Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  Apply for SSD  >  Current Article

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

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  323 Comments

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.

    Print       Email
disability-attorneys

Watch the Video: “How do Social Security Disability attorneys get paid for representing you in your disability claim?”

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?”

    Print       Email
  • Published: 6 months ago on March 3, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: March 4, 2016 @ 3:52 pm
  • Filed Under: Apply for SSD

323 Comments

  1. Pam says:

    I’m REALLY considering firing my attorney because they filed the wrong papers to SSA. I was told by the Attorney that they would not get involved in my case until I get a denial letter but. they are talking to the SSA and I haven’t even recieved a denial letter yet. Is it wise to fire them? Are they able to get paid even though we don’t have a letter or have been to a hearing for SSI…the contract they said they are just holding on to. I got all of my own medical records myself so that I wouldn’t be charged.They called SSA to let them know that they are representing me …and our agreement was the process for them would start after I received a denial letter.How can they be stopped?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pam,

      You will have to make the decision about whether to keep your attorney or not. I can share some related information with you. You have a right to a copy of the representation agreement you signed with the attorney. I suggest reviewing it to see if there are any clauses that tell when you can terminate the agreement or any situations in which you cannot. If you decide to terminate representation, in addition to doing it in writing with the attorney, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration in writing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  2. Marie says:

    Hi Kay, I am hoping you can help I was finally approved for social security disability after years of fighting them. This is the ironic thing back in January 2016 I received a letter of denial again. So my attorney called them and requested a reavaluation of my case and he sent along some other documentation then requested I go to there dr’s again which I did. Now mind you I have been working on this for 2 years myself then I got an attorney and he reopened the case and back dated it to April 1, 2014. I just received a letter from social security disability that they had someone look at my application who was not involved before and they said the decision was correct. Then it goes on to say The decision on your case it has all my disabilities listed as well as the dr’s I had seen and it says ” we have determined that your condition is severe and results in a finding of disability. However based on the evidence in file the earliest date that we can establish the onset of disability is 02/01/2016 ” I feel like they are truly messing with me. As a result of all this I have lost my home,I had to sell off all my valuables to keep me afloat even sold my car and these guys are doing this to me does this make sense? Nothing has changed except for the fact I have progressively gotten worse but it is still the same stuff I have been claiming disability for, my attorney says we may never get the answer to this he says I can fight it but could be another 17 months and I don’t have that much time as my fight is over 12/01/2017 5 year mark. Can you tell me if this is it and should I let it go ? Your help would be appreciated

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marie,

      It appears that Social Security decided that the additional evidence your attorney submitted showed that your condition worsened enough for you to be considered disabled as of February. Or, if you turned fifty or fifty-five in February, the change in age could be a factor. The attorney’s estimate of how long it will take to get a hearing is likely accurate. If you were applying for Social Security and you were no longer insured for benefits on February 1, 2016 and because of that your claim was denied, then if you want Social Security, you will have to appeal. If you were still insured for Social Security on February 1, 2016 and/or you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which does not require work credits for citizens and some aliens, you have a choice to make. Only you can make the decision on whether or not to appeal the later disability onset date. In making your decision, it might be helpful to talk with your attorney and ask him what he thinks your chances are of getting an earlier date established. Also ask whether you can accept the date for SSI and appeal just the Social Security, if you applied for both benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  3. Loretha Covington says:

    Hi Kay my question is how does SSI and ssdi work they give you SSI first and then ssdi later do you get any back pay from ssdi if you put in your quarters I only get 488.67 for SSI hadn’t received my award letter yet please tell me the difference. Thank Loretha

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Loretha,

      Your Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI) back pay will be reduced by SSI benefits including SSI back benefits paid to you for any months that the SSD and SSI overlap.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  4. Dayshia says:

    Will I get fee petition withholding for my lawyer even if I’m denied for Social Security disability….

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dayshia,

      If you are denied benefits, your attorney will not be eligible for payment of professional fees. You may be responsible for paying a comparatively small amount to reimburse money the attorney spent to get your medical records or for court costs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. Katie says:

    I had my hearing in April and my attorney did nothing so in July i went to my social security office and had them take my attorney off my case. I received my fully favorable in November. The judge approved the attorney to get $4,300. I dont want to pay them? Can they do anything to me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Katie,

      I suggest that you review the contract that you signed with the attorney with another attorney to get legal advice about your obligation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. Alice Chewning says:

    I was approved for SSD in Chehalis, WA. I started my SSD on 4/8/2014 in Florida with a Florida attorney. He traveled to Chehalis, WA on 5/19/2016. I was wondering why my payout is going to Birmingham, AL and not payout locally here in Chehalis, WA? I do not even have the any letters of anything. I know that it is going to Birmingham as I had written to my House Representative to Florida and they sent me a carbon copy! It seems very strange to have your attorney paid first when it is your money that you worked for and they should be paid last!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alice,

      Your claim was sent to the payment center in Alabama because you filed your claim in Florida.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  7. E.Martinez says:

    Hi,

    My boyfriend finally got the case approved for a year of backpay. When they processed the SSD backpay it was a total of $10,703 so that means that the attorney’s fees were $2,675.75. They paid my boyfriend $1,911 but didn’t pay my boyfriend the other remaining $6,115.25, and said that SSI was supposed to be paying him during the time he was not getting the benefits, so they were going to transfer that amount to SSI so they can pay the whole amount of $10,470.36. After almost 2 months (and over 15 phone calls) they finally made the payment BUT they discounted again a 25% for attorney’s fees (it should be $2,617.59 but they took $2,708.59 and we don’t know why???). Creating a double payment for the lawyer of over $5k and leaving my boyfriend with only $7,761.77.

    We understand the attorney has to be paid, but right now he’s being paid double and my boyfriend is being paid only once. From a total of $10,703 (or $10,470 whichever amount you select) the attorney is getting a total of $5,293.34 (a 49% for showing up in court 1 day) and my boyfriend is getting only $9,672.77. The lawyer is getting paid from SSI when that money was supplemental living expenses and he’s not supposed to be paid from it, he already got his pay from the SSD backpay which was the case he was involved with. The only 2 ways that he (attorney) should have be paid from SSI is if:
    —a) my boyfriend was paid twice; or,
    —b) he didn’t get paid from SSD
    —-and any of those was the case.

    And over that there’s a discrepancy on that last payment of $91 which we don’t know what is about. The SSI informed my boyfriend he can hire an attorney to claim the issue…. WHAT??? really? Please help, we need to know what do do to get the CORRECT and FAIR amount that needs to be paid to my boyfriend because is HIS MONEY, he’s the one with the backpain that has to suffer everyday from it.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear E.,

      Social Security law provides for up 25% attorney fees up to $6,000 from each benefit, so it is correct that fees were withheld from both benefits. The 25% on the SSDI is on the gross amount before the offset (reduction for SSI). The offset should be equal to the SSI actually paid to your boyfriend, that is, the amount due after the SSI attorney fees are paid, not the gross SSI. I can’t tell whether that happened because I don’t think you gave me the base SSI figure before attorney fees. You can read about these regulations at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/home!readform, which is Social Security’s procedural manual. Input GN 02610.053 in the site’s search box.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • E.Martinez says:

        SSDI backpay -$10,703
        Attorney fee-$2675.75
        HIS check- $1,911
        Offset-$6,115.25

        SSI backpay-$10,470.36
        Attorney fee-$2,708.59
        HIS check-$7,761.77

        That is the only figures we have received. They paid the attorney more money from the lower back pay.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear E.,

          Assuming “HIS check” means the amount the claimant was paid, I think that the figures are correct accordingly to Social Security regulations except that the attorney fee of R2708.59 for the SSI representation is more than 25% of $10470.36; 24% would be $2,617.50.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • E.Martinez says:

            Right!

