When you hire a disability attorney, they typically work on a “no win, no fee” basis. This means they only get paid if they win your case. On average, they’ll take about 25-30% of the backdated benefits you receive, with a cap set by the Social Security Administration. According to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), this usually comes to about $6,000, but it can vary depending on how complicated your case is.
The good news is, if your attorney doesn’t win your case, you won’t owe them anything. It’s a way to give you peace of mind during what can be a stressful time. And if you do win, under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), the government might have to cover your attorney fees.
Most disability attorneys stick to this standard payment setup, making sure you have access to the legal help you need when going for disability benefits. It levels the playing field, so you’re not going up against the government alone.
What Does a Disability Attorney Do?
A disability attorney specializes in helping individuals through the often-intricate process of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. They’re dedicated to advocating for those unable to work due to disabilities, providing vital financial support.
To begin, the attorney thoroughly assesses a client’s situation to determine if it aligns with SSDI eligibility criteria. They meticulously gather pertinent details such as medical records and work history to construct a robust case. Additionally, they guide clients through the extensive paperwork required by the Social Security Administration (SSA), ensuring all documents are accurately and punctually submitted.
Throughout the journey, the attorney serves as a bridge between the client and the SSA, managing communications and safeguarding the client’s interests. They may also offer valuable insights and prepare clients for hearings or appeals if needed.
Ultimately, a disability attorney significantly bolsters the likelihood of a successful SSDI claim, offering indispensable support to those grappling with the challenges of a disability. Their expertise is pivotal in navigating this process effectively.
How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Charge?
The process begins with a free consultation. They’ll get to know you and discuss your medical history, work background, and how your disability affects you. They’ll also break down the ins and outs of the SSDI process and give you a realistic take on your chances. It’s a chance to feel comfortable and decide if this partnership feels right.
Once you’re on board, your attorney gets to work. They’ll gather all the important information, such as medical records and work history. Then, they’ll help you with the SSDI application forms, making sure every detail is correct. They’re your liaison, sending off your application to the SSA on your behalf.
Once your application is in, your attorney steps up as your advocate. They handle all the back-and-forth with the SSA, making sure everything stays on course. If there’s any additional paperwork needed, they have it covered. They’re also there to get you ready for any hearings or appeals that might come up.
Most disability attorneys work on a “no win, no fee” basis. That means they’ll only charge a percentage, usually around 25-20%, of the retroactive benefits if they win the case. If things don’t go in your favor, you won’t owe anything.
Occasionally, attorneys might bill by the hour, but it’s a bit of a rarity in disability cases. This usually applies to specialized services beyond the standard SSDI process, like handling related legal matters.
For specific tasks in the SSDI application process, some attorneys might offer a set fee. This keeps things clear and gives you a heads-up on the costs tied to certain stages of your case, like document preparation or attending hearings.
What is back pay?
Back pay is a lump sum of retroactive benefits paid to individuals eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It covers the period from the onset of the disability to the approval of the SSDI claim. The amount is determined by considering two key dates: the onset date of the disability and the date the claim is approved.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates back pay by factoring in a standard five-month waiting period from the onset date. This means the initial five months are not included in the back pay calculation. For instance, if the onset date was established as a year prior to claim approval, back pay would encompass the seven months following the waiting period.
It’s important to note that back pay may be subject to deductions like attorney fees, if applicable, and adjustments for other government benefits received during that period. Essentially, back pay provides recipients with the financial support they would have received if their SSDA claim had been approved sooner, compensating for the delay in benefit payments.
What other fees could I be charged?
When you’re going for SSA benefits, there might be some extra costs to keep in mind.
Medical Record Copies: Getting copies of your medical records is very important for your disability claim. However, some medical providers might charge for this service. Prices can vary, so it’s good to check with them.
Travel Expenses: Depending on your situation, you might need to travel for things like medical exams, hearings, or meetings related to your application. This could mean paying for transportation, a place to stay, and other related costs.
Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA): This is an important one. If you win your case against the SSA and meet specific criteria, you could get some of your legal fees and expenses covered. It’s there to make sure you get a fair shot, especially when you’re up against government decisions.
Remember, keeping track of all these expenses is key. And don’t hesitate to talk to a disability attorney. They can offer great advice on how to handle these costs and even help you get reimbursed by the EAJA if it applies to you.
Why Do I Need a Disability Lawyer?
A disability attorney serves as a knowledgeable companion in the process of obtaining disability benefits. They are well-versed in the intricacies of the system, ensuring your case is meticulously prepared. This involves collecting essential medical evidence, managing paperwork, and fortifying your case, significantly boosting your chances of success.
Furthermore, an attorney takes on the role of your advocate, engaging with the Social Security Administration on your behalf. They handle all correspondence, address inquiries, and prepare you thoroughly for any hearings or appeals that may arise. Essentially, they act as your skilled negotiator, ensuring the process runs smoothly.
For those currently navigating a disability claim, consider these valuable legal resources:
This organization provides advocacy, legal resources, and support for individuals with disabilities. They have a network of protection and advocacy systems in each state, offering legal assistance and information to those facing disability-related challenges.
The DRLC is a non-profit organization that is committed to upholding the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. They have a track record of securing significant wins in court. These successes serve to safeguard and enhance the rights of individuals, ultimately working towards eliminating discrimination and other legal barriers.
If you’re ready to talk to a legal professional, we’ve got you covered. Find a reputable disability attorney through our online disability attorney directory today.
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