As Tallahassee disability lawyers, we often receive calls inquiring how much it costs to retain our services. It can be confusing to understand how the Social Security Attorneys Fees process works on a successful Social Security claim.
(Please also check out our post “How to Select the Right Representative”)
Upon hiring us as your disability lawyers in Tallahassee, our clients sign a fee agreement to be reviewed by the Social Security Administration. The SSA will review the agreement made between the client and the representative to ensure that neither party is paid an off-balanced amount. Tallahassee disability lawyers are bound by the same regulations as Social Security advocates throughout the country. For approval of the fee agreement, these general regulations have been set by Congress and the SSA to protect clients from overpaying attorneys:
- Fees must not exceed $6,000 in the initial fee agreement.
- Fees must not exceed 25% of the winning claimant’s back-pay.*
- Fee agreements must be submitted before the first favorable decision date for a claimant’s case.**
- Attorneys will be paid only if the case is won.
* The claimant’s back-pay is the amount of post-due benefits expected to be awarded to the winning claimant from the onset date of his/her disability to the date the decision was made.
** If the fee agreement is not met and submitted to the SSA by the decision date, an attorney has the right to either file a petition or waive the fee.
Who Do I Pay?
Nobody! At Liebenhaut Law, our Tallahassee disability lawyers work with our clients to agree on a fair contingency fee for their social security disability claims. A contingency fee means we do not get paid unless you do. If you do not win your case with us, then you owe nothing to us. You will also not owe us for the hundreds of dollars of medical records costs that are often incurred building your case. If you win your case for Social Security benefits, a percentage of your back-pay, agreed upon in the fee agreement, will be sent to us directly by Social Security. This is similar to how most disability lawyers in Tallahassee are paid as well as social security disability advocates throughout the country.
Some Tallahassee disability attorneys may ask for additional costs. But generally, your costs with our firm will be limited to the costs involved in obtaining medical records. And these costs are not required until after we win your case. Unfortunately, we cannot pay for doctor visits and evaluations; it is unlawful for ANY Tallahassee disability lawyer or any Florida lawyer to provide financial help to acquire these for a client!
When and How Do I Get Paid?
Beneficiaries typically wait no more than 90 days before they receive their first payment of benefits. Shortly after receiving your first benefit payments, you should receive your back pay lump sum. As your Tallahassee disability lawyers, our fees will be collected from this lump sum. Social Security should handle this for you. Depending on whether you are receiving benefits from the SSDI or SSI program, payments schedules are set as follows:
SSI recipients typically receive their payments on the 1st of the month. This is unless the 1st of the month falls on the weekend or a legal holiday. If this is the case, benefits will be paid the banking day before the 1st. For example, if the 1st of April were to fall on a Sunday then the beneficiary would receive his/her payment on the last Friday of March
For SSDI, a beneficiary’s payment date depends on the beneficiary’s birthday; beneficiaries with birthdays that fall on:
- The 1st – 10th of a month, receive payment on the second Wednesday of every month.
- The 11th – 20th of a month, receive payment on the third Wednesday of every month.
- The 21st – 31st of a month, receive payment on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
Those receiving both SSI and SSDI receive payment on the 3rd day of the month, with exception to holidays and weekends.
Today, beneficiaries are most commonly awarded their due benefits electronically. This is why we, and Social Security, request your banking info during the initial application stage of your disability case. When discussing your case with one of our disability lawyers in Tallahassee, we encourage you to provide this information, as it is the safest and easiest way to collect awarded benefits for disability.
It is also common for a beneficiary who is unable to manage his/her finances to be appointed a representative payee. This person, usually somebody close to the beneficiary, must be 18 or older and complete the Representative Payee Accounting Report online; individuals under 18 can also be appointed as payees and must complete the paper Representative Payee Report form sent via mail and return it to the return address provided on the form.