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How do Social Security Disability attorneys get paid for representing you in your disability claim?

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Learn how Social Security lawyers get paid only if your disability claim is approved and learn about the maximum fees your attorney can receive for winning your case.

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Disability Attorneys Are Paid
Only If You Win

Social Security Disability attorneys who represent disability claimants get paid on a contingency basis. This means that they are paid for their services only if you are awarded benefits. If an attorney accepts your case on a contingency basis, he or she believes that you have a reasonable chance of being approved for disability benefits.

Maximum Fee for Attorney Services

When you hire a Social Security attorney, you will sign a Social Security representation form and fee agreement with your attorney, who then, in turn, reports that information to the Social Security Administration. Your attorney can charge a fee up to 25% of your back pay or $6,000.00, whichever is less. Your attorney does not receive a fee from your ongoing monthly checks. Usually Social Security sends your attorney the approved fee at the same time as they send you the back pay.

Out-of-pocket Attorney Expenses

Typically, whether you are awarded benefits or you are denied after exhausting all appeals, you will be responsible for reimbursing your attorney directly for out-of-pocket expenses, such as court filing fees and costs to obtain medical records and reports. These charges are usually minimal.

The Benefits of Attorney Representation

For a discussion of some of the ways disability attorneys can help with your Social Security Disability claim, please see our articles “How Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Help Me Get Social Security Benefits?” and “Do I Really Have to Hire a Lawyer for My Social Security Disability Claim?”

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138 Comments

  1. Abdulsalam mohamed says:

    I get approve for ssd.
    But my ? Please is. I have five kids
    The are us sitizen but they are out of USA
    Did I have too bring them all for their back pay
    Or bring one of them only then he ,ll get all the amount
    Of the back pay.
    Because Iam real sick I can’t bring them all now to USA
    Until there mom get the visa to come to USA then my rest of kids
    ‘ll come with her
    Thank u so much

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Abdulsalam,

      One comment in general before I answer your questions: Dependent benefits for children are usually paid to the parent who has physical custody of the children, in this case, your wife.

      Factors that are considered in determining whether payments can be made abroad include citizenship, country of residence, and length of stay. Because there are so many factors, you will need to talk with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to get a correct answer to whether the payments can be sent abroad. (You may also want to clarify whether, if benefits can’t be paid, will back benefits be paid later when the children are in the U.S. or will benefits be payable only for months they are actually in the U.S.)

      As far as bringing one child to the U.S. and that child receiving the amount payable for all the children, I doubt it. It is more likely that SSA would pay one-fifth of the children’s benefits to you for the one child in the U.S.

      The way to find out for sure whether the children can be paid while out of the U.S. is to get a written determination from SSA. If you listed your children as dependents when you applied for Social Security, then your application was also an application for the children. If you did not, you need to file an application for them. Either way, be sure you get a written determination about whether payments can be made while they are abroad. That way, you will get a written decision as to whether payment can be made and the decision will include appeal rights, which is important should you think an error has been made.

      One final note: There is a difference between “eligible” and “payable.” If your children qualify as “children” under Social Security law, then they are eligible (assuming your benefit is high enough to pay a dependent benefit), but benefits might not be payable while the children are out of the country in circumstances that do not allow payment under the law.

      In any event, I hope your wife gets her visa soon.

      Kay

      • Callie M says:

        Ok i was wonderin i havent been accepted or denied yet but if I’m accepted will i get back pay for all the way back to when i became disabled jan 1st 2003 and how long does it usually take to recieve backpay and all that after acceptance? Also i have a 1 yr old son does he get money out of me being disabled? and if i do get back pay does my lawyer still get the and i quote from article ” 25% or 6,000 whichever one is less? causd if i get backpay to 2003 it wld be a. lumpsum of money so i didn’t know if they wld get a lot more than the 25% or 6,000 whichever is less?!?? Thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Callie,

          If you are approved for Social Security Disability, the maximum retroactivity is twelve months before the month that you applied. Your son’s benefits would go back to his date or birth or twelve months before your application, whichever is later. If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), benefits begin the month after application and no dependent benefits are payable to your son. The 25% up to $6,000 applies to your benefit and to your son’s benefit; that is, attorney fees could be applied to both and also to SSI. However, the limit is $6,000 from each.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  2. richard a. harris says:

    I need a backpay lawyer p help me get my pay for when I first applied for Susie.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Richard,

      Disability Advisor can put you in touch with a good Social Security attorney. Just call 1-888-393-1010.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  3. nina rouse says:

    hi i still have not recieved my disability back pay but my lawyer has already recieved their fee as well i recieved a letter from social security that my lawyer would only be recieving $348 and i would recieve $1,234.00 but my lawyer recieved over $3,000 and i still haven’t recieved anything plus my lawyer will not return my phone calls and when i have spoken with them they say they have nothing to do with it after they have won the case what should i do i have been waiting for back pay for well over a year and my lawyers have been paid for atleast 3 months now what should i do

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nina,

      I suggest going to your Social Security office (with water and a snack because you may have to wait). Ask to see either your claims representative or a supervisor. Take your letter that shows your attorney will get $348 and explain that the attorney got $3,000+ and you have gotten nothing so far. The $3,000 may be explainable if you applied for both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The attorney is eligible for up to 25% of back pay for both SSD and SSI. The letter you got may refer to only one of those benefits. Of course, none of this explains why the attorney has been paid and you haven’t. You might ask if they can take the actions necessary to get at least your SSI back pay sent while you wait as that payment is triggered locally. Both benefits have been calculated; otherwise, they would not have been able to pay the attorney.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  4. Amanda Crane says:

    i have a hearing tomorrow. i owe almost 8000 do they take all of it… also i dont care if they do was just wounding

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amanda,

      Please provide more information so that I can answer your question. To whom do you owe $8,000?

      Thank you.

      Kay

  5. Marcus holland says:

    My children just received their back pay and their representative ( which they never signed or nor did my lawyer ever help to get them anything, because I was the one who spent countless hours on the phone and in person signing them up ) got almost 3800 of their money. Is that right? Is that less that comes out of my back pay, because I was told he still gets 6000 of mine? Can I appeal and win their money back considering the lawyer not once made a call on their behalf? Please help because 10 grand to a lawyer seems like way to much!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marcus,

      Any benefits paid for your children are paid in addition to your benefit; their benefits do not reduce yours. It is correct that all money for the children be paid to the adult payee who is primarily responsible for them. This person is often the parent with whom they live.

