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How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Cost?

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  February 25, 2020   |  

Many people are confused and intimidated by the thought of hiring and paying a lawyer.

This can be an especially overwhelming thought when you need a disability lawyer for your Social Security Disability claim. Many of our clients wonder:

“How much does a disability attorney cost?” or “What is the cost of a disability lawyer?”

How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Cost - Riddle & BrantleyFor most people, a claim for disability benefits comes at a time when money is particularly tight. Paying for a lawyer might seem impossible.

However, the Social Security disability system is structured in a way that allows almost everyone with a disability claim, no matter how pressed for funds, to pay for competent legal representation by paying the lawyer at the END of the case, and ONLY if you win your claim for benefits.

So hiring a disability lawyer is probably way more affordable than you think!

For a FREE consultation with a North Carolina disability lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111.

There are no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless we successfully obtain disability benefits for you.

Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s discuss your disability claim for free.

“Because we work on a contingency basis, there are no attorney fees unless we obtain disability benefits for you.”

-Scott Scurfield, lead Social Security disability attorney at Riddle & Brantley

How much does a disability lawyer cost?

Almost all fee agreements between lawyers and disability clients involve a type of contingent fee. “Contingent” in this context means that there is no fee due unless you win your case.

Furthermore, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) must approve all fee agreements between claimants and attorneys.  They normally limit the attorney fee to 25% of the “backpay” (otherwise known as “past due benefits”) or $6,000, whichever is less. “Backpay” or “past due benefits” are those that build up while you are waiting for your case to be approved.

For most people who apply for benefits, it takes a while (sometimes two years or more) to get through the system. If your health condition became disabling around the time you stopped working, you could be owed benefits for that entire time it takes to get through the system and start receiving benefits. Once you win your claim and SSA computes your backpay, they will pay your attorney directly out of that backpay.

Are there exceptions to the “contingency” attorney fee structure?

Now, the contingency fee arrangement is the most common fee structure for attorneys in disability cases. But as with most rules, there are exceptions. There are certain times when a disability attorney can charge more than the $6,000 cap mentioned above.

Here are a couple of the more common scenarios in which this might happen:

  • If you hire an attorney, then fire that attorney and hire a different one, the two attorneys may each be entitled to a fee (depending on how much work each one did) and the total of the two fees could be more than $6,000. Each of the two attorneys would be required to file a “fee petition” with the SSA, and again, each fee would have to be approved by the SSA.
  • If you lose your case after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), you appeal that loss to the Appeals Council, and the Appeals Council agrees that the ALJ made a mistake, they could send your case back to the ALJ for a new hearing. In such a case, your attorney may be able to ask for more than $6,000. Here again, whatever fee the attorney seeks must be approved by the SSA.

Keep in mind, if you fall into any of the categories requiring your attorney(s) to file a fee petition and you think the attorney is asking for too much, you are able to object to the amount the attorney asks for.

For a FREE consultation with a disability attorney serving North Carolinians with disabilities, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below.

The case review is free and there are absolutely no attorney fees unless we successfully obtain Social Security disability benefits for you.

Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your case. We will listen to you, advise you on your best legal options and if you choose to hire us we will fight tirelessly for the justice and disability benefits you need and deserve.

“I would recommend Riddle & Brantley to anyone who needs help with disability.”

-B. Fields

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Finally, you should be aware that the $6,000/25% cap on disability attorney fees does not apply to the amount of money your attorney pays out-of-pocket on expenses relating to your case.

What Does a Disability Lawyer Cost_ - Riddle & BrantleyIn most if not all cases, your attorney will have to pay to obtain your medical or other records and documents. He or she might also have to pay for travel, photocopy, or other similar types of expenses.

Most likely, your attorney will have you sign a fee agreement that requires you to reimburse him or her for these types of out-of-pocket costs even if you lose your case. However, rarely do these types of expenses total more than one-hundred or so dollars.

Applying for Disability or Appealing a Denial?

If you’re applying for disability benefits or need to appeal a denial in North Carolina, one of our experienced North Carolina disability lawyers may be able to help.

Remember, because we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive Social Security benefits.

For a FREE consultation with a Board-Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below.

“Hiring a disability lawyer is probably way more affordable than you think. We would love to help you if we can.”

-Scott Scurfield, disability lawyer at Riddle & Brantley

The consultation is free and if you decide to hire us we will fight tirelessly for the benefits you need and deserve.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your case.

Justice Counts for North Carolinians with disabilities and we would love to help you fight for justice and compensation if we can.