Disability Attorney Help My Claim
In addition to helping clients gather essential documents and records and keeping an eye on deadlines, a Social Security Disability lawyer can provide assistance in:
Allow us to put our experience and resources to work for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.
How Much Does A Disability Lawyer Cost On Average
Hiring a lawyer to handle your Social Security disability claim may seem overwhelming. Due to your disability, finances might be especially tight, and you may not think you can afford an attorney.
But, a disability lawyer can navigate the ins and outs of the claim system for you, taking on the paperwork and everything else involved.
Of course, you are asking, how much does a disability lawyer cost? Not as much as you may think. Check out this guide to learn more about how disability lawyers get paid.
How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Cost: The Contingency Fee
The good news is that disability lawyers neither charge up-front fees nor do they require a retainer to work on a Social Security disability case. Rather, disability attorneys will receive a fee only if they win the case. This fee is called a contingency fee.
When you hire a disability attorney you will sign an agreement that allows the Social Security Administration to pay your attorney only if they approve your claim. The SSA will also review the agreement to make sure it meets standard fee agreement guidelines. This review ensures that your attorney cannot overcharge you.
The SSA will normally limit the contingency fee to 25% of your backpay or $6,000, whichever is less. According to recent surveys, 7 out of 10 claimants said their lawyers received less than the maximum attorney fee for social security disability.
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Speak With A Lawyer Today
If you are awarded Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will decide as of what date you became disabled. This is usually around the time that you stopped working, but could be after that time if the SSA determines that your condition worsened at a later date.
This date will be clearly noted in the decision you receive. If you are found disabled at least six months prior to the date your application is granted, you will likely be paid a lump sum for your past-due benefits, and this is the amount that is used to calculate your Social Security Disability lawyers fee.
Your Social Security Disability lawyers fee will be 25%, of your back benefits, and this is often paid to them directly from the SSA. However, the fee is capped at $6,000, no matter how much in past-due benefits you receive.
If your disability hinders your ability to be able to work full team, speak with a Social Security disability lawyer today.
How Is Back Pay Calculated
When you get approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, the SSA will calculate how much back pay you are owed. Back pay for SSDI is factored in to the time that you applied for SSDI benefits. You may also receive retroactive payments, which are benefits you are owed from the date you were approved back to the date the deemed disabled by the SSA. SSDI back pay is paid in a lump sum.
Back pay for SSI benefits are calculated from the date that you were approved for SSI benefits to the month after you applied. Unlike SSDI benefits, SSI back pay does not come in a lump sum.
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If Your Appeal Goes Further You Can Be Charged Up To Another 25%
If your case is appealed to the federal courts and you win your claim, you can be charged another 25%. In theory, where the back benefits are $40,000 the lawyer could receive up to $20,000 of the total back benefits. However, as a practical matter there is a very good chance you will not pay that full amount to your lawyer.
Not only does the larger fee have to be approved, but often the Equal Access to Justice Act will pay some part of your lawyers fee in many cases won in federal court. Any dollar paid by the government to your lawyers fee is a dollar you do not have to pay them.
What Does The Expense Agreement Cover
At the conclusion of your LTD case, you’ll likely be required to reimburse your attorney for the costs of your case, including the cost of medical records, depositions, postage, filing fees, and travel expenses. Before hiring your attorney, make sure you’re clear on what costs are covered by the expense agreement and whether you’ll be charged for these costs even if your case is unsuccessful. When you’re eventually billed for the expenses, your attorney should include an itemized list of charges. Be on the lookout for bogus costs such as “overhead” that are not directly related to your case.
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How Much Is The Representative’s Fee
When you sign a fee agreement with a Social Security disability lawyer or nonlawyer advocate, the fee is limited to 25% of the past-due benefits you are awarded, up to a maximum of $6,000.
The representative will be paid only out of your past-due benefits, or “backpay.” If no back-dated benefits are awarded, the representative will not receive a fee. However, in this situation and a few others, the representative is allowed to submit a fee petition to Social Security to request a higher fee.
It doesn’t usually cost you anything to hire a representative the fee will be paid out of the disability award you eventually receive. Some representatives, however, will ask you to pay a nominal amount for costs at the beginning of your case.
When do you have to pay the representative’s fee? Usually, you don’t. The SSA takes the entire representative’s fee from your award of backpay, before the agency sends it to you.
We recently surveyed readers of this site who had won their case and asked them about how much backpay their disability representatives took. For the majority, it was significantly less than the $6,000 cap. For the details, see our survey statistics with the average fees paid to Social Security disability lawyers, both when a lawyer represented a disability applicant at a hearing and when the applicant won benefits at the initial application stage.