COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: How do attorneys get paid in a Social Security Disability matter?
If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Kansas social security disability attorney, representing clients in Salina at McCullough, Wareheim & LaBunker, P.A. Give us a call at (785) 233-2362 or complete our inquiry form.
The Social Security Act controls what attorneys can charge disabled workers. In general, the Social Security Act states that attorney's fees must be reasonable. To insure that this is the case, attorneys cannot charge a fee until it has been approved by either the proper component of the Social Security Administration or the Federal Court system.
There are two general ways that attorneys take cases. The most common attorney/client contract involves a contingency fee. The contingency fee that is allowed by the Social Security system is that an attorney can charge 25% of back due benefits not to exceed a maximum of $6,000.00. In other words, if the attorney wins your case and you are paid $16,000.00 for back due benefits, the attorney would be paid a fee of $4,000.00. There are no fees charged on future benefits. This fee agreement must be approved by the Social Security system or the Federal Court.
The other common fee agreement involves an hourly rate contract which normally involves an hourly rate in the approximate range of $175.00. If this is the type of contract the attorney and client enter into, the attorney must file a Fee Petition with the Social Security Administration or the Federal Court. The attorney must itemize all of the time that they are billing and give a description of the services provided. The Social Security Administration and/or the Federal Court would give the client an opportunity to object to the fees. If there are no objections, a decision is made as to whether the fee requested is reasonable and fair, and if so, an Order is entered allowing the attorney to charge the fee.
When a disabled worker wins a claim, they are usually entitled to back due benefits. If the disabled worker was represented by an attorney, the Social Security Administration will send 75% of the back due benefits directly to the disabled worker. They will retain the remaining 25% of the back due benefits to pay toward the attorneys' fees that are ultimately approved. If there is money left above and beyond the attorneys' fees, that amount is paid directly to the disabled worker. If the attorneys' fees amount to more that what was withheld, it is the responsibility of the disabled worker to pay the attorney.
In either case the contract with the attorney requires that the client be responsible for any reasonable and necessary expenses advanced or paid for by the attorney. Normal expenses include the cost of medical records, paying doctors for their time giving statements, travel and long distance telephone. The client is responsible to the attorney for said expenses whether the case is won or lost.
On behalf of McCULLOUGH, WAREHEIM & LaBUNKER, P.A. we hope this material will be of benefit to you in answering your questions relative to social security disability. Contact one of our SSD claims lawyers representing clients in Salina, Kansas (and throughout the State of Kansas) today to schedule a free consult on your file.