When you can’t work and are struggling to make ends meet, hiring a lawyer to prepare your Social Security disability claim may seem like it’s not financially feasible. However, quality legal representation is much more affordable than you think.
Understanding Contingency Fee Agreements
Social Security disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay an upfront retainer or an hourly cost for legal assistance. Instead, the lawyer will agree to accept a portion of the back pay you receive.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) must approve all fee agreements for applicants using a lawyer to prepare their claim. Fees are typically capped at a maximum of 25% of your back pay or $6,000, whichever is less. If the case requires multiple hearings or appeals, a lawyer may be permitted to charge more than $6,000. However, the vast majority of cases are settled well within the $6,000 cap.
Calculating Back Pay
Back pay refers to disability benefits that accrue from the time you first applied to the time your application was formally approved. The SSA awards back pay in recognition of the fact that it often takes several months for an application to be approved.
If you are not awarded back pay, your lawyer will not be allowed to charge a fee for legal services. This typically happens in one of two ways: you are either denied disability benefits entirely or your case is approved so quickly that back pay doesn’t have time to accumulate.
Paying Associated Legal Costs
Although a Social Security disability lawyer’s fees are limited, there may still be legal costs associated with your case. For example, your lawyer may need to pay to obtain copies of your medical records. The fee agreement provided when you hire a lawyer should explain how these charges will be handled.
Contact O’Connor Law Today
O’Connor Law helps New York residents who can’t work due to ongoing medical conditions access the disability benefits they need to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.