When you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, or want to appeal an initial denial, you will need the help of a Social Security disability lawyer. You may be concerned over the legal costs of hiring a good lawyer. However, that is not a problem as most disability lawyers work on a contingency basis. A contingency agreement is beneficial to both you and the lawyer. Here is a look at what this is and what a lawyer typically charges you under such an agreement.
What is a Contingency Fee Arrangement?
Under a contingency fee arrangement, you are required to pay little to nothing upfront. Instead, the payment is deferred until a favorable result is achieved in your case. Your lawyer gets paid once your application for disability benefits is successful. If the application is not successful, the lawyer is not paid anything.
Such an arrangement has benefits for both you, as the applicant, and your lawyer. As an applicant with disabilities, you are probably not in a financial situation to pay hefty legal fees. With a contingency arrangement, you are able to proceed with your case without having to pay such fees. This is a huge relief for most applicants.
The contingency fee arrangement is also beneficial for your lawyer. In return for deferred payment and the risk of total non-payment if the application fails, the lawyer charges you higher than usual. This is the price you must pay for enjoying the benefit of zero upfront payment.
Another key advantage of this arrangement is that the full commitment of the lawyer is guaranteed. This is simply because the lawyer will get paid only if, and when, your claim is successful. This makes sure that the lawyer is fully invested in the outcome of the case.
What is a Typical Fee Agreement?
As an applicant, you may naturally want to know exactly how much fees are typically payable under a contingency arrangement in a disability benefits case. There’s a clear answer to this.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has clear guidelines and laws on the maximum amount of fee a lawyer can charge in a disability claim. As per these laws, a lawyer can charge you a maximum of $6,000, or 25% of your backpay, once your claim meets success.
The lawyer is required to charge whichever is the lower of these two calculations. For instance, if 25% of your back pay amounts to $4,000, the lawyer must charge you $4,000 instead of $6,000. If, on the other hand, 25% of the backpay is calculated at $8,000, the lawyer can’t charge you above $6,000.
It is important to note that the figures above are the maximum cap on legal fees in disability claims. If a claim is straightforward, you may be able to negotiate a lower percentage with your lawyer.
Exceptions and Fee Petitions
The limits noted above are defined by SSA and must be observed in all disability claims. However, there are some exceptions. Sometimes, a disability case can drag on for several hearings and many years. It may go from SSA hearings to a federal court, taking up a considerable time and effort on the part of the lawyer. This is when the lawyer can file a formal petition with the SSA, seeking to be paid more than $6,000 in lieu of legal fees.
Once a petition like this is filed, SSA will review the details of the disability claim and see if the lawyer qualifies for higher fees.
Who Pays the Legal Fees?
When you hire a Social Security disability lawyer and reach a fee agreement, this agreement must be submitted to SSA in writing. SSA then reviews the agreement and approves or rejects it. If the agreement is approved and your claim finally meets success, SSA pays the agreed-upon amount directly to your attorney. These are the legal fees of the lawyer, and they are deducted from your backpay.
Hire a Reputable Greenville Social Security Lawyer
If you are applying for SSA disability benefits for the first time, or want to file an appeal against an initial rejection, we can help you. Here at Robert Surface, we have been working with Social Security disability benefits applicants for many years. We help Greenville-based applicants file for benefits and have their claims accepted as soon as possible.
We also strive to make sure that you receive the maximum amount of money in lieu of back pay. If you want to discuss your claim or see what contingency fee arrangement we offer, wait no more. Call us today to discuss your claim with our disability lawyers for free.