      I cannot give you legal advice about the attorney fees. However, I suggest that you review the representation agreement you signed with your attorney to see whether it includes dependent benefits. If it does, then it is likely that the attorney fees paid from your children’s benefits are correctly paid.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  6. James Martinez says:

    I hired a SSDI attorney on a contigent basis.that if i win my case he gets paid with 25% of my backpay I won my case but had no back pay.now he is asking me for $2000 for his fee does social security allow him to do that he has sent a letter for approval to social security will they approve that since there is no back pay for him to get paid

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear James,

      Usually, claims have pended long enough for attorney fees to be withheld from back pay. Your claim is among the very small percentage that has not. You are responsible for paying your attorney for his time. The Social Security Administration will review his request and decide whether the amount he has requested is appropriate for the services performed. I suggest that you review the attorney’s request and if you think the amount represents more time than he spent on your claim, submit a written statement with your reasons for thinking his invoice is too high and the amount that you think would be appropriate. You need to do this quickly so your statement can be considered in their review.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  7. Josh S Kennedy says:

    I assume that getting approved for SSDI benefits present a special challenge for people with behavioral health diagnoses. How important would it be to hire an atty or specialist with expertise in this particular medical field, and how would I go about finding one?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Josh,

      Please clarify your question. By specialist do you mean a medical specialist or an attorney who is experienced in mental health disability claims?

      Thank you.

      Kay

    • Andrea Poole says:

      I have a question about how the attorney process works. I signed a Representative Agreement on a conginuenci (sp) fee saying if I won she would get 25% and if i didn’t she got nothing. I just got a phone call wanting me to get and pay for ALL of my medical records my self. This will cost me 500.00 or more. I had the understanding that she was responsible for getting that information.I do not have that kind of money. Is this correct?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Andrea,

        The contingent attorney fee agreement does not include out-of-pocket expenses such as the cost of obtaining medical records. Sometimes attorneys front the cost, but even when they do, the claimant is responsible for reimbursing them–whether or not the case is won. If you absolutely can’t pay for all the records, you might talk with the attorney to find out which kinds of records are needed the most(for example, certain test results) and request just those to hold down costs to a level you can pay.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  8. Princess says:

    I won my case– got letter from judge — but was wondering if Social Security ever reimburses for attorney fees? Everyone said I needed an attorney and it seems like the system has created a whole “spread the wealth system with these attorneys” — I get it this is the system and how it is set up however since they have wasted my time , been disorganized, and basically this is the most dysfunctional system I have ever been exposed to – why not pay for my attorney ? Not my fault they took over a year to review my case and my life has been a mess – seems like there should be some payment for the pain they have caused me ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Princess,

      You received the attorney’s service, not the Social Security Administration, so you are responsible for paying for the services.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  9. Shellie says:

    Hi! I received my backpay today and my daughters part was not included. I called SS and was told that her benefits were not signed up for! Not sure how that happened. My question is when I do receive her backpay will my attorney get part of hers also? Even though it is a completely separate transaction?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shellie,

      If the representation agreement you signed with the attorney covers dependents benefits and he or she has not already received the maximum $6,000 in fees, attorney fees will be withheld from your daughter’s benefits also. For example, if $4,000 was paid to the attorney from your benefits, 25% up to $2,000 could be withheld from your daughter’s benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  10. philip patrick says:

    I had an appearance with attorney in court last week before a judge said he would render a decision within 3/6 months! My question is I have been applying for 2.5 yrs and now its going to take another several months for a answer, how do they expect us to survive with no income for 3 yrs . I do get ebt and it does help but not with everyday bills ie. electric, water, gas, ect ? I was lucky to have a savings but now is depleted!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Philip,

      The time period that the judge quoted is very long. It seems that decision often go to three months, but six months is less common. I do not know whether there are big backlogs or the judge wants to gather more information from your doctors. For interim assistance, you might check with local non-profits, county or state human services departments, and your utility companies to see whether you can get energy assistance to help pay your heating bill.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  11. philip patrick says:

    On the third attempt how long does it take for the ALJ to make their decision ?

  12. Lidia Rodriguez says:

    I have a question my uncle who doesn’t write or read has a attorney and ask me to help the question is when we ask him how much will my uncle gets he saids i don’t know. We donot know how much” he “is going to get . My uncle is suing the companie he worked at for more then 15 yrs. Doing Dry sandblasting . We think it’s odd that he doesn’t know. What you think????? Thanks lidia

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lidia,

      I am not an expert on civil litigation, but it is reasonable that your uncle’s attorney would not know whether your uncle would win his suit and, if so, how much would be awarded.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  13. Annmarie Abdelmonem says:

    I applied for SSDI and its been about 6 months now I believe. I owe back support for child support which I pay $160 a month. But owe like $6000. Will they take out the 160 a month like on my unemployment every month? My application is still pending because I go to hospital for treatment everyday and have been having surgeries. But my main complaint is my cronic back pain. I take so much pain meds that I can’t function doing my job. Plus I spend 2 hours everyday ina hyperbaric chamber.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Annmarie,

      Yes, if you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and responsible for child support, Social Security will withhold the amount of support ordered from your Social Security ongoing benefits; however, there are limits to the percentage that can be withheld. They will also withhold retroactive SSDI benefits to collect as much as they can of the back child support.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  14. derek says:

    My mother was denied a year os so ago for a lack of adequate work credits. Since then, her medical condition has changed somewhat – she’s had a leg amputated, and the other one’s not too far from the same.

    Does a change in one’s medical situation (for the worse) impact the rejection based upon work credits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Derek,

      Your mother’s denial for lack of work credits was a denial for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and was not related to her medical condition. If she has not worked since then, she still would not have enough work credits to get SSDI.

