How much your Social Security disability lawyer charges is regulated by the government.
This is one of the most-frequently asked questions of Social Security disability lawyers. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is part of the United States government. Specifically, the SSA is an independent agency within the executive branch of our government.
Because it is part of the federal government, our Congress determines what a lawyer may charge for representing an SSA disability claimant (that is the person seeking disability benefits). Put simply, and assuming a claimant is in fact awarded SSA disability benefits in a Fully Favorable Decision, a lawyer is entitled to receive up to twenty-five percent (25%) of a claimant’s lump sum back pay award. That 25%, however, is capped at a maximum of $6,000. So, the most an SSA lawyer may receive for representing a successful claimant is $6,000.
If a claimant’s back pay were $50,000, the lawyer would not be entitled to a $12,500 fee. That fee would cap at $6,000. Likewise, if a claimant’s back pay award is $10,000, the lawyer would receive $2,500 (because that is 25% of $10,000 and less than the $6,000 maximum). Costs and expenses are the claimant’s responsibilities, but are typically small amounts in SSA cases (postage, photocopies, gathering medical records, etc.). A fee agreement governs the lawyer-claimant contingency fee, while a special SSA form (known as the SSA-1696) permits a claimant to appoint that lawyer as his/her representative for SSA purposes.
The phrase “contingency fee” was just mentioned. A lawyer’s 25% fee is continent upon a successful SSA disability application. Therefore, if an Administrative Law Judge does not find a claimant—based on the medical evidence of record, coupled with that claimant’s testimony during a hearing—to be disabled, then the claimant is not awarded SSA disability benefits and the claimant does not owe any lawyer’s fee. If there is a finding of disability, the 25%/$6,000 fee agreement applies.
For help with your SSA disability claim, contact Edwards & Kautz, PLLC at 866-795-5087.