If you are searching for a lawyer to represent you in dealings with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may be concerned about how much it will cost to find a competent lawyer to represent you. The SSA regulates how much a Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer can charge a client for litigating a disability claim. If you or a family member needs legal representation for your disability claim, you should contact an experienced Fayetteville Social Security Disability lawyer today. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP our disability lawyers are prepared to work tirelessly to represent you in your disability claim against the SSA. Our lawyers break down how much SSDI lawyers charge in Arkansas.
How Much Are SSDI Lawyer Fees?
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, they should present you with a fee agreement. A fee agreement is a legal document that defines the scope of the lawyer’s representation and any other services that the lawyer will provide. The fee agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties. If the disability claim is being made on behalf of a child, the child’s parent or legal guardian must sign in place of the child.
As mentioned, the SSA sets the amount of compensation that an SSDI lawyer can receive for representation. This means that a lawyer must receive authorization from a court to charge a client a fee for services. A lawyer’s fee cannot exceed 25% of the disability claimant’s past-due benefits. This means if the court awards you backpay of $25,000, your lawyer will be entitled to a maximum of $6,250 if you agreed to a 25% fee. It is important to note that the fee in a disability claim is typically contingent upon the favorable resolution of the case. Therefore, your lawyer cannot receive compensation after losing the case.
While your lawyer cannot recover a fee for a lost case, they can request payment for administrative expenses needed to handle a case. The following is a list of reasonable expenses that a lawyer may request compensation for:
- Copying fees for obtaining records from hospitals, schools, and other facilities
- Retaining expert witnesses
- Mailing fees
Your attorney will likely not ask you for reimbursement for administrative fees in advance and instead will ask for these fees after the case is complete. If you do pay the fees in advance, your payment should be kept in an escrow account. If there is still money left in the account at the end of the case, the attorney should return the remaining balance to you.
To learn more about the costs of SSDI litigation, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville social security disability attorney.
Reviewing Attorney Fees in SSDI Cases
You can ask the court to review the fee agreement within 15 days of receiving notice about how much your disability lawyer can charge. Generally, there are four ways that a fee agreement can be reviewed:
- Your lawyer asks the SSA to increase the fee and notifies you of the reasoning for increasing the fee (e.g., having to represent you in multiple hearings)
- You request that the SSA decreases the fee
- A beneficiary that could be affected by the fee (e.g., your spouse) asks the SSA to decrease the fee
- The SSA unilaterally requests that the fee be reduced because the lawyer did not adequately represent the claimant or the fee was excessive
Both parties can submit information to the reviewer to help them make a decision.
Additionally, if you are not happy with the representation that you are receiving, you have the option of hiring a different lawyer. However, this option should not be exercised after the lawyer has extensively prepared for the case, because the next lawyer may have difficulty representing you on short notice. If you request another lawyer early in the case, you will likely not incur any financial penalties. One common reason for discharging a lawyer is lack of communication. It is important to know whether your lawyer is making progress on your case or whether they are having trouble.
Our Fayetteville Social Security Attorneys Can Represent You in Your Disability Claim
If you or a family member needs to litigate a disability claim, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville social security attorney. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the SSA’s disability claim process. Our disability attorneys have represented residents of Fayetteville and across Arkansas, and we would be proud to represent you. We are ready to work with you and present you with reasonable fee options to handle your disability case. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your claim, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840, or contact us online.