      If her income and assets (or hers and her husband’s if she is married living with her husband) are below the SSI limit, she could receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The SSI program does not require work credits and is payable to individuals with limited income and assets. She can get an appointment to apply by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  15. Pat Greenwald says:

    I have a question that can’t be answered with a Google search — and I don’t know if I should call my lawyer or Social Security without first asking someone else (like yourself).

    I was recently awarded both SSI and SSDI, with the SSDI monthly benefit being twice as high than the amount for SSI.

    I received a lump sum payment before receiving two different letters (it doesn’t say “award letter” anywhere) — one for SSDI and one for SSI — each with pro-rated monthly amounts for each year from the onset date to the present. But no TOTALS were listed on either letter (I had to calculate them myself) — nor was the amount of the lawyer fees paid listed.

    I assumed (purely for clerical and accounting purposes) that the amount total for SSI would be subtracted for the amount calculated for SSDI — but that the total award/lump sum payment would be the same.

    The one lump-sum payment that was direct deposited into my bank account (that I set up ONLY for Social Security) is much less than I expected. According to both letters from Social Security (MINUS the 5 month waiting period) the lump sum payment should have been several thousand dollars more (even minus 25% for legal fees if my lawyer got the maximum allowed after appealing the $6,000 cap).

    Will I be getting another lump sum payment for the difference, and will I get a letter from SSA stating the legal fees paid to my lawyer?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pat,

      You have done a lot of research and have a generally good idea of how the calculations work, except for one point. One benefit’s back pay will be paid in its entirety and the second one will be reduced for the back pay from the first for overlapping months. Usually SSI is paid first, and the reduced Social Security back pay is paid second. If that usual order has been followed, it is possible that the direct deposit was actually SSI. Although you gave your bank account number related to your Social Security claim, it is quite possible that Social Security would use it for both.

      I suggest that you call 1-800-772-1213 to ask Social Security which program paid the direct deposit. If you give them the amount, they should be able to easily clarify it. (Bring your knitting to the phone because you will be on hold a long time.)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  16. Kerri says:

    We obtained an attorney for my husband’s disability and after
    3 years of going through the process, he was awarded his back pay.
    We signed an agreement with the attorney for their fee of 25% or $6000. We were told $6000 would be the most they would take. Because our 2 children are now over age of 18, their back pay came to them in their name. The attorney was paid the $6000 from my husbands benefits and also over $8000 ($4000 for each child). Please advise as there was never any discussion of them receiving separate money from our children.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kerri,

      Look at the representation agreement that your husband signed. If it includes a fee for obtaining dependent benefits, then the attorney is entitled to the fees. If dependent benefits are not mentioned, you might take a copy of the agreement to the Social Security Administration as an error may have occurred.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. Glenn Johnson says:

    Hi Kay. I had a hearing for SSDI a couple of weeks ago with an ALJ and it looks like everything went well. Assuming I get approved – my back pay could be a nice amount. Example: if I were to get $40,000 in back pay – how much of that would go to my SSDI advocate? Would it be 25% ($10,000) or is $6000 the maximum they can charge?

    Thank you,
    Glenn

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Glenn,

      Your Social Security Disability benefit (SSDI) would be subject to a $6,000 maximum attorney fee. If you also applied for SSI or dependents are payable on your SSDI record, whether or not a separate $6,000 limit applies to those benefits depends on the fee agreement you signed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  18. Carol says:

    SSA says I’ve been overpaid about $12,000 SSDI benefits. I’m still getting my monthly check. If I hire a lawyer to help me get the overpayment waived or dismissed, how does the lawyer get paid?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carol,

      You would have to discuss payment options with the attorney and pay him directly according to the agreement.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  19. Scott says:

    Hello Kay,
    My case went to an ALJ on 3/3/2014. I received a Fully Favorable Decision on 3/14/2014 for a Closed Period since I have gone back to work. I received the Award Letter from Social Security on 4/14/2014. Since I was approved for a Closed Period with no continuing monthly benefits, is there a way to find out when I will get the back pay. Both the local SS office and the main SS office state that it may take up to six months to receive my back pay.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Scott,

      Six months seems quite long for a single payment. Were you approved for several years of back pay at a fairly high monthly amount? If so and the retroactive amount is very large, special processing and extra managerial reviews are required before the back pay can be released. If that is not applicable, but you were approved for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), that can slow things down. I suggest that you ask the local office if there is anything you need to submit to get things started.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  20. Dennis says:

    My wife has been diagnosed with severe R/A, aside from her bleeding disorder (Hemophilia). our age(s) are both mid 50′s, she has never had to work outside of the home, so she has less than the required amount of work credits needed for SSDI (which I have applied and been denied).
    My work history had been very good, along with high paying job, even though I worked with a disability (Muscular Dystrophy-MDA). 5-years ago I became fully disabled using a power wheelchair, applied for SSDI and approved within a very short time. even though I’m paid at the highest level of benefits, nothing near what I’m use to.
    My concerns at this time, is our income as a household is to HIGH$$ this is from my SSDI only. My wife began working in the past year and a half until the Rheumatoid Arthritis took over, she doesn’t qualify for SSI, because of my disability income. Is there any programs that would qualify, other than her waiting till she is 62 and sign-up for early retirement and qualifying under my work credits, which will bring 50% of my SSDI earning.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dennis,

      Thank you for your inquiry. I am not aware of any disability benefits or other assistance that your wife can get given that she is not insured for Social Security and your income is too high for her to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      Best regards,

      Kay

  21. wanda says:

    i just got a fully favorable on my ssi case i had a lawyer i go to see if i will get a back pay or payments from two and half years ago i think he makes to much if they go by his gross income what is to much if they go by yearly he made 108,299 in two in a half years is that to much for me to get my payments i have no income and how will my layer get paid

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Wanda,

      I assume that you are referring to your husband making too much money for you to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. If you were also approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your husband’s income will have no effect on your eligibility and the attorney fee will be withheld from your SSDI back pay.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  22. Jessica Horne says:

    My mother passed away in March 2013. We were notified by her attorney in July that they were representing her disability back pay claim. There was little correspondance until I received a copy of the petition to obtain approval of fee for representing a claimant befoe the social security administration in the amount of $2840. There was a time log attached stating that family was notified of award on 2/19/14 and that notice of award was received on 3/11/14. However, neither myself nor my siblings as next of kin were notified of an award. My question is, if attorney collects fees would that mean that the claim was approved and that benefits will be awarded to beneficiaries, too. Because we have no “notice of award”, we are in the dark so to speak.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jessica,

