Going through the process of applying for Social Security disability can be difficult and frustrating. The truth is that a majority of people — at least two-thirds — don’t even get approved for benefits during their initial application. To help with their chances and tips the odds slightly in their favor, many people hire legal representation in the form of a Social Security disability attorney.
Social Security disability attorneys are experts when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of the SSA. They know what information is important and relevant to a case, and they know how to build a strong claim that can help applicants win the benefits they need. While this can greatly improve your chances, it can add another level of worry when you start to think about money and how to afford it. The good news? Hiring a disability attorney really doesn’t cost much at all.
How Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid
When people think of attorneys and legal fees, they usually picture lawyers issuing bills for hundreds of dollars every hour, eventually racking up bills in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. While this might be the case when it comes to things such as personal injury claims or other civil suits, the actual truth is much different when it comes to Social Security disability attorneys. Not only is it very different, but it’s set up to directly benefit those who are disabled and trying to make ends meet with the help of government assistance. To understand the difference, there are a few things to know.
1) Are all Lawyers Paid?
The first thing you should know is that disability attorneys get paid on contingency. This means that they only get paid if you actually win your case and get awarded benefits. So, in that sense alone it costs you nothing to consult with an attorney. If you don’t win your case, then you will never be expected to pay a cent, no matter how much time your attorney actually spent on your case. Even more, because you only pay when you start receiving benefits, you’re never actually losing money when it’s time to pay your attorney fees.
2) Where Does the Money Come From?
The second thing to know is that your legal fees are never actually paid out of your own pocket. If you win your case, your fees are paid strictly from your benefits. If you’re worried about losing some of your monthly benefits for these fees, though, it gets even better:
Social Security disability attorneys are never paid directly from the “normal” monthly benefit payment. Instead, it comes out of what is known as back pay. What is back pay? It’s extra money you receive after being awarded benefits — money that is designed to cover the time between being awarded benefits and your first payment actually arriving. How much back pay you can expect to receive varies, but typically there’s about a two to three month period before that first check arrives.
3) How Much Can You Expect to Pay?
The final important thing to know is that, unlike most legal situations, attorney fees for disability cases are set by the government. There is no worry about negotiating, overbilling or price gouging. This fee is predetermined, and you never have to worry about an attorney trying to take advantage of you. Because of this, you can know right away how much your attorney will be paid.
How much? Once your monthly payment amount is determined, then it’s a simple calculation job. You can expect to pay your attorney a set amount of 25% of your total back pay, or $6,000 – whichever is lowest. As an example — if you were awarded $1,500 a month, and your back pay totals three months, you can expect a back pay payment of $4,500. 25% of that amount is $1,125.
When put together, this means, even if you awarded the maximum monthly amount, and that is accompanied by a larger than average wait time that must be covered with back pay, the maximum amount you can expect to have to pay your attorney is $6,000, and it doesn’t even come out of your own pocket or the monthly payments you will be receiving from the SSA.
If you are going through the process of filing for disability, it’s time to consider hiring a Social Security disability attorney. If you have considered it in the past, but haven’t yet because you were afraid you couldn’t afford it, then hopefully you understand now why you can. Please take the time to contact us and set up a consultation. Remember: it’s free to you, and we collect nothing unless you win.