Suppose you’re considering hiring an attorney to help with your disability claim. In that case, one of the biggest concerns you may have is how much they will charge. Understanding the fee structure for disability attorneys can be confusing. This article will discuss the most an attorney can set for disability and explore the factors affecting the fees.
First, let’s do the basics: what is an injury lawyer, and why might you need one? A disability attorney is a legal proofessional who specializes in helping individuals obtain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Suppose you cannot work due to a disability. In that case, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
However, applying for and receiving these benefits can be complicated and time-consuming. A disability attorney can guide you through the process, help you gather the necessary evidence, and represent you before an administrative law judge.
Now, let’s move on to the question of fees. Disability attorneys typically deal with a contingency fee basis, which entails they only get paid if you win your case. Once your claim is approved, the fee is a percentage of your past-due benefits (also known as back pay). The maximum price a disability attorney can charge is set by law and is currently 25% of your past-due benefits, up to $6,000. If awarded $20,000 in past-due benefits, your attorney’s fee would be $5,000 (25% of $20,000). If awarded $50,000 or more in past-due benefits, your attorney’s cost would be capped at $6,000.
It’s important to note that this fee only applies to past-due benefits. Your attorney will not take a percentage of your ongoing monthly benefits, and you will receive the total amount of your help once they start. Additionally, you will not owe your attorney any fees if you lost your case.
While the maximum fee an attorney can charge is set by law, it’s worth noting that not all attorneys will charge the full payment. Some may charge a lower percentage, especially if your case is relatively straightforward or you have already done some legwork yourself. Others may charge a higher rate if your issue is particularly complex or if significant obstacles exist.
So, what factors can affect the fees that a disability attorney charges? Here are a few to consider:
The case’s complexity
If your claim is relatively straightforward and does not require much additional work, your attorney may charge a lower percentage. However, your attorney may charge a higher rate if your case is complex and requires significant time and effort.
Experience of the attorney
Attorneys with more experience may charge a higher percentage, as they have a track record of success and may be able to navigate complex cases more efficiently. However, this is only sometimes the case, and some newer attorneys may be willing to charge a lower percentage to gain experience and build their reputation.
Location of the attorney
Attorneys in larger cities or more expensive areas may charge a higher percentage due to higher overhead costs. However, this is only sometimes the case, and some attorneys might work with clients to find a fee that works for both parties.
Amount of back pay
As mentioned earlier, the attorney’s fee is based on a portion of your past-due benefits. If you are awarded a large back payment, your attorney’s price will be higher. However, the maximum fee is capped at $6,000, so even if you are awarded a significant amount of back pay, your attorney’s fee will be, at most, that amount.
In addition to the attorney’s fee, other expenses may be associated with your case, such as the cost of obtaining medical records or hiring expert witnesses. Some attorneys may include these expenses in their fees, while others may charge them separately. Ensure you understand what costs you will be responsible for before hiring an attorney.
Some attorneys may require a retainer or upfront fee. In contrast, others may only demand payment if you win your case. Ensure you understand the payment structure before hiring an attorney to avoid surprises.
It’s important to remember that while the cost of hiring an attorney may seem daunting, the benefits of having representation can be significant. A disability attorney can help ensure that your claim is presented in the best possible light, increasing your chances of success.
Additionally, navigating the disability system alone can be overwhelming and time-consuming, so having an experienced attorney on your side can take some of the burdens off of you.
If you’re considering hiring a disability attorney, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Do your research
Before hiring an attorney, research to find one with experience and a good track record of success. You can start by asking friends or family members for recommendations or looking online for reviews.
Ask potential attorneys about their experience, fees, and payment structure. Make sure you understand what you will be responsible for and what you can expect from the attorney.
Trust your instincts
Ultimately, you want to work with an attorney you feel comfortable with and trust to represent your best interests. Trust your instincts and look for someone else if something doesn’t feel right.
In conclusion, the maximum fee that an attorney can charge for disability is 25% of your past-due benefits, up to a maximum of $6,000. However, an attorney’s price may vary based on factors such as the complexity of your case, the attorney’s experience, and your location. While the cost of hiring an attorney may seem daunting, the benefits of having representation can be significant. If you’re considering hiring a disability attorney, research, ask questions, and trust your instincts to find an attorney who will work with you to attain the best possible results for your case.