      If your mother’s application was for Social Security Disability, benefits due that are unpaid at the time of death can be paid to the beneficiaries. The attorney should have a copy of the award letter that he or she can give the family. It is likely that the representative of the heirs has to sign off on the attorney fees before benefits will be issued. Social Security will withhold the attorney fees will be withheld from the back pay and sent directly to the attorney. If you have not already done so, a list of heirs needs to be given to Social Security so that they will have names and addresses for each of the qualified heirs.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  23. Confused says:

    I’m just wondering if you can clarify the amount the lawyer can receive. If I’m awarded SSDI, SSI as well as benefits for my children (2).. does that mean the attorney can get up to $6000 from each of these or only $6000 total? I’m a little confused on that question. That could total up to $24000 if the benefits were high enough, that sounds a bit much. Can you please clarify for me. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Confused,

      The terms of your attorney’s compensation are set by law and also by the agreement you signed with him or her. If you agreed to it in your contract with your attorney, 25% up to a maximum of $6,000 can be with held from each of the benefits paid: Social Security Disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the amount awarded to your dependent children. The $6,000 maximum applies to the total amount of dependent benefits back pay, not to each dependent.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. Duke says:

    Hi i have a question. I’m 24 i have chf (heartfailur) I’m morbid obesit i have server athritis in knees nd back i have high blood presure. i applyed for ssi nd i have a lawyer i apply in April what are the chances of me getting awarded benifits

    thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Duke,

      If your congestive heart failure is severe you have a good chance of being approved. Also if you weight is over a certain amount and your knee condition is bad enough, that also could be grounds for approval.

      Sincerely.

      Kay

  25. Arvi Nazemi says:

    I was awarded back pay and received it, however it was not the proposed amount my attorney and I discussed earlier. so my attorney and I filed for a reconsideration which may take from 3-4 weeks or longer. My attorney is polity asking to be paid $1,500.00 of the $3,000 for the work done so far. Is it my right to to pay my attorney when the case is closed or should I pay them that half now.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Arvi,

      If you have received back pay and your attorney has not received anything directly from Social Security, you could decide to pay him part of what is owed as a courtesy; however, there is a lot of potential for a mix-up with the amount Social Security pays him directly. I recommend getting something in writing that if Social Security later pays the full approved attorney fee, that the attorney will promptly refund the $1,500 to you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  26. Arvi Nazemi says:

    Dear Kay,
    Thank you so much for your answer, however, I feel I need to clarify that SSI was the subject of my matter. If I was not clear in my question please forgive me. Do the Legal Advocates get paid also by Social Security in a SSI case?, as far as I know the payment for representation comes only from the client, which is me in this SSI case.

    Thank you,
    Arvi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Arvi,

      If you signed an agreement to pay a fee for legal services received in obtaining a favorable Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit, you would owe that fee even if it was not withheld from your back SSI benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  27. stewart says:

    I got a notice from social security that they are withholding his monthly check due to unpaid court fee of over $22,000. He was paid his $6000 from the settlement. How can he collect more and completely shut off my dads disability checks?

    • stewart says:

      To clarify it is my dads social security and the attorney was paid his $6000 fee.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stewart,

      Please clarify to whom the $22,000 was paid? It seems unlikely that it was attorney fees. Attorneys can petition for an additional 25% of back pay for representation in District Court, but it would not be withheld from monthly checks. Perhaps I can respond further after you clarify.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. Becky says:

    What if yo qualify as disabled but don’t qualify for SSI and SSDI do to your spouse makes good salary and you don’t have enough credits ? What do i qualify for is there other programs?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Becky,

      Based on the information you have provided, you are not eligible for disability benefits. When your husband retires and receives Social Security benefits, you will qualify for wife’s benefits on his earnings record. Should he pass away before you, you could apply for disabled widow’s benefits if you are age fifty or more or for mother’s benefits at any age if you have your husband’s child under age sixteen in your care.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  29. Cindy says:

    Hi, I was wondering…when I was first applying for disability someone suggested that I get an attorney. I called a group and talked with a very nice lady who sent me paperwork. I did not even open the envelope but was called by her several times to sign and send back.All the time her telling me that it would hurt me if i didn’t get a lawyer right away to be knowledgable about my case because I would most likely get denied. Everytime I spoke with her I was on pain medicine and whenI finally signed the papers I was on pain medicine. I was called in while in the hospital after having back surgery by one who was doing my paperwork. I don’t remember the call. I was called several times again asking that i fill out paperwork and also bring paperwork to my dr for them to fill out. Iwas supposed to do his job. I was approved for diasability from no help from this Lawyers office. The only thing they did for me was annoy me and harrass me for paperwork. I was very sick. I got diasability because I need it and I believe now the lawyer wants 25% of my back pay. Even though they never got involved in my case. I did not realise I would have to pay them unless they had to fight for me to win my case. I feel like I was frightened into signing and I am wanting to know what to do.
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cindy,

      I do not know whether you can get any relief for your situation. You need to tell your story to Social Security and request that they not pay the attorney.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  30. Noclevermoniker says:

    Hi, Kay,

    I have recently applied for SSDI for depression, bp II, anxiety and ppp. In addition to meds and therapy, I have received around 30+ ECT (electroconvulsive therapy, aka, electric shock therapy) and have been in and out of the hospital. I know getting benefits for depression is very difficult, but my question is: have you worked with clients receiving ECT and was is a factor in the case? I’ve tried looking online, but keep coming to dead ends. Any insight would be great!

    NCM

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Noclevermoniker,

      ECT treatments are usually reserved for individuals with very severe depression. The fact that you received ECT treatments is an indication of serious illness. It will be considered along with all the information in your claim file.

