It's no secret that the Social Security Administration (SSA) turns down many applicants for benefits. When you are unable to work because of a medical condition, your financial situation can worsen rapidly. Once you get your denial, it's important that you understand your rights to an appeal and your rights to use a Social Security attorney at the appeal. Read on to learn more about how to get affordable legal help with your Social Security case.
What to Know About Back Pay
When you apply for Social Security benefits, there is usually a gap between the time you became disabled and the time your application gets approved. When your application is denied and you request an appeal, that action only adds on the number of months you must wait for benefits. The SSA recognizes the financial strain this wait can place on applicants and pays them for the intervening months. This pay is known as back pay.
What to Know About Contingency Fee Agreements
While many people have heard personal injury attorneys advertise that you won't need to pay any money unless you win your case, few realize the same opportunity exists for Social Security lawyers. The big difference in Social Security contingency fee arrangements and personal injury contingency fee arrangements is the oversight provided by the SSA. Just as with other contingency fee arrangements, the attorney takes a percentage of your Social Security back pay, but these agreements must follow the rules and be approved by the SSA.
The SSA Oversight
Social Security attorneys work closely with the SSA when it comes to the contingency fee arrangements. The fees collected by a Social Security attorney cannot exceed 25 percent of your back pay with a maximum of $6,000. You and your attorney can always agree to a fee arrangement that is lower than 25 percent but never more than that. Additionally, the fee agreement must be submitted to the SSA for approval. Once you are approved, at your appeal hearing, the fee you owe your attorney is automatically deducted from your back pay and you are provided with the balance of the funds.
Other Case Charges May Apply
While the contingency fee agreement covers the bulk of legal services, there may be some miscellaneous charges that won't be covered. The fee agreement will disclose things like copying fees, mailing fees, and further representation if your case has to travel up the appeals ladder to other appeals.
This type of fee arrangement is ideal for applicants that need representation but lack the ready funds. Speak to a Social Security attorney to find out more.