            My correct post wasn’t the one that made it through the approval, so to recap doesn’t make sense that the attorney is getting paid over the 25% that his entitled to:

            From a total of $14,966.11 (disbursed) the attorney is getting a total of $5,293.34 (a 35.37% for showing up in court 1 day) and my boyfriend is getting only $9,672.77. Remember the second check was for SSI that was supposed to be paid while the case was going on, so the attorney is NOT entitled to it, the attorney doesn’t have to do anything with that case (NOTHING). BUT even if he needs to be paid he got way too much of what he’s entitled to, the numbers don’t lie.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear E.,

            I don’t have anything further to offer. The SSI benefit is subject to attorney fees. I suggest your boyfriend get an explanation from his local office.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • Linda says:

        Kay:
        I applied for my disability about 6 years ago and was turned down the first time. My attorney says that it should have been approved. I went to see a ALJ a second time and I don’t know what she will do. My condition has worsened and I am 61 years old. I am pretty much destitute and told her if the person I am living with changes his mind, I will be homeless. How long will it take to find out whether I have been approved or not?

        Also, the whole second process was extremely confusing. I have arthritis throughout my body and am having some pretty sever back, hand and knee issues. The person who was the “job Expert” could not determine which it was-qualified or unqualified to do my last job. He deemed that I should be on light work but my last job was everything but that. I am frightened to death. Please tell me what is going on.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Linda,

          I cannot predict whether your claim will be approved; I suggest that you ask your attorney, who is familiar with the details of your claim and with the hearing testimony, to render an opinion. The guideline is for you to receive a decision within sixty days, but it can take longer.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  8. Emmastven says:

    Awesome Information

  9. CECE says:

    Dear Kay,

    I’ve been getting state disability all along but I just won’t my SSDI. Since I’ve been getting funds then how does my attorney get paid?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cece,

      To my knowledge, Social Security Disability will not be reduced for state disability insurance and your attorney will be paid from your Social Security back pay.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  10. Sarah Desmond says:

    I am quite frustrated. I have applied for SSD and went in front of a judge 3 months ago. It seemed like a lot of the medical record info was incorrect or partially incorrect in places. Because of that I have a continuation scheduled for tomorrow. My issue is that my Lawyer hasn’t done anything. I have run around getting Medical Records and paid for them. I have done the inquiries to the best of my ability because he has told me to. Isn’t he suppose to do these things? He has barely lifted a finger on my case. For example we were to meet a month before the continuation tomorrow, that did not happen. He just had his secretary call me Today to meet him at the courthouse 15 mins early to go over the case! I feel like informing the Judge of his complete lack of attention and work on my case. Why should he get $6000 of my money for doing nothing? I am disgusted.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarah,

      By now you have had your continuation hearing. You can submit a letter to Social Security if you are approved objecting to the amount of the fee based on your attorney’s minimal guidance and assitance. Social Security may or may not approve your request.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Melissa says:

        Dear Kay,
        I feel the same way. My attorney doesn’t call me back in a timely manner regarding dire needs emergency messages. I’m still waiting for someone to call from 2 weeks ago. He threw me a quick I’ll check on your case email a week ago without calling me back. I told the lady who answers the phone twice how serious things are and to have the attorney and case manager call me. It’s been ongoing for 2 weeks and still no return call. It’s been this way all the way through my case. My family and friends have whitnessed me struggle in shock. I hang on because I’m desperate and can’t afford to cost myself more wait time. The judge awarded me my SSI in Feb. I’m in distress. How can I file a complaint when I’m so close? I have phone records and emails that support my ongoing struggle. I’m very disappointed with my attorney and his office staff. I wouldn’t refer a single person to that office. I lost my husband during this and it’s been ever so hard for me being homeless and physically disabled in much of this process. Isn’t he my retained lawyer? Therefore, isn’t he obligated to answer my legal questions when they arise? In a timely manner? What does the law consider a timely manner I wonder. I’m just thinking two weeks is too much. Since it’s been ongoing throughout my case. I’m not sure that the timely manner is a concern for my attorney which leads me to believe he’s not worried about it. But I don’t want to make assumptions I just want to know if it’s an emergency situation how long is the timely manner for my attorney to call me back? Kay, I really appreciate what you have to say!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Melissa,

          I am not an expert on how law is practiced. I can say that typically when you hire an attorney to represent you in a Social Security Disability claim, it is for the purpose of getting a medical approval. They usually don’t get involved in trying to get the payment authorized and really have no more power in that than you do. Please see my response of April 17 about requesting expediting of your claim based on dire need.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Melissa says:

            Dear Kay,

            I’m going to call Social Security today. My decision came April 20th. I got a late email from my attorney’s office. They said they have never heard of someone going into a Social Security office and filing a dire needs statement. Emergency needs such as money to get a place to live, fix the car etc. and getting payments coming in immediently. I’m confused?
            Thanks,
            Melissa

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Melissa,

            Getting a car fixed might not qualify as a dire need, but loss of housing does. The dire need request for expedited processing will be sent to the payment center. However, because many people file dire need requests, there still can be a significant delay for payment to start. (No special SSDI payment will be made before regular payments start as is possible with a Supplemental Security Income [SSI] claim.)

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  11. Sarah Garey says:

    Hi, my boyfriend ha a lawyer only for the hearing stage, in which he was denied. His lawyer refused to appeal the claim, stating that he had never believed my boyfriend could win to start with. The lawyer failed to submit papers, subpoena witnesses, etc, and only went to court, didn’t do anything else. He is demanding court fees, of 154 and some change, and court fees of 93 dollars if he wins the case against my boyfriend (He is taking him to court for this). Can he legally get these fees if he refused to appeal the SS claim? It states above that “after all appeals have been exhausted”, but we have one more appeal left.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarah,

      Your boyfriend should look at the contract he signed with the attorney. It should state the conditions under which the attorney can collect reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as filing fees and medical record procurement. (Note that there is no court filing fee for a Social Security hearing.) Your boyfriend needs may need the advice of another attorney regarding his rights.

      Also, if he wants to appeal the decision and is still in the appeals period, he can hire a different attorney for the appeal or appeal himself.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Anthony says:

        Hello Kay. I’ve looked at post on webpage for over 2 years. This is my first and probable only question to ask you. If one is approved for SSDI and SSI until full SSDI is processed. For example, SSI backpay is $10,000. 25% ($2500) of the SSI went to my attorney. Finally, SSDI is starting this month. 2nd award letter from SSDI backpay is $13,000. I know they will deduct the SSI amount that’s been paid. The letter also states-

        “SSA usually withhold 25% of claimants backpay of the maximum of $6000. We withheld $6000 from “Jane’s” backpay to pay her representative”.

        Do they deduct $6000 (the max) to make sure it’s enough to cover my attorneys fee, then afterwards, send me the reaming? I read about many folks on her saying that SSA withheld only 25% from their backpay. SSA withheld approximately 40% from my SSDI backpay. Reminder, attorney has already received $2500 from the $10,000 of SSI backpay. Thank you!