      If you are denied and believe that you really are eligible, you should appeal. If you appeal, I recommend that you request a copy of your claim file and that you hire a knowledgeable attorney. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  31. jesse ramon says:

    1 1/2 years ago i got denied. I’m a 100% disabled/unemployable veteran. the denial letter was given to me two months after it was sent because it was in my neighbors mail box. but he found it in his car between his car seat and the console. i explained to the SSN office and they told me to send in an explanation and i did. Ive called several times in the last year and never get any response! whats a Disabled Veteran to do here?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jesse,

      I am not clear on whether you have filed an appeal or not or whether or not the appeal was accepted because of the delayed delivery of the denial letter. If you do not know, your next step is to find out the status. If an appeal is pending, you can check with the examiner to see if they are waiting for anything from you or your doctors. If no appeal is pending, you can file an appeal with a letter signed by both you and your neighbor about the missing letter. You will also have to give them the date you sent in the prior request to have the appeal accepted. If they received it and refused to accept the appeal,you should have gotten a letter.

      If this is too much for you, getting legal help is an option. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  32. George says:

    Hi, I am 59 years old and would like to apply for private disability insurance payments. Should I hire an attorney for the private insurance (good until I turn 62) and then would I have to apply again for SSDI? I have a year of sick leave from my company that I can take and had planned to start the leave right before my surgery and apply for DI benefits during that year of sick leave. Would I have such a thing as back pay? If not, how does my attorney get paid? My private DI will pay up to 662/3 of my pay, so would SSDI kick in and therefore the private insurance would be reduced, and if so, would I have to repay the private insurance back if SSDI is awarded later? Thank you for any insight.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear George,

      If you are disabled, I recommend that you apply for all benefits for which you may be eligible including your private disability insurance (DI) and Social Security Disability. The private DI will probably be processed before the Social Security. Most DI policies do reduce for the receipt of Social Security and require repayment for retroactive months in which the two benefits overlap. If there are overlapping months, you can use your SSDI back pay to repay the overpayment. I suggest that you get and read a copy of your DI policy to be sure.

      As far as attorney representation, you might wait to see if you can get approved on your own on your initial claims. There is a lot of information about filing a claim under the “Apply for SSD” and “Claim Process” tabs on the Disability Advisor website (www.disabilityadvisor.com).Then if you are denied, you seek representation. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  33. susan says:

    Do you pay an attorney one big lump sum or do they take monthly payments? Is it easier to apply through my SNAP (food stamp) program or to do the process online. Do I really need an attorney…I have been battling mental health issues for ten years and have all my medical records dating back to that date.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      An attorney is paid in one lump sum from any back pay due at the time benefits start. You may not need an attorney to file your initial application; however, if you are denied, you should get representation. There is information on how to file a claim and the claim review process under the “Apply for SSD” and “Claim Process” tabs of the http://www.disabilityadvisor.com website.

      If you are denied, you can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  34. Joshua says:

    Hi, I have a mental illness and I know that puts me into the category of disabled, so my question was what is the maximum and what is the average amount of money I can get from SSI In California? The reason I’m asking is because I have never filed for disability though I was advised to do so by my doctors.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joshua,

      The maximum federal SSI payment is $721. In addition, California pays an SSI state supplement payment. The maximum is $156.40. I do not have any information on average amounts.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  35. Clara says:

    My husband and our children were awarded Disability benefits in 2013. Only a few months after we received the lump sum, he passed away, and his disability converted into survivor benefits. Now, over a year after the benefits were awarded to him (he used an attorney), SSA sent me a letter on behalf of my husband’s family (me) saying they made a mistake, and should have paid the attorney, but did not. So I owe almost $6,000 to the attorney. The money he and the children were awarded is long gone to medical bills. We never received any invoice from the attorney and were always under the assumption that SSA would take out the attorney fee. Since my husband is dead, do I have to pay the attorney? I live in California (community property state).

    Thank you,

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Clara,

      You may need legal advice on this one to determine whether you or your children for whom you are payee are liable for the overpayment. The consulting attorney will want to see the fee agreement that your husband signed with the attorney who represented him. You can get a copy of it from the attorney who represented your husband. You can also request a waiver of repayment stating why you were not at fault in causing the overpayment and that you cannot repay because the back pay went for medical bills. Also, say that you want collection suspended until a waiver decision is made and if it is denied, you want to set up a repayment plan. I suggest you try to get legal advice first, but don’t miss any deadline for requesting waiver or for requesting suspension of collection against the children’s benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  36. Heather M says:

    My daughter was born disabled but after being denied 2 times I was advised to hire an attorney. She was awarded a substantial lump sum 3 years ago and has been receiving monthly payments almost ever since (depending on my income that varies). Today I recieved a letter (from SSI) that stated they ‘inadvertently’ did NOT pay my attorney the $3100 he was due at the time of her back pay, which is the first I have heard that he wasnt compensated. I do not understand how this is my responsibility. I do completely feel my attorney earned his pay but I don’t have that kind of money just lying around nor can afford any additional payments within my budget. I have never heard of this type of of mistake. What do I do? What am I liable for? Will I go to jail if I can’t pay or am I going to have to file bankruptcy? My husband doesn’t work and we live paycheck to paycheck as is…. I feel so lost and angry…. Please advise as best and as quickly as possible. Thank you so very much for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      I have heard of this happening. Essentially you are overpaid. You can request a waiver of repayment, which will be approved if you can establish that you were not at fault and can’t afford to repay. On the waiver request form, you need to explain why you didn’t know you were accepting incorrectly paid money and why you were unaware that the attorney had not been paid. You will also have to provide financial information to show that you do not have the money to repay. If you request the waiver within ten days of receiving the notice, you can ask that collection from you daughter’s SSI be suspended during evaluation of the waiver request. If the request is denied, promptly request a small monthly withholding.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  37. james says:

    my wife got all her back disability they held 15 percent to pay lawyer she still hasn’t got what was left from that. could it be because thelawyers out of pocket exspenses were 3800 dollars that seems a lot more than other things I have read.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear James,

      Attorney fees are the lesser of 25% of back pay or $6,000. Social Security does not withhold funds to pay the attorney’s out-of-pocket expense; the claimant must pay them directly to the attorney. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that your wife has not received her back pay yet. It seems that there can be a lag of up to a couple months or more between the time the attorney gets paid and the claimant receives the back pay. Your wife can ask Social Security what remains to be done to release her money and roughly how long they think it will take.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  38. joe says:

    if the social security office sends you the money set aside for your disabilty lawyer am i responsible for paying them back?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joe,

