Saturday, February 02, 2008

Social Security Disability Attorney Fees - What is the Representation Fee?

Social Security Disability and SSI disability claimants inevitably have questions about representation. And for good reason. At the social security disability hearing level, it is obvious that having a disability representative can substantially increase the chances of being awarded social security disability benefits.

One of the questions that claimants have is the cost of representation. I've spoken about representation and the cost of using someone for disability representation a number of times on this blog, but let me restate the major points now for those individuals who are A) considering finding a disability lawyer and B) concerned as to whether or not they can actually afford representation.

Here are the basic facts:

1. Claimants (or potential claimants, for that matter) will have no difficulty finding representation on the basis of cost. This is because social security disability representatives are not paid a fee unless a case is won. If the case they represent is not won, there is no fee.

2. Because social security disability attorney fees are only paid in the event that a case is won, nothing is paid upfront. This relieves a claimant of the enormous burden that is often found in other types of representation. With social security disability and SSI disability, there is no such thing as a retainer or advance fee payment.

3. Social security disability attorney fees are actually lower as compared to attorney fees in other types of cases. In other matters of legal representation, an attorney may be entitled to as much as 33 percent of a claimant's award. When it comes to SSD and SSI representation, however, the fee is capped to only 25 percent of a claimant's total back pay. But even better, the fee can never exceed a pre-set maximum that has been determined by the social security administration. Currently, that maximum is $6000. In other words, when it comes to social security disability and SSI, fees are capped to a reasonable limit.

4. Social security disability attorney fees are paid by the social security administration to respective attorneys. Fees are paid out of a claimant's back pay, but the claimant is not required to actually deal with this aspect of the case. This is simply one less hassle for a claimant who has been through the rigors of a disability to have to deal with.

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