        • Anthony says:

          I proof read my question and it’s all over the place. I will try and make it simpler. I was approved for SSDI and SSI (so I can get paid for the 5 months). Total SSI back is $10,000. 25% of this went to attorney fee. I just received SSDI award and backpay amount letter. It states this-
          “Jane” is entitled to $13,000 in past-due SS benefits. SSA usually withhold 25% of the backpay or the maximum of $6000. We withheld $6000 from “jane’s” backpay to pay her representative”.

          Did SSA withhold $6000 to make sure the attorney gets paid, then I will be sent the remaining amount that’s left from the $6000? Note- The fee agreement is the normal 25% or $6000 to be clearer. Not sure why they withheld over 40%.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Anthony,

            Please see my response to your first post. The only thing I can add is that if “Jane” means there’s a child eligible on your account, the child’s benefits are also subject to 25% representative fees.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Anthony,

          The attorney fee on SSDI benefits should not exceed 25% even though $6,000 was initially held back. Both benefits are subject to the 25%. Also note that SSDI back pay will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid for any months that eligible for both benefits existed.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Anthony says:

            Thank you for answering my very unclear answer. Quick response, if I may. No dependents involved.

            $10,000 SSI BP Total
            – $2500 25% Attorn Fee paid
            =$7500 My amount

            $13,000 SSDI BP
            -$10,000 SSI already paid
            =$3,000 diff after SSI deduct

            $3,000 differ of SSI & SSDI
            – $750 25% diff for attorney
            =$2,250 SSD balance to me

            Is this calculation somewhat correct? Attorney is owed 25% of the $3,000 difference (Note: attorney already received 25% ($2,500) from SSI), which is $750?? I just wasn’t sure why the letter says they held $6,000 from SSD BP for attorney fee when he was already paid $2,500 of $3,250 (25% of payment total of $13,000)

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Anthony,

            Yes, I’d say your calculation is correct. I did a little more looking and although a separate fee can be charged for each SSI (Title XVI) and Social Security (Title II) benefits with a maximum of $6,000 on each, I found a reference that says that if the central issue is the same for both claims (disability or not), then only one fee to include both claims is appropriate ($25% up to $6,000). The Social Security reference is SECTIONS 206(a) AND 1631(d)(2) (42 U.S.C. 406(a) AND 1383(d)(2)) ATTORNEY FEES–DETERMINATION AND PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY FEES IN CONCURRENT TITLE II-TITLE XVI CLAIMS 20 CFR 404.1720(b), 404.1725(b), 416.1520(b) and (c), and 416.1525(b) SSR 83-27 and the online link is https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/rulings/oasi/39/SSR83-27-oasi-39.html. With this reference, you might be successful in making a case for revision of the allowed fees.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  12. Lawson Moore says:

    I filed foe SS disability early 2015. I had contacted a place called citizens disability before filing, to ask questions about filing a SS disability claim and they took my information. Not long after I filed a claim with SS myself, I received paperwork from citizens disability to sign and send back which I did. I later learned I didn’t need an attorney unless my claim was denied and in the mean time citizens disability just told me to contact them if I received a denial letter. I was contacted by a representative from the SS office after about 8 months concerning appointments with physicians for my claim at which time I brought up the fact that I had signed paperwork from citizens disability and wanted to drop them because it appeared they were not doing anything for me anyway. The representative told me to just ignore them because it looked like I had a very good chance of being approved and wouldn’t need to file any appeals. It took approximately 10 months before I was approved for disability and in that 10 months citizens disability did nothing to represent me as far as I know. Would they still be entitled to any of my back pay if they did very little or nothing in assisting me in my SS claim? I can not see where they were of any help at all and I feel they should get much less than 25% of my back pay or nothing at all since they did nothing other than having me sign papers. I understand the only help they would have given me was to assist in getting my disability approved in the event I would need to file an appeal.. Thank you Lawson Moore

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lawson,

      You needed to formally terminate your agreement with Citizens Disability when you were told to “just ignore” them. Accordingly, I expect that they will be paid 25% of your back pay (up to $6,000). I suggest that you submit a written statement to Social Security saying that they did not do anything to help you file or document your claim and that they should not be paid any fees. There are no guarantees that your request will be honored, but it is worth a try.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Brandy says:

        I’m replying to this article as to I’m going through samething with Citizen Disability I recent got approved for my SSDI and was fully favoritable back from Jan 2013 to April 2016 for payback. I Just recieved papers in mail May 27th. Stating my backpay sum will be all grated to me in one sum on or by May 29th and that my attoney fees which was $6000 was already subtracted from my backpay.. NOW the new part is Citizen Disability CEO Andrew Youngman submit a direct deposit form few weeks before my payout and got all my backpay plus there $6000 into their account which I had not given any forms or sign anything allowing them to add an account to my SSDI profile and steal my money.. Now ? Is how to get it back and how long now do i have to what to get the money from the law office I trusted?
        Brandy

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Brandy,

          I have not heard of an attorney directing a client’s payments to themselves. I wonder if it was a Social Security error. I’d start out by asking the attorney to immediately give you a cashier’s check from them for the full amount minus $6,000. If they decline or put you off, go to Social Security for guidance and ask to speak to a supervisor. If it was a Social Security error, the firm my prefer to return the money to Social Security and have it reissued to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Sonya Petrice Jones says:

            Hello I am sorry for putting my question on this page but I didn’t know how to start a new one. Any way I was approved for ssdi and recently got a letter from ssi saying I was approved but I was not going to receive any Medicaid or monthly payments from them only they will pay back pay because my social security is over the amount ssi pays. I had a back pay from social security as well as ssi my attorney has already been paid I an wondering why I haven’t gotten anything yet from my back pay

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Sonya,

            Please clarify your post. It seems to say both that you got SSI and SSD back pay and that you did not. Which back pay and monthly benefits did you receive so far?

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  13. JW says:

    I’m currently waiting for an appeal hearing date to be provided by SS. I have a disability lawyer/advocate and I agreed to pay them only if I win, but now they are asking for me to pay for medical records they need from one of my doctors as well as asking me to pay $500 to see a doctor of their choice. Have you heard about this? I thought they would pay both of these types of fees since they would be getting a payout if I win. I definitely do not have $500. I can’t work because of my disabilities, so I have zero income coming in.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear JW,

      Attorney fees are paid from back pay, but the attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses are separate and have to be paid by the claimant. That said, usually attorneys send the bill for the out-of-pocket expenses after the appeal has been decided. You may be able to negotiate that with your attorney. You might also discuss whether your own doctor could make a sufficient statement or evaluation at less cost.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  14. Darren says:

    I was recently awarded SS Disability. The back pay amounted to over 100k. 27k was withheld. Now my SS Disability attorneys are looking for fees of 16k. That seems like an enormous amount?
    Also my daughter will receive benefits after an interview. She will get in excess of 50k. I thought the attorney fees were divided between my pay out and my daughters?
    Don’t understand? Is my attorney planning on charging my daughter a fee on top of my 16k? That would be huge payout to the attorney. If not and the 16k will be split between my daughters payout and mine, than how come they are taking out the full 16k from me? I am very confused and do not trust in the large numbers being requested by my attorney.