      Assuming Social Security approved the attorney’s fee and it was a clerical error that the money was released to you, you are still responsible to pay the fee. The quickest way to find out the amount that was approved is to ask the attorney to send you a copy of the fee approval he or she received from Social Security.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  39. Sam Seegar says:

    I am currently working as an independent commission only salesman. Does this mean I would have no chance of receiving disabilty payments? I have 4 major limitations and so frequently have to stay home or worse, spend my time at the doctor’s so I am limited in my work. Should I still try to apply and if so, would it be prudent to hire an attorney?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sam,

      If you are earning $1,070 or more net profit from your self-employment, you are earning too much to be considered disabled. Self-employment work activity is also judged by some other factors including how many hours you are working. If you are earning less than the substantial amount of $1.070, you may be approved while working depending on how severely you are affected by your illnesses.

      Tips on filing a Social Security Disability application can be found in the articles under the “Apply SSD” tab on the navigation bar of this website. If you are able to gather your medical records and explain thoroughly how your conditions affect you, you may be successful filing on your own. However, if you are denied and decide to appeal you should hire an attorney knowledgeable in Social Security Disability law. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  40. lashad perry says:

    I called ssa today and they Told me that they started processing my attorney representation fee today.And after they finish processing his payment they will process mine how long is the time frame from processing attorney fees. I been hearing different times.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lashad,

      Depending upon whether your claim is for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both and upon the workload in your specific office, it can take a couple of weeks to a couple months or more for benefits to start after the attorney fee has been paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  41. rosie says:

    I have two attorneys fighting over who did what so as is sending me the check that’s what one of them said. I don’t know what to do. I was thinking giving then both part of it. What should I do

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rosie,

      Are you talking about services for representing you in a Social Security or Supplemental Security Income claim? If so and you signed repayment agreements with both, Social Security will make the decision about whom will be paid and how much.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  42. Tammy says:

    I just had a disability hearing this morning. It seemed to go well. While visiting my attorney in his office before the hearing, I said, “And your fee will be 25% or $6,000, whichever is less?” He briefly said, “Sometimes it’s more.” Would there be any legal reason for him to receive the norm?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tammy,

      In most cases the fee is 25% to a maximum of $6,000. There can be separate fees for each benefit for which you are approved and for dependent benefits. I suggest that you look at the fee agreement you signed to see what you agreed to. That said, an attorney can petition for more than 25% if the claim took an unusual amount of work and time; the Social Security Administration would then decide whether or not to approve the petition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  43. Judy says:

    I was recently approved for SSD benefits. My questions is: I applied in July 2014 and was approved end of September 2014. Will the attorney’s take 25% of 2 months back pay or will they charge me $6,000. My understanding is they will only do the lesser, 25% of 2 months back pay? Thank you for any clarity you can provide.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Judy,

      The attorney can charge 25% of back pay up to $6,000. If you became disabled before July 2014 and your back pay starts before July, then the 25% is applied to all back-pay months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  44. Rich says:

    as to fee’s it states they “can” receive 25% or 6000. …what if you ask for a detailed billing and it only comes to 4000.00?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rich,

      Some attorneys do not charge the full 25% if the case turns out to take less than an average amount of time. You would presumably pay only what is billed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  45. Rui says:

    Mrs. Kay…I’m confuse about if I can get back pay:I got injured at work on 3/11/14 and I applied for SSDI in Sept/14.I will get my first check from SSDI in 10/1/14.Do I have a right to get back pay from 3/11/14 to 9/14?I only apply for SSDI in Sept cause I didn’t know that I should do it right when I got injury.Thanks for your time and your help.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rui,

      The first five full calendar months of Social Security Disability (SSDI) are not paid; therefore, no benefits are payable to you for April through August. Benefits are paid in the month after they are due. Accordingly, your September benefit is being paid in October.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  46. Maryjane says:

    If I receive a favorable decision from the ALJ from my SSDI hearing last week is there a possibility of not only getting backpay but also retroactive pay? My attorney has never mentioned retro pay to me. My onset date is May 2012 and I did not work in 2011 and only received long term disability payments. Do I have to appeal my SSDI to be considered for retro pay? SSI is not a factor.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maryjane,

      Technically, retroactive benefits are benefits due before the date of application and back pay is benefits due for months after application. Both retroactive benefits and back pay are paid automatically. The earliest benefits can begin is the later of twelve months before the date of your application or the sixth calendar month after the date you were determined to be disabled. If you think that your disability date should be earlier than May 2012, discuss your options with your attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  47. CR says:

    Hi! On October 10, 2014, I received a letter that the judged did a favorable decision on my deceased father disability case. On October 28, 2014, I received a letter on how much money I will received. The amount of the back pay that I will received is $21,000 and the lawyer will get 25%. And recently, 3rd week of November 2014, the lawyer had been paid. My deceased father doesn’t received SSI nor worker compensation. I’m just wondering when will I received my back pay? How long does it take after the lawyer had been paid?
    Thank You.

  48. LAM says:

    I recently received a Fully Favorable decision and noticed when reading the decision that it stated under the section “ISSUES” that I’d acquired sufficient quarters of coverage to remain insured through December 31, 2015.

    What does this mean? That after December 31, 2015 I’ll no longer be eligible for benefits? I’ve just turned 62 and thought I would be receiving Disability Retirement benefits.

    I am not clear how this all works. Do I have to reapply for retirement benefits after December 2015?

    Also, I received a lump sum payment…I’m assuming this is for the period when disability first occurred until now and I’ll be receiving monthly checks hereafter. Am I correct in this assumption.

    I have not received notice as to whether my attorney received her fee. If I call my local SSA office will they be able to tell me if she has? I’m hesitant to dip into the much needed award until I know. I realize I can call my attorney, but I’d rather find out from SSA if possible. My life is governed by Murphy’s Law, and I know if the lawyer says she hasn’t been paid and I send a check, she’ll get her payment from my award via SSA. I wonder how quickly, if at all, she would return my check. Yes, I’m a cynic.

