How Do Disability Attorney Fees Work in an SSI or SSD case?

I need to file for Social Security Income benefits for a bad back, but a friend said I should get a lawyer to expedite my claim and improve my chances. How are attorney fees paid in these types of cases?


Disability attorneys' fees in SSI cases are regulated by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A disability lawyer, or nonlawyer representative, is allowed to take only one quarter of a client's disability backpayments (payments owed back to the date of application), if and when the client is awarded disability benefits.

The attorney will ask you to sign a contingency contract that will entitle him or her to attorneys' fees after you have been awarded benefits. This means that if you don't win, or you don't get backpay, you don't have to pay the lawyer. Every contingency contract must be reviewed and approved by the SSA.

If you have a pending SSI case or you intend to file one, don't deny yourself legal assistance because you don't think you can afford it, especially if you are headed to an appeal hearing. You don't have to pay the lawyer anything up front.

For more details, see our article on How Much Will a Social Security Disability Attorney Charge?

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