When it comes to payment for legal services, there are numerous aspects that come into consideration. These include, but are not limited to, the amount of work completed, the amount of work billed to the client, the final result in court, the amount of settlement obtained, the type of law being practiced, and many others. There are also numerous ways in which legal fees can be charged to a client, the main ones being the following. A regular hourly billing rate, which involves charging the client for every hour of billable work that the attorney has completed. A social security lawyer will usually not employ this method. This method of payment is usually seen in family law, immigration practice and other litigation-based areas. Another method involves charging no fee until a positive result is obtained for the client (called a contingency based payment schedule). This method of payment is usually employed in personal injury cases, but is also seen here, in SSDI benefit claims.
When an SSDI claim is filed and an attorney is hired, the recipient will usually sign something called a contingency fee agreement, which essentially allows the Social Security Administration (SSA) to pay the recipient’s representative if the claim is approved. The SSA has some statutory and substantive guidelines in regards to the agreement, and officials from the administration will review the recipient’s agreement in order to make sure it follows such guidelines. A social security lawyer will be able to draft an agreement which abides by these guidelines.
One statutory requirement of the agreement is that the fee an attorney can charge is limited to 25% of past due benefits and can go up to a maximum amount of $6000 USD. It is important ton note that not every agreement needs to abide by this specific rule, however in practice, most do. The recipient’s representative will be paid out of their past-due benefits (called disability backpay). This means that if there are no past due benefits, the representative will not receive a fee. The calculation for disability back-pay involves adding the retroactive benefits you are owed from the date you were approved to the backdate that the SSA had determined for you. It is important to note that, if you are successful in the claim, your social security lawyer will usually not even be involved in the fee transaction. This is because the fee will be paid out of the disability award received.
Overall, there are numerous methods that an attorney can charge their client for legal services rendered. These range from flat fees, to hourly billables, to contingency fees. In regards to SSDI claims in specific, your social security lawyer will almost always charge a contingency fee for work done. This is done through a contingency fee agreement, which the SSA reviews and ensures is up to legal and industry standards. In conclusion, having a competent social security lawyer is imperative in arguing these types of claims, and one of the best parts is that your fee will be paid out from the benefits you receive. Therefore, no benefits, no fee!
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