    I realize I’ve asked more than a few questions, but I would appreciate any information you can provide.

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lam,

      The reference to the date that you are last insured is just to show that you were insured when you became disabled. Your benefits will continue as long as you are disabled. You should get an award letter within about a week and it should say your attorney has been paid. You can, however, call your local Social Security office or the call center at 1-800-772-1213 and find out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  49. Tessa Raisin says:

    What is an appropriate hourly rate for SSI attorneys? Once you figure out how many hours they worked on the case and you divide that by 25% fee from the back pay, how much would be a normal rate per hour? What kinds of things can you argue to the judge in order to get the attorney fee award decreased?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tessa,

      The judge does not set the fee. If you are approved, your attorney will submit a bill to the local Social Security Administration office for approval. If you think it is too much for the number of hours expended, you can submit a statement to your Social Security office giving the reasons why the attorney should not be allowed the usual 25% to a maximum of $6,000. This needs to be done right after you are approved, not after the attorney has been paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  50. Chris says:

    I was awarded ssd in april 2014, my back pay was 28,700.00 they took out 7000.00 for the lawyers fee. at first the lawyers office filled out paper work wrong so they did not get paid. they re-did the paper work in july 2014, and still haven’t gotten paid. Social security wants to know how much I recieved from workers comp. I stopped getting workers comp 2 months before I applied for ssd in 2011. I received a lump sum of 24,000.00 actually more than that , but they took out for payment received weekly for 7 years , plus medical bills and attorney fees; for worker comp. Well now ss want to know all my worker comp information which they received in the beginning, before they pay the lawyers and send me what is left over. They also stated I might have to pay back that 21,000.00 I was awarded because of workers comp. I was not recieving workers comp when awarded ssd. So how does that work. How would I have to pay them back.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      There is a workers compensation offset against Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits (that is, SSD is reduced for workers comp) in all months for which Social Security and workers compensation overlap. Payments of the two benefits combined cannot exceed 80% of your current average earnings, as determined by the Social Security Administration, at the time you became disabled. This includes retroactive Social Security months paid before the date of your application. Workers compensation lump sum settlements are prorated, usually based on your prior weekly rate, and counted against Social Security until the lump sum runs out.

      You need to send Social Security a copy of your settlement papers, which should also show the dates for which you received regular weekly payments. Workers comp paid for dates prior to the month your SSD benefits began to accrue will not affect your Social Security. From what you describe, I would say that you have been overpaid Social Security, but not necessarily the full amount of worker’s comp you received. Ongoing benefits will be reduced until the proration runs out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  51. Chris says:

    I forgot to say I received workers comp from 2005 to 2011 and stopped receiving workers comp 2 months after applying for social security. did not recieve ssd until april 2014. The judge called 2 days before my hearing and offered to in exchange for changing my onset date,I would not have to come to court. So I lost like a year of back pay, which was okay with me, but how can they say I might owe them award money I was paid,form ssd because of workers comp. Please reply from earlier post above also.

  52. Hello,
    My husband suffers with b/p disorder. We hired an attorney to help with his case .
    Long story short it will be two years in June of 2015 . We are waitng for a hearing date. The office handling the hearings has 433 days to handle the case. So we will not see a court date maybe until August 2015. I keep reading blogs and the stories I have read it looks like even if you get awarded to be paid, it can take months as well to get paid . Is this true???? We are going to run out of money by September this year I’m worried this is an awful situation to be in.
    HElLP!!!!
    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gloria,

      It can take two months or more to get a written decision after a hearing and another one to three months before benefits are paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  53. Mike says:

    Ms. Kay,

    Long story, will attempt to give short version.

    ALJ awarded disability back to Nov 2003 (several years ago filed and won appeal), the complication: was not aware of warrant (5012 from 2001), funds have never released (not a penny). Have been fighting & fighting for funds to be released. Today received an extremely small check in mail with “Soc Sec for Ins” on it (this came as a surprise as have received no letter prior stating anything).

    1) Does this perhaps mean that finally the funds are being released? (i don’t know what Soc Sec for Ins means).

    2) And if so, it is quite a considerable amount (from Nov 2003 – current) , is that still partitioned out over several checks or paid in one lump sum?

    3)And IF my funds are finally being released then as you’ve answered repeatedly above: the lawyers that had helped all those years ago (i’m assuming that since I did not receive any of my funds that they were probably never paid either) would be entitled to a maximum cap of $6000 of these funds (usually issued to them via SSA)?

    4) And of course I would be liable to pay out of pocket for example any medical records fee & such, which should be minimal?

    • Mike says:

      I found out they are releasing my funds finally!

      Different question(s).

      They say they are taking out for medicare premiums for all those years that i never received any funds then they should be releasing my funds to me.

      Can they do that??? I had no medical coverage for all of these years. So how can they take money for services which I’ve never received and had been denied to me?? And is there anything that I can do to get back what they take since I’ve never had coverage??

      Thank you.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Mike,

        You could refuse Medicare, but that is not a good idea when you don’t have health insurance. Also, if you ever wanted Medicare Part B later, you would have to pay a much higher premium. If you have unpaid medical bills for the months that Medicare premiums are being collected retroactively, you can have the medical providers bill Medicare to get part of the bills paid.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mike,

      1. The first payment may be your monthly payment. Back pay can take three months to be processed. The amount owed to you may be large enough to require two authorizations or it could take longer.

      2. Social Security Disability (SSDI) is paid in a single lump sum unless it is very large and then it is issued in two checks roughly at the same time.

      3. The $6,000 maximum amount per benefit will apply to attorney fees. The attorneys may already have been paid.

      4. You will have to pay the attorney’s out-of-pocket costs, which given how long the claim pended could result in a few hundred dollars.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mike says:

        Thank you for your answers Ms. Kay they are greatly appreciated.

        It just seemed to me that them taking retroactive Medicare out doesn’t seem fair for the fact that i had no coverage during all of those years. Paying for services that never existed seems unreasonable :( sort of like paying for a car loan for a non-existent car, that wouldn’t be right, you know what i’m saying???

        Thank you.

