Attorneys fees for disability cases

What is the most an attorney can charge for disability?

How much can a Social Security Disability charge?

It is important to know that the Social Security Administration has to approve all fees paid to a private attorney for helping with a Social Security Disability case.  Further, you always have the right of due process to contest any fees your Attorney charges.  Generally speaking, 25% of the total lump sum back pay up to a limit of $6,000 is the most an Attorney can charge for helping with your Social Security Disability case, up to the level where you have a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.

Some law firms also charge fees for copying or requesting medical records.  We do not charge those fees, but some firms do so it's important to understand if there are any other fees.  Everything should be clearly outlined in your fee agreement that you and your Attorney signed when he or she started helping you with the case. 

Most Attorneys use what is called "Two-Tier Fee Agreements."  The reason is because if the case needs to be appealed past the ALJ hearing stage, then a new fee agreement will need to be drafted and signed by the client and attorney.  Here is an example of the fee agreement that we use at Pinyerd Disability Law, LLC.  Keep in mind, Social Security Disability is a Federal Process, so the same fee agreement can be used for any state.  When an Attorney is approved to represent clients for Social Security cases, that allows the Attorney to represent clients from any state.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(sample Social Security Disability fee agreement)

I, ____________________(“client”), employ Pinyerd Disability Law LLC (“attorney”) to represent me before the Social Security Administration (SSA) in my disability case. If I win at any administrative level through the first administrative law judge (ALJ) decision after the date of this agreement, I agree that the attorney fee will be the lesser of twenty-five percent (25%) of all past-due benefits awarded to my family and me, or the dollar amount established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(a)(2)(A), which is currently $6,000, but may be increased from time to time by the Commissioner of Social Security. I understand that my attorney has the right to seek administrative review to increase the amount of the fee set under the preceding sentence of this agreement; but if that happens, my attorney will not ask for a fee of more than 25% of total back benefits awarded in my case. If the first ALJ decision after the date of this agreement is a denial and my attorney agrees to appeal and I win my case later, my attorney will ask SSA to approve a fee no greater than twenty-five percent (25%) of all back benefits awarded in my case. If I receive both social security disability and SSI benefits, I understand that my total fee will not be more than 25% of all past-due benefits, or no more than the limit set by 42 U.S.C. § 406(a)(2)(A), if the limit applies. I understand that if I do not win benefits, then the attorney gets no fee.

SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION: I have employed my attorney to represent me in my Social Security disability and/or SSI claim. I understand that my attorney does not represent me in any other public or private claim related to my disability, or with any other government agency or any insurance company unless separate arrangements, including a separate contract, have been made for representation on any other claim.

PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY FEES: I understand that SSA may hold out 25% of past-due benefits and pay my attorney for his work on my case unless my attorney waives withholding and direct payment.

If I receive both social security disability and SSI benefits, I understand that my total fee will not be more than 25% of all past-due benefits, or no more than the limit set by the first paragraph of this agreement – if the limit applies.

I HAVE NOT BEEN PROMISED THAT I WILL WIN: Attorney Pinyerd said he will do his best. He did not promise me that I will win.

___(signature section)_______________________

(end of sample fee agreement)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In sum, this sample fee agreement is for cases up until the ALJ hearing level.  The additional conditions are for when there will need to be a new fee agreement if appealed to the Appeals Council or Federal Court.  A vast majority of cases are resolved at the ALJ level, where the fees are 25% of the lump sum back pay, up to a limit of $6,000.  Feel free to call us anytime with any questions about fees or anything else. 

Thank you!

Categories