Living with a disability can be overwhelming and exhausting. You need help. Filing for Social Security Disability benefits is a good place to start. However, filing for disability is a big undertaking and a long process. As a person who suffers from a disability, it probably feels like the last thing you want to do. There are mountains of paperwork, endless lines, and a lot of checking up to make sure you are navigating through the process correctly. Hiring an attorney seems like an option, but you might have some questions about what that may cost.
The truth is, everyone applying for Social Security Disability can afford an attorney because of how the payment system works. The Social Security Administration heavily regulates how and if an attorney can charge a fee. These rules and regulations significantly help people of all economic grades hire an attorney to get the help that they desperately need.
No up front cost: The attorney cannot take a fee upfront. All fees must be approved by the Social Security Administration before the attorney can get paid. The Social Security Administration tries to protect people by making sure that the attorney's fee is reasonable.
No collection efforts: In most circumstances, an attorney is not allowed to collect a payment directly from the client.
So, how does an attorney get paid? If he wins. If he does not win, the attorney does not get paid. The law allows a social security disability lawyer to charge a one time fee of 25% of your retroactive benefits (back pay) after you win your case. Even this is subject to a cap of $6,000. After you win your case, the Social Security Administration will then calculate your back pay. For SSI, it will usually go as far back as your application date. For SSDI, your back pay can reach back as far as 12 months before your application date.
So, lets say that you win your case and the Social Security Administration found that you were entitled to $10,000 of back pay. Your attorney would get paid $2,500 and you would get $7,500.
One thing of note is that the law allows the attorney to recover case expenses for things like copies or the cost of obtaining medical records.
Perhaps the question you should be asking is what may be at stake here? The truth is that there is a lot at stake. If you win your case, you will be entitled to monthly benefits. These are benefits you probably desperately need. In addition to the monthly benefits, if you win your case, you will also receive Medicaid or Medicare. You cannot underestimate the value of having this lifetime health insurance. The bottom line is that not only can you afford a Social Security Disability attorney, you cannot afford not to hire one.