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The Basics of Attorney Fees: How Much Do I Have to Pay My Attorney?

by | Jan 2, 2024 | SSD - Social Security Disability |

Hiring an attorney in your Social Security Disability case is often extremely helpful due to their expertise in the field and preparing your case, but the cost of hiring an attorney can be a huge concern for many. When you hire an attorney to represent you, you will sign representation forms which include a fee agreement. Overall, there are some important things to point out when explaining attorney fees including whether you won/lost your case, if you are owed any back pay, and the cap the government puts on fees. To start, your attorney can only receive any possible fees if you won your Social Security Disability case. This means you must receive either a fully favorable or partially favorable decision awarding you benefits. If you lost your case, you do not have to pay your attorney. Secondly, in order to receive any possible fees from the win, you must be awarded back benefits. This means your attorney can only receive fees from any past benefits you are entitled to. They are not able to receive any future or ongoing monthly benefits. Finally, the Social Security Administration has capped attorney fees in Social Security cases at 25% of your past due or back benefits or $7,200, whichever is less. This is most your attorney can charge you if your case is won at the hearing level or below. For example, if your attorney wins your SSDI case and your back benefit is $12,000, then the attorney fee will be 25% of the back benefit, or $3,000. However, if your back benefit is $80,000, the attorney fee would be the cap of $7,200. Their fee would not be $20,000 (or 25% of $80,000) since that would be more than the cap of $7,200. Please note these are just the basics of attorney’s fees and are several nuances such as if you hire more than one attorney, the appeal process, and charging for costs of your case. Overall, understanding the basics of attorney’s fees may help you better understand payment and why it can be crucial to hire an experienced law firm like Midwest Disability to represent you in your case.


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