    Thanks for any information.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Darren,

      I suggest that you review the representation agreement you signed with the attorney. I may say 25% up to $6,000 per benefit, which would mean up to $6,000 from your benefit, $6,000 from your daughter’s and if you were paid Supplemental Security Income (SSI) before the Social Security started, it could be up to $6,000 from the SSI back pay. As far as the full amount, if it is the full amount, from you, sometimes the dependent children’s benefits will be combined with the disabled worker’s benefits and paid together. If that is being done, then it is likely that the attorney fees would be lumped together. That does not, however, explain $27,000 being withheld for potential attorney fees. Note that I am only offering possibilities of what might be going on. You have the right to challenge the amount to be paid to the attorney, but first I suggest that you ask Social Security to explain how the fees were calculated and from which benefits to see if you agree after the explanation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Darren says:

        Kay,
        Thanks for your response. No I received no SSI before. As you wrote I would expect the fees to be a maximum of 6k from me and 6k from my daughter. But it does not explain the 16k or why they are asking to take it all from my payout? I will certainly ask for explanations.
        In the mean time they want me to sign the payout agreement. What if I refuse to sign? What if I do not agree? I understand the money will have to wait but how long? Or what else may happen if I refuse to agree?

        As always
        Thanks so much,
        Darren

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Darren,

          Your rights are more to rebut the amount than to be able to block payment. Your rebuttal and reasons for it will be considered in relationship to Social Security law related to attorney fees. Either your rebuttal will be accepted and a lesser amount paid to the attorney or it will be rejected and the $16,000 will be paid out in which case you should be supplied with a reason. I can’t predict how long the process may take.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Darren says:

        Kay,
        I responded to your answer but did not know if you received it?
        If the fees are supposed to be taken from my back pay and my daughters why are they taking all from me? If I do not agree to the fee what are the consequences? How long can they hold my 27k? Can anything else happen if I disagree that could hurt my amount, etc?
        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Darren,

          The worst that can happen if you contest the amount of the fees, is that they will be paid anyway. Your ongoing beneirts will not be affected nor the back pay you did receive. Sometimes the dependent’s benefits are combined with the disabled parent’s benefits; that would be a situation in which both fees could be withheld from one payment.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  15. Railroader says:

    I am a railroader who has been working for the railroad since 1999. I was 24 when I first started working for the railroad. I was in the army from 1993-1999 before I started with the railroad.
    I am sure you are probably aware of this but railroaders don’t pay into social security but their own railroad benefits.
    Because of this, am I not eligible for social security disability?

    • Railroader says:

      If I am not eligible, do I have any other options?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Railroader,

      Unless you have been working a second Social Security-taxed job while you have been with the railroad, you are not insured for Social Security Disability. You can apply for a Railroad Disability benefit. More information is available at http://www.rrb.gov/mep/ee/info_ret_surv_dis.asp. If your income and assets are low enough you can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability to cover the months before the Railroad Disability starts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  16. Beth M Hill says:

    I have won my ssi disability case my lawyer has been paid by them but I haven’t . Any idea when I will receive my part. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Beth,

      If your claim was for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or SSI and and Social Security Disability (SSDI) and an appointment has not been set up for a SSI financial update, contact your local office to get an appointment. It will take a couple weeks to a month or more after the interview to receive payment. SSDI is paid after SSI has been paid and is reduced for SSI paid for the same months. If you applied for SSDI only, allow two months for payment to begin before following up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  17. desertstormgirl says:

    Dear Kay,
    can you please explain how the two-tiered fee agreement works with two attorneys? I only saw one attorney during the entire time of my claim, but the head attorney signed the two tier fee agreement also. I won partially favorable at the ALJ level, and won’t have to go further. (I think) I just would like to know how it will work out with payment because in the agreement it says SSA will hold out 25% of past – due benefits and pay my attorneys for their work on my case. However in another paragraph it indicates they will receive 25% of all back pay OR limit set by 42 USC, which is $6,000. I’m a little confused as to how much backpay they will receive, and if SSA with hold 25%, what happens to the overage that SSA holds out? Do I get that back? or do the attorneys get it?

    Last question Do I have to pay twice the amount ($6,000 + $6,000) because two attorneys at the same oice signed the two-tiered fee agreement?

    Thanks for your answers in advance.

    • desertstormgirl says:

      sorry for the typing error*

      I meant to type in my last sentence, ” two attorneys at the same office.”

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Desert Storm Girl,

      I can’t speak directly to the two-tier agreement, but my guess is that it might be for the purpose of having Social Security split the attorney fees (25% up to a maximum of $6,000)between the two attorneys. In other words, it may only be a way for the attorneys to control their accounting. Social Security or the attorneys’ office may be able to explain it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  18. mark says:

    My SSDI attorney who I was specifically referred to left practicing law in the middle of my case. When it became apparent that the law firm he was working for was not able to handle my case in a diligent & communicative manner, I resorted to changing to a different lawyer from a different law firm. I wound up winning full SSDI benefits some eight months later and received notification that instead of the $6G max, the legal fees awarded to both firms will be close to $8,500. Had I arbitrarily decided to simply change attorneys I could understand, but being my original attorney stopped practicing law, the firm was not diligent nor communicative in my representation thereafter & that I had to endure the inconvenience & expense of finding and bring up to speed a new lawyer, I feel that the higher 25% above the $6G max should not be applicable or at least not as high as it is now. So Kay, is the any validity to my appeal here regarding the amount of fees? Do I have any legal grounds to appeal to the SSDI Judge to reconsider the amount set aside for fees? Please advise, Thanks, Mark

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mark,

      I do not know whether you have legal grounds for an appeal, but people sometimes do contest attorney fees. I suggest that you talk with the hearing office and your local Social Security office for guidance on how to contest the fee approved. One thing to consider before proceeding is that each benefit for which you or your family was approved is subject the fee. So, if you were approved for both Social Security and SSI each would be subject to a 25% fee up to $6,000 for each benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  19. Lisa perez says:

    I received my 3 months back pay for a single but just received lett we r on how much ssd will be a month. When will I get the check and does attorney get a percentage of this as well. Do they give me the lump sum at once. Long does it take after receiving my first ss I oayment

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lisa,

      It usually takes one to two months after SSI starts for Social Security Disability (SSDI) monthly benefits to begin and another month or so for SSDI back pay to be released. The SSDI back pay will be reduced by SSI paid for the same months. The attorney will be paid 25% of your back pay up to $6,000.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Felecia says:

        My attorney didn’t get her fee, which i didn’t know, i thought hers came out of the back pay. now 6 months later SS sent me a letter saying The lawyer now wants her money but the back pay they sent me is gone and i cant afford to pay her $6000 out of my monthly payments is there anything I can do?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Felecia,

          I suggest that you contact the Social Security Administration to find out whether the attorney’s fee was denied. If it was denied, you may not be liable for it. Also look at the contract you signed with the attorney to see what your responsibilities are. If you are responsible for the fee, I suggest that you try to set up a payment plan.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  20. penny says:

    I will like to know how do U win an overpayment ssi case when it is not my fault. What info and documents do I need to win the case since I believe it is not my fault.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Penny,

      You need to file a formal request for waiver of collection of the overpayment. You have to prove that the overpayment was not your fault including that you did not accept payment you knew to be incorrect and that you cannot afford to repay. The latter requires some detailed information about your finances and possibly supporting documents. The former involves your explaining the circumstances that make it not our fault. Social Security can give you the necessary waiver request form. If you request waiver of repayment, collection should not start while the request is being processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  21. Teresa says:

    My daughter has been approved for SSDI. She got a check from SS for $12,000. But she is being told she had to pay an advocate & pay back Hartford back.

    I’ve read that SS pays the attorney, before they send her the back pay.

    She received short term disability from her policy from her work.
    I feel that she should not have to pay Hartford, since that was a policy she paid for from work.