  54. Jeff Spragg says:

    i was awarded SSD benefits in July 2014. Attorney fees of over $14,000 were withheld. My attorney sent the proper paperwork to be paid on December 1, 2014 I n the amount of $6,000. What is the turnaround time for me to receive the balance of the funds withheld (almost 9,000) from Social Security’s payment processing center?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeff,

      There is a possibility that your attorney is eligible for the amount of fees withheld because depending on the agreement you signed with the attorney there could be fees up to $6,000 withheld from each award: your Social Security award, your dependents Social Security award, and your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) award if all those kinds of benefits were paid. In any case, it could be three months or more before the attorney’s request is processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  55. Ashleighee Ambrose says:

    I have a question. My daughter has been in special education since middle school 6th grade she was diagnosed with a learning disability that enables her to attend college but she has had a lot of head trauma and she’s been working since she was 15 now at age 34 she’s been diagnosed with epileptic seizures and loss of consciousness. The medicine helps but she’s still having symptoms and lots of tiredness and daytime sleepiness. Do you think that she would qualify for benefits. Please advise thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ashleighee,

      Your daughter might qualify for benefits. If she stops work or is earning less than $1,090 gross per month, she should apply to get a formal decision. She can find information about filing a claim under the “Apply SSD” tab at the top of each page on this Disability Advisor website. The articles under the “Claims Process” could also be helpful.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  56. Ashleighee Ambrose says:

    Thank you

  57. sushilaben Patel says:

    October, 2014 got my fully favorable latter after that haven’t receive anything still watching for my award latter what should I do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sushilaben,

      Because of the amount of time that has passed, I recommend that you visit your local Social Security office to ask them to follow up to be sure that the payment center is not waiting for anything from the local office to get payment started, such as processing of a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim or notice that no SSI was involved. Watch your bank account, too, because funds will probably be deposited before you get the award letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  58. Tammy says:

    Dear Kay,

    I read above that an attorney can be eligible for 25% or $6000 from each claim. My question is this. I have enough credits for SSDI but haven’t gotten my award letter from them yet.

    I have received an award letter from SSI for $8180 in back pay. (they have released $2199 to me already) However, I will not be receiving ongoing SSI as I am eligible for SSDI (according to my SS account on their website it will be $1179 per month).

    I was told when SSDI awards my money they will deduct any money that overlaps. So, will my attorney get 25% of the $8180 from SSI PLUS 25% of the gross SSDI back pay or will he get 25% of the net SSDI after they deduct the overlap amount? I am hoping it is the latter as it doesn’t seem fair he get paid for money I did not receive.

    Hope my question makes sense to you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tammy,

      My understanding is that because approval of the two disability claims involved the same issue, there is one $6,000 maximum, part of which will be paid from the SSI back pay and part from the Social Security back pay if the full $6,000 is not withheld from the SSI. I was told verbally by the Social Security Administration that the 25% is applied to the gross Social Security, not the amount after offset; but so far I have not found anything in writing that clearly states that’s the case. When you get your back pay and the attorney has been paid, I would welcome your writing back to say whether the 25% was applied to the gross or the amount after offset.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tammy says:

        Thank you for your reply, Kay. I will be sure to write back and let you know.

        I am actually getting concerned as when I call SS about my SSDI, they say there is an issue with the Attorney fees holding it up. The representative said she has never seen this be an issue that would delay the monthly benefits as the fee comes out of back pay. I was told to call back on April 8th and they may have more information then.

        Such a shame that you have to fight for years to get approved and then they delay your payments.

  59. DireNeed says:

    Well my husband finally received a partially favorable decision after his hearing. The judge gave us a favorable decision on the bench but indicated he was changing the onset date. We originally applied for an onset date of August 2012. He indicated it would be more like April or December of 2013. The paperwork we received today said the new onset date is December 3, 2014. This means we don’t even receive back pay and we still have to wait to even receive his first check. And our now 18 year old will be too old to receive any benefits by the time our 5 month waiting period is up. Can the onset date be appealed? And if we do, does that mean my husband cannot collect benefits until that is decided?

    Also, how does the lawyer get paid? There are no back pay funds.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear DireNeed,

      You can appeal the onset date. I wonder, though, whether there was just a clerical error that the judge didn’t catch when he signed off. I wonder whether he meant December 2013. I also wonder whether there is anyway your attorney could make this inquiry prior to moving on to an appeal which can take a year or more.

      If you appeal. there are special rules for appealing a judge’s decision, so you will need your attorney’s help. The Appeals Council will consider only whether the judge made a procedural error or failed to address something that should have been addressed or investigated. I do not know whether the judge’s determining an onset date different from the ones he suggested to your husband and that your husband apparently accepted during the hearing would be grounds for the Appeals Council to remand the decision to the judge.

      Check with your attorney, but I believe that filing an appeal on the date of onset will interrupt moving to payment. I suggest discussing this with the attorney. It may also be possible that the decision to approve for ongoing benefits could be reversed when you are appealing the onset.

      With no back pay, your attorney does not get paid for his professional services. Your husband will only be responsible for reimbursing the attorney for his out-of-pocket expenses such as for cost of obtaining medical records.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • DireNeed says:

        Kay,
        Thank you so much for the quick response. I will call the lawyer first thing on Monday as we just received the letter yesterday. I too thought it may be a clerical error but not sure based on his write up in the paperwork. It was 10 pages long, not sure if that is normal or not?
        Regarding the lawyer’s pay, I have read multiple things on the internet where the attorney can request fees or additional fees, is that true and would that apply here? I actually obtained all the medical records for them with the exception of about 4 and I have already paid the attorney for those. So you are saying we should not owe them anything more?

        Thank you again, your replies are always so helpful!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear DireNeed,

          It is normal for a hearing decision to be several pages long because the letter is supposed to explain how the judge arrived at his decision.

          The attorney will not be paid directly by the Social Security Administration with money withheld from your ongoing monthly benefits. The attorney may have the right to bill you outside the Social Security system; I am not an expert in that field so I can’t say for sure. I suggest you wait to see what happens regarding whether or not you appeal(and receive back pay) and if you don’t appeal whether or not you are billed. If you are billed for fees and think the bill is too high for the services, you can investigate your rights at that time.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

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