How Much Do I Have to Pay a Social Security Disability Attorney?

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Posted by Corey Luedeman

If your Social Security Disability claim was recently denied, you may be considering whether to hire an attorney.  After you have narrowed down your list of potential lawyers, you probably have some questions about how much you need to pay for a disability attorney’s services.

Social Security Disability Attorneys Generally Work on Contingency

Most people hire Social Security Disability attorneys on a contingency fee basis.  That means the attorney gets paid for their work on your claim only if Social Security approves your claim.  If you are denied benefits, you will not have to pay an attorney fee.

Generally, a fee agreement for Social Security Disability claims do not charge a client more than 25% of past-due benefits awarded.  There is usually an upper limit of $6,000 of past-due benefits, which is a common arrangement for cases where an attorney assists a client through the end of the hearing level of the appeals process.

For example, if you receive a back payment of $40,000, and you have signed a 25% fee agreement, your disability lawyer fee could be $10,000, depending upon which level of appeal you were approved at.  However, you will likely only owe $6,000 in attorney fees if you were approved at the Administrative Law Judge hearing level or before.

The reason for this is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) must approve any fees paid to the attorney.  To receive their fee, a Social Security Disability lawyer has to file the fee agreement with the SSA.

In some situations, where cases have to be appealed to the Appeals Council or to Federal Court, an attorney may use a different fee agreement where their fee could exceed the $6,000 cap set by the SSA.  This is because an attorney will need to work more hours on your case.  Even when this happens, fees are still limited to 25% of your back pay and have to be approved by the SSA.

Other Expenses Accrued During Your Social Security Disability Claim

There are other expenses an attorney will pay on your behalf while working on your case.  These can include:

  • Medical records copy charges
  • Getting expert opinions from your doctors
  • Travel expenses to and from a hearing
  • Postage

These are all considered to be expenses additional to the fee paid for their work on your case.  At the end of your case, your attorney might ask that you reimburse these expenses.  Expenses do not need to be approved by the SSA.  At RSH Legal, we only ask that you pay back expenses if you win your case.

You can read more about hiring the best disability lawyer for your case by filling out the form on the right and downloading your free copy of the Law Guide to Iowa Social Security Disability Claims.

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