    Thanks for your advice.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Teresa,

      Your daughter’s short-term disability (SDI) policy through her employer probably has a provision in it that says that STD is reduced by Social Security and that she has to repay STD for periods she receives both without reduction. (The premium paid for the policy would be much higher if that were not true.) She can request a copy of the policy to check for such a provision.

      You mention an “advocate,” which may not be the same as an attorney and, therefore, not directly paid by Social Security from her back pay. If she is legally bound to pay the advocate, the STD insurer may reduce the amount of the STD overpayment by the amount of the advocate’s fee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Teresa says:

        Can my daughter get a SSD check for her two sons also?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Teresa,

          If your daughter’s Family Maximum Benefit (FMB) is higher than her own benefit, which is called a Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), dependent benefits are payable for her children. She can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and ask the amount of her PIA and FMB. If the FMB is higher, she should contact Social Security about anything needed for the children’s benefits to be paid.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  22. Dee Dee says:

    I received my first Social Security payment in January 2016 but there wasn’t a deduction for my attorney fees. Is it true that fees are taken out immediately?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dee Dee,

      Attorney’s fees are withheld from back pay not regular monthly benefits. If you received your monthly benefit very quickly after medical approval, it is possible that the attorney fees have not been paid, even though they are often paid before the beneficiary receives payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  23. Melissa says:

    My husband has been approved for SSDI. He is pending his back and monthly payments. His attorney has already been paid several weeks ago, yet he is still waiting for any payments. Is this normal or does this happen often? Also we have a disabled daughter who does not have enough work years to qualify for SSDI, but my husband is retired at 62 and if I read the rules correctly, she can now file under him because her disability started before she was 22. If she files under him, will this effect his SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melissa,

      It is typical that the attorney is paid quickly and then there is a gap before benefits are paid to the disabled claimant. If your daughter is unmarried and has been continuously disabled since before age twenty-two, she could qualify for benefits on your husband’s earning record. Her eligibility would not affect your husband’s benefit.

      Note that I said continuously disabled since before age twenty-two. You seem to have said that she has done some work. If she always earned under the substantial gainful activity(SGA) level, then she would be considered continuously disabled, but the work should be listed on the application.

      If she performed SGA for a period that is too long for the work to be considered an unsuccessful work attempt, she probably won’t be found to be continuously disabled. Usually less than three months and sometimes up to six months of work at SGA level that ends due to disability is considered an unsuccessful work attempt and will not disqualify. Usually a specific dollar amount of monthly earnings is the guideline for whether or not work activity is SGA. You can view a chart of the amount of earnings that equals SGA back to 1975 at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/cola/sga.html. Your daughter can set up a “My Social Security” account on http://www.socialsecurity.gov and then request an earnings statement (not benefit statement) that will list all her work. Comparing the two documents may make it clear that she has been continuously disabled because her work attempts were either not SGA or were short unsuccessful work attempts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Pete says:

        Hello Kay,My dad applied for ssdi in jan 2014 . He got approved months latter with a may 2014 eod . He gets ssdi every month since nov. 2014 he said.
        He went to alj judge last nov 2015 . He got a fully favorable decision with the right date of dec 2010 . He is blind since then . The doctors and the alj all agree .
        When will medicare kick in and what kind of back payments and retro payments will he get .
        He is so confused and i am trying to help him . I am 14 years old he gets benfit for me also thank you for trying to help him.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Pete,

          Your father’s Social Security Disability benefits should begin to accrue January 2013 for benefits through October 2014. If he has not gotten back pay for those months, perhaps you and he can go to a Social Security office to inquire. If that is not effective, he could contact his congressperson for help. Medicare should begin January 2015, but it will not be processed until the back payments are processed.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Pete says:

            Hello Kay , thank you so much for taking the time to answer his questions . His lawyer that he had wouldnt give straight answers on his back and retro pay.
            My dad thought the ALJ said that he would get paid back to Dec 2010 plus the 5 months from there . He thought he heard 5 months from the eod . Will they reimburse him medical expenses he had when he had no insurance . My dad says thank you as i am typing for him . I thank you too very much.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Pete,

            Back pay will begin the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability or twelve months before the month of application. Medicare begins after twenty-four months of benefits. If your father has any unpaid bills for the period after his Medicare entitlement begins, he can give his Medicare claim number to the medical providers for them to bill Medicare.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  24. jody says:

    Goid evening i have a question i was approved for Social Security Disability and also partial SSI my lawyer had nothing to do with SSI just the SSD so why woul he get paid for that as well im very very co fused can you please explain and as for paying them for doctors documents i provided them with all the documents not them i did all the leg work sick as i am please im bipolar i truly dont understand all this paperwork can you clarify please Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jody,

      The medical approval your attorney helped you get was needed for you to be approved for Social Security and for SSI and that is why the attorney is entitled to attorney’s related to both benefits. In addition you are responsible for paying for any out-of-pocket expenses the attorney had, if any. Any bill your receive for such expenses should be itemized so you can see what you are paying for.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • jody says:

        So what you are saying is i have to pay 12000 dollars is that 25% im sorry but i got all the paperwork and brought it into them they advised me it would be faaster so im still confused .Im sorry i dont mean tto sound dense i just feel its unfair .Thank you

  25. jan says:

    Hi Kay,

    Before I type out my whole situation I’d like to know if you are still giving advice?

    thanks,
    jan

  26. jackie says:

    my s.s.i. attorney was overpaid almost a $1,000. he did submit a refund check to social security and that refund should have been in my last installment payment of backpay that i received in nov. 2015. i have spoken with my local s.s. rep on several occasions to find out that the refund was sent to an office in philadelphia, pa back in may of 2015. to date, 1/11/16, i have not received that refund and am now about to be evicted because i was assured that i would have received that money “any day now.” the second week of nov. 2015. could you please give me some suggestions on who i can contact to expedite this payment that is being inappropriately held onto or any suggestion on what to do in this case.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jackie,

      You reference installment payments of back pay, which indicates to me that the benefit you are receiving is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If that is the case, the $1,000 that was returned to the Treasury Department would be added to the back pay due you but would probably not be released before your next back pay installment.

      That said, you can request early release of SSI back pay installments based on having a housing crisis. You need to present proof of an eviction notice if you’ve gotten one and/or how much back rent you owe. I suggest that you go to your local office to request a dire need release.

      If you were approved for both SSI and Social Security and it is really Social Security back pay you are waiting for, the payment will come from the payment center. In that situation, you might contact your congressperson’s office and ask them to follow up to the payment center.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  27. Lauren says:

    My sister filed for disability. We eventually had to get a lawyer. He suggested she would get substantial backpay of which he would be paid 25%/$6,000. We were totally comfortable with that. During the hearing he realized that she made too much money in 2014 and asked us to sign an amendment to the onset date. This was basically forgoing the back pay. We were okay with this because we were mostly concerned with future payments.
    He also asked us to change the fee petition so that he received all of the back pay that we did get ($1400). Bottom line…. We have no money to pay the lawyer and he is asking for $5,000 . He said he will force SSA to withhold money from her monthly payments if we can’t come up with a lump sum. The whole reason why we applied is because she is unable to work and provide for herself. If he reduces the payment I don’t know what we are going to do. Any advice would be appreciated. I’m stuck in a hard place here.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lauren,

      I am not positive, but I don’t think the attorney can get paid from ongoing Social Security benefits. Check with the Social Security Administration. Also your sister needs to look at the fee agreements she signed including the second agreement. If it took the place of the first, she may only be liable for the $1,400. If not, your sister may liable for what she signed off on paying in the first agreement. If needed, consult a second attorney for guidance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  28. Vgb says:

    My son got approved for ssi in 2009 and the judged ice the legal aid feeling claimants were being misled that they were getting free services. My son had an review and got denied February 2015 but won again in July 2015 now they wan to give his back pay to th lawyers in 2099 because now another judge over ruled the first judge stating his determination under section 206 of social security law. I am appealing if I need help doing this on my own. Some type of guidance

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vgb.,

      I do not know whether a judge can overrule a decision that is six years old even if it is wrong. You probably need legal advice.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  29. Dave L says:

    Hello Kay,

    I recently was approved for SSDI. They determined I had been disabled for 10 months. I got a back payment for 4mo. I contacted my lawyer and asked if I needed to send him his portion. He stated not to send him any money and that the SSDI people would send his portion directly to him. 11 days later he sent an email stating that the SSDI office did it wrong and I owe him, he said he went several rounds with them over it. I don’t want to call him a liar but shouldn’t I get a letter from SSDI saying I need to pay him? It’s not that I don’t trust him but I don’t trust anyone. So it’s been nearly a month since he told me I owe him and I haven’t heard a peep from him or SSDI.

    Any guidance is appreciated.
    Dave

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dave,

      You are correct that you should have written confirmation that Social Security is not going to pay him and why. Though unlikely, the agency could have disallowed his fee. Of course, the other possibility is that an error was made and he should be paid. I suggest that you contact Social Security and request written confirmation and also advise the attorney that you will pay him as soon as you get verification that the fee was approved but not paid. (The attorney may have received a notice that will serve that purpose.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • David alfaro says:

      Hi my ? Is i hired a disability lawyer for my back 3 months later i had kidney failure a year later i finally saw the judge i got my decision it came back partially favorible for my kidneys not my back my ? Is the lawyer in title to get money for my judgement especially he diddnt win fir my back

  30. Lena Shore says:

    Dear Kay, I have just found out today that I was approved for SSDI on the 1st application.

    I hired a lawyer on a contingency basis and from what I’ve read he can get up to $6000 of the award.

    However I have been on temporary disability which is for 1 year and that is almost over and the SSDI from what I understand will start once it expires.

    Will the state take money from the monthly payments to repay the lawyer once SSDI starts?

    If not do I have to pay him, since he did submit the paperwork but didn’t have to go to court to do an appeal?

    If so what sort of bill would I be looking at? (I was afraid to ask)

    I also applied with a lawyer for workers comp in Aug. since I wasn’t sure if I would be getting disability. I heard that most cases are denied and can take years to win and didn’t know how I would survive since I can’t work.
    I sustained continuous trauma to my hands due to my job as well as severe depression and anxiety. I was very upset at the deposition and don’t want to continue since I will have to go to another one for depression and don’t think I can emotionally handle it.
    The insurance company denied my claim. Can I quit and not owe this lawyer?(also contingency) because I will be getting disability?

    I heard that you can’t get workers comp and disability at the same time. Is this true?

    thank you
    Lena

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lena,

      Your attorney is entitled to 25% of your Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay (capped at $6,000). Social Security will pay him directly from your back pay award. SSDI benefits begin the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability or twelve months before application. SSDI will not be reduced by your state disability insurance.

      I do not know the law about whether you can abandon your workers comp claim without owing your WC attorney.You might start by looking at the contract you signed with him. The maximum you can receive between workers comp and Social Security Disability is 80% of your current average earnings as determined by Social Security. If you first receive SSDI and later receive workers comp, you will have an SSDI overpayment and you will be expected to repay the overpayment with part of your workers comp award.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  31. Valerie C says:

    Kay
    First off let me say Thank You for taking your time out to answering all these questions, You have been a Godsend I have learned so much from reading your replies.
    I have one small question, I was approved for SSI having lacked being 3 hours short to be eligible for SSDI. I just recently received my first payment for November 2015 a few days ago and will start getting my regular payments December 1 and there after. Approximately how long until I receive my first back payment? I got a letter in the mail today stating how much it was going to be but was wondering if you by chance might know an approximate time frame for that?
    Thank you
    Valerie C

    • Valerie C says:

      Oops I put this on the wrong topic, sorry about that. But, look forward to your response

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Valerie,

      Now that you have gotten the letter, I would expect that you would receive back pay within ten to fourteen days. If the back pay is more than $2,199, it will be paid in installments six months apart.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  32. Andy C says:

    Hello,

    Here is my situation. I am disabled and had a lawyer who submitted my initial paperwork to the SSA. Soon afterwards they sent me a letter stating that they decided as a firm to no longer handle SSDI claims and referred me to a different attorney and that they will no longer be representing me. I decided to take the SSA on by myself and after 2 months managed to get myself approved asking for an OTR eval. based on my medical records and condition. I received my first lump sum amount and 25% was sent to my ex-lawyer since they never sent the letter to the SSA dropping me as a client. This attorney just sent me a letter saying through their efforts they got me approved and kept the payment. Is there something I can do to get this money back or is it lost? I did all the work and basically paid my lawyer for it!

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Andy,

      The attorney did submit the paperwork so did provide services. I am not sure whether you can do this after the fee has already been paid, but it is worth a try. You can petition Social Security to reduce the fee that is paid because they terminated you as a client. Present a copy of the letter from the attorney that terminated their services.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Clinton Washington says:

      I need assistance on this matter… My dad was awarded funds for disability and passed away the same year. I found out the funds would be awarded to me and pursued to receive the funds myself no legal help. My father’s attorney basically disappear I’ve never met or spoke with him and he has my grandmother which is my father’s mother info and never contacted either of us. I wrote Congress woman Gwen Moore and she help me receive a payment of 17779.00 5 years after the attorney had already received his. I thanked ms. Moore and asked her for copies of the backpay statement which breaks down the total amount per month and how many months total were granted to my father and she sent me a tax forms instead. I need to get the actual payout statement for my fathers
      claim. How do I see what was really the total amount granted to my father? Long story short they just sent me a payment and now the irs says I owe then… I really need help with this matter. Please comment or contact me 4143910739

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Clinton,

        Contact the Social Security Administration and request an award letter that shows the monthly breakdown. Unless your adjusted gross income is less than $24,000 ($32,000 if you are married) at least part of the Social Security benefits is taxable. In February after the year you received the money, you should receive an SSA-1099 to file your taxes. If you need help, I suggest that you confer with a tax preparer or accountant.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  33. yvetta says:

    Hi,

    I applied for SSD and was denied. I got on it originally through LTD with my employer. The LTD attorney refused my case approx 30 days prior to my hearing. I did not know I could get any attorney, so I went to court hearing myself. The judge denied me because I can cook and clean my house and drive to church on my own. I have not worked because of depression anxiety insomnia and migraine headaches brought on by stress and trauma. Now what do I do? Get an atty? or try it alone again? I’m frustrated and depressed this process is making me more depressed. What should I do next.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Yvetta,

      The Appeals Council only reviews denials under certain circumstances that involve procedureal errors on the part of the judge, so you need an attorney experienced in Social Security appeals to help you prepare the appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, 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 the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  34. Arnaldo Cruz-Ocasio says:

    Hi Kay;

    My partner was recently approved as Fully Favorable and his lawyer was just paid his portion of the SSI Agreement Fee. How long does it usually take for someone to receive their money AFTER the lawyer has been paid out?

    My partner’s birthday is on the 10th of the Month and I’ve read a few articles that say that the first check/back-pay should be here by the second Wednesday of the month….

    Thanks so much!
    -AJ

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Arnaldo,

      Your partner’s regular monthly check is payable on the second Wednesday of each month. The back pay can be paid on any date. Attorneys are usually paid very quickly and the claimant’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment starts from a couple weeks to a month or more later. SSI back pay is released in up to three installments six months apart. The first two installments cannot exceed $2,199.

      Social Security Disability (SSDI) often starts two months or more after the attorney is paid. SSDI back benefits are paid in a single payment a couple months later. SSDI back pay is reduced by SSI back benefits paid for the same months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • J kohler says:

      My question is; if you are approved at the start and the attorney did NOTHING, do they still get the fee?

  35. nicole says:

    so i applied for disability in 2012 and did all the paperwork phone calls and appeals on my own until 2014 when i hired a lawyer he has only been on my case for about a year and he would only take the case if i had a letter from the doctor proving i was disabled and it was that letter that got my case approved so is he entitled to 25% of the backpay for all three years or just the year he was on my case?

  36. Allen Frisch says:

    Dear Kay,

    A person receiving SSDIwas convicted of a MISDEMEANOR , not a felony. The conviction date was 8/31/2015. The sentence was for 7 months and began 8/31/2015.

    SSDI wants to get back the August 2015 and September, 2015 payments.

    Is this person entitled keep the payment for August based on the 30 Day confinement after conviction rule.

    Is SSDI entitled at all to repayment since in Oregon this was a misdemeanor and not a Felony.
    Thx Allen

    • Allen Frisch says:

      Kay,

      I failed to ask you whether Social Security differentiates between a misdemeanor conviction and sentence and a felony conviction and sentence when determining whether benefits should be suspended.

      In some SS literature they refer to conviction of a crime and in others they say conviction of a felony when discussing suspending benefits after 3o days of incarceration.

      In Oregon there are specific differences in misdemeanors and felonies.

      Thanks

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Allen,

        The law changed in April 2000 and conviction of any criminal offense results in suspension of benefits. Please see my full reply posted a few minutes ago.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Allen,

      Beginning in April 2000, conviction and imprisonment for an criminal offense, not just a felony, results in suspension of benefits. Suspension begins with the month the person is incarcerated after conviction. The August benefit is not payable because the full month of conviction and incarceration is not payable, even if the incarceration occurs on the last day of the month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      S

      • Allen Frisch says:

        Dear Kay,

        Wouldn”t the actual suspension begin after the first 30 days of incarceration or in this case suspension would begin on September 29, 2015 thereby making the August payment not returnable.
        Sincerely and thanks,

        Allen

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Allen,

          No, the suspension begins with the month of the first day that the person is confined in jail once a conviction has occurred, so the August benefit payable in September is suspended and if paid must be returned.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  37. Lisa says:

    Dear Kay, amazing of you to answer these questions and take time out to do so, thank you! I was awarded 9 years of back payment which of course went to the lawyer first who received their 25% plus they had been awarded money before that for taking it to the state supreme court. And asking for money from the judge there. Now I did all the running and paying of fees for the copies of my records and such. Now after all that they want an extra 6000+ dollars from me. I don’t feel that’s fair they’re ending up with almost half my money this way. How much is “incidentals” normally? And what happens to me if I try to pay them what I feel is fair such as about half as that is a ridiculous amount for stuff I mostly did myself? Why weren’t they allowed to take their incidentals out of the original payment with everything else? Thanks for talking to me. I don’t wish to be unfair but I don’t appreciate getting fleeced either.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lisa,

      I suggest that you request an itemized statement of the $6,000 for “incidentals,” which are supposed to be the attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses for court fees, medical records copies, etc. That will allow you to judge whether or not the bill is justified. I am not knowledgeable enough in consumer law to answer your question about paying less than you are being billed; however, it is possible that to be relieved of the remaining amount, you would have to get the attorney to agree in writing to settle for less.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  38. Sheryl says:

    I have a ssi lawyer I haired him in November 2014 and haven’t spoken to him at all never received a call letter anything I have been fighting this case by myself now I just got approved on Oct 2015 why would he be in titled to any money if he didn’t do anything

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sheryl,

      You can petition Social Security not to pay the attorney giving your reasons why. It will be up to their discretion as to whether they grant the petition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Judy l allen says:

        If a lawyer represents you for SSID and the lawyer receive his 25% and SSA tell u to file for your dependent child and the child get approved why do the lawyer get paid from the child lump sum when they tell yo that the lawyer do not file they don’t need to be paid

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Judy,

          If the fee agreement you signed with the attorney includes a percentage of the dependent benefits, then he or she is entitled to the fee. The concept behind it is that without the attorney’s help to get you medically approved, the child would not have received anything.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  39. Keisha says:

    Hi will Ssi automatically send my atterney his money or do I have to send it once I get my back pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Keisha,

      The Social Security Administration will pay automatically pay your attorney fees before they pay you. If your attorney had out-of-pocket expenses to get medical records or for court filing costs, you will have to pay those directly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  40. Charles says:

    I went to court and won my SSD 100 percent disabled. That was April 14th of this year and I have received 3 monthly checks but the over 2 years back pay I was awarded is being held up. We hired a bad firm off the television, they were no help all the way through and when court time came, they hired an attorney from our area. The judge denied the fee agreement because she said we had 2 attorney agreements and we can only have one. We only hired the first company, they sent the lawyer who came to hearing. Now SS says there is a dispute with attorneys over $9200, and we thought the max fee was 25% up to $6000. Now we find out the attorney has filed an appeal without our knowledge over the judges ruling. Mean time we have been waiting for over 6 months and have so many medical issues, and need the payment. What can we do and do we have any recourse over this joke of a disability rep firm?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Charles,

      The total fee is capped at $6,000 per benefit. If you or you and your dependents are eligible for more than one benefit (SSDI and SSI or SSDI and SS dependent benefits), the total could exceed $6,000.

      It seems to me that your benefits should not be held up because of the attorney squabble. If the first firm hired the attorney that appeared with you, I would think they would need to pay the second attorney–assuming you did not sign a fee agreement with the second attorney. If you didn’t, perhaps you could write a letter to that effect and ask your local office to send it to the payment center. Another option might be to see whether your congressperson’s office would be willing to make an inquiry to get your funds released.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  41. Preety says:

    Hello Kay if ssi paid my lawyer half how long will it be for my back pay they paid on October 2

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Preety,

      If your claim was for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are likely to receive your first monthly check soon and the first installment of your back pay within a month . If your claim was for Social Security Disabiltiy (SSDI), it can take a month or two for the first monthly check and another month or two for the back pay to be released.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  42. Peter D says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had a disability hearing date set for Oct. of this year (which took some time to finally get). Two weeks before that date my lawyer got a letter from SS saying that the hearing is being postponed. It got rescheduled for Dec. of this year (another 3 months). Here is my question. I had a pre-hearing meeting with my lawyer before the first hearing date. At the meeting, my lawyer looked over my case and realized that because of the limitations that my treating doctor gave me, which i reported in the first disability attempt (which naturally got denied), that the limitations fell within the guidelines of approval and it should have been approved at that stage. When he brings this up at the hearing, will this bare any weight to an approval with the ALJ? Thanks so much in advance.
    Peter

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Peter,

      I would think that the information would be helpful to get a positive outcome at the hearing, but it is not possible to say for sure until the formal decision is rendered.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  43. Chris says:

    Hi Kay,
    I applied for Ssdi on 5/2014, onset date 2/2012, LDI 9/2013 Soon I will be 55 Years old, I do not qualify for SSI.
    My lawyer and I had a hearing with the ALJ a week ago.
    My lawyer mainly concentrated on the date of 2012 thru 2013. I felt that I didn’t answer the ALJ and my lawyers questions too well because of being so nervous. My lawyer said I did ok ( doesn’t sound like encouraging words). The lawyer stated to the VE that I would grid out due to my age and the VE agreed. Before the ALJ was about to close the case he stated for me to contact my lawyer when I received my notice.
    Doesn’t the lawyer automatically get a notice also?
    Would I automatically qualify due to my age?
    Kay, what are your thoughts? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      I do not know why the judge would have said to contact your lawyer when you got the notice; it seems like an unusual statement. No one is automatically approved because of age. Age, education, and work experience are considered in addition to your medical or psychiatric limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  44. yvonne s says:

    My hearing for ssdi was end of july, 2015 and i havent recieved any answers but i called and was told they were waiting on fee agreement from attorney, does this mean i will be approved?

  45. Sheryl says:

    My husband applied for SSD several months ago. We recently got a copy of a letter in the mail that they sent to the attorney for them to collect their fees.

    Does that mean anything? We’ve not heard there was any decision. We’ve not heard anything. Do they send that letter to all attorneys?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sheryl,

      The letter to the attorney may be an indication that your husband’s claim may have been approved. If so, the attorney will be paid before your husband is. I do not know whether a letter is sent to all attorneys before the attorney fees are paid. I suggest that you ask your attorney to explain the letter to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Alisa koerber says:

        Hello, my nme is alisa koerber. I have not been getting my ssi all through this year, I have been so sick since march and I got out from the hospital in june and went to the ssi office to retrive my ssi money and I was told to resign up for it and I did not still get paid on the first of july and I went back there again on the first of august I still did not get paid and they ask me to fill out some forms and hoping I was going to get paid on the first of september and they told me to check back on the 4th which is friday, I really don’t know what to do about it.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Alisa,

          If you were ineligible due to your hospitalization for less than twelve months, you should not have to file a new claim and reinstatement ought to occur within a month. If you didn’t get payment on the fourth, do check back with them and inquire what is still needed from you or left for them to do to release the benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  46. Joan says:

    Hello, I was awarded Ssi disability and they paid an attorney that was not my attorney. The SS office caught it and the lawyer sent a check back but it has been 3 months and I still don’t have that money. Why is it taking so long?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joan,

      I suggest that you contact the office to be sure that your claim is on track and has not somehow been sidelined due to the out of ordinary occurrence.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  47. Melinda G. Francis says:

    I had a disability trial in Oct. of 2014,it a two part disability. It didn’t pass,well the first part of the disability,because I wasn’t of 62 yr. bracket. I am 53,and my husband died in 2011. That case was thrown out. But I also was trying for disability for my condition. I have M.C.T.D. ,Fibrous,and Lupus combined. The PCP, at that time wrote in my files,that I could sit at a sedentary job for six hours,when she never witnessed that before. I have come to office in pain,85% of the time. Yet she caused my disability hearing to be thrown out. Now,I am still seeing doctors,having all kinds of test done,and I don’t know what to do. I haven’t filed again yet,…I feel worn out. Don’t know which way to go. The first Physician was giving me narcotics to treat me,before I was tested for Lupus any further. My PCP now, asked me why were they prescribed to me,and I told her I had no idea. But she finally got me in to see a rheumy, …and another doctor so G.I., can be done. I want to know what it is that I should do ability disability? Do I have a valid situation with the things I have going on with me?, or should I quit,and try to wait til I am 62?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melinda,

      Now that you seem to be getting more complete medical care, if you are not working or you are working and earning less than $1,090 gross per month, you can apply again for disability benefits, claiming a date of disability later than the last denial decision. If you are denied this time, I suggest that you appeal with the help of an attorney. (Age sixty-two is not a key age for disability benefits; you must be sixty-two to receive reduced retirement benefits or age fifty to receive disabled widow’s benefits at a reduced rate.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  48. LThomas says:

    Hi Kay, my husband had a hearing almost 3ths ago my husband said that the judge decision is fully favorable to him and the vocational expert said he could not do the simplest sit down job ,my husband just called down to the hearing office and they told him that his case is with the writers and he just received a letter from his lawyer saying that his case is awaiting a decision I just want to know is this a good sign or what please help me to understand what is going on and what to expect …

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear L.,

      Your husband is close to getting a formal decision on his appeal. He will not know for sure that he has been approved as his attorney predicts until he gets the judge’s written decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  49. necey says:

    I would like to know why do attorney get they check before the person who getting the check do

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Necey,

      I don’t know why the system is set up that way.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • necey says:

        OK well like my attorney been paid over a week now but I haven’t heard anything else from the soc sec but they didn’t even send me a letter telling me they were paying him first I just happen to call and one of the worker said well we paid your attorney

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Necey,

          It can take one to three months to receive benefits after the attorney is paid.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • terrie roberts says:

            Why is that Kay, lawyers get paid first, then 3-? Months later the person gets paid

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Terrie,

            I do not know why there is such a large time gap between lawyer compensation and the start of benefits.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • tara says:

        I filed for my disability about 02/2015 less then 2 weeks ago I called the social security customer service 1-800 number and I was told by 3 customer service reps that my case has been approved.when I called the local office the lady I spoke to had no idea what I was talking about she only told me my case was pending I did receive a letter from social security to go to the doctors appointment on 09/01/2015 the letter just said they needed more information. then just today I called my attorneys and I was told the attorneys submitted the application to social security so they could get paid could this mean my case is coming close to an approval

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Tara,

          It is possible that your claim has been approved and the doctor’s appointment is for a mental evaluation to see if you need a representative payee. The other possibility is that the claims examiner forgot to cancel a previously planned appointment. I suggest that you call the person who sent you the letter about the appointment to get a clarification.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  50. Bonnie Hunter says:

    Hi I receive a notice of decision full favorable and my lawyer received there notice,and said that I will be getting a award letter in the mail from ssa soon,how long do in have to wait for my the money and my back pay??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bonnie,

      If your approval was for Social Security Disability (SSDI), it can take about two months for monthly benefits to start. If your claim was for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the time frame could be shorter. If you applied for both, SSI will be processed first and monthly SSDI could be two months after that. Back pay is released after monthly benefits begin.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  51. Charmaine McKay says:

    My x-husband was awarded SSA with back payment, my 3 minor children were awarded a very small monthly payment, and back pay. The attorney took 600 from each child’s back pay for his fees, I do not agree with this. Why didn’t the fees come from my x-husband back pay, considering his amount was much more than the kids? Why wasn’t I contacted ?Is there any recourse to this?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Charmaine,

      Usually both primary and dependent benefits are subject to attorney-fee withholding. Your husand’s attorney fee agreement was probably written that way. If so, your husband’s attorney had the right to take 25% of your husband’s back pay up to $6,000 and 25% of the children’s back pay up to $6,000. That said, you can ask to see the agreement to be sure that the fee payment was made according to the agreement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  52. lynn says:

    Hi ,
    I received a letter from my attorney today stating that SS paid the attorney fee and i owe for mileage and medical record’s.
    Since my attorney received their fee from SS does this mean i can assume i won my appeal ?

  53. Wanda Ortiz says:

    Hi Kay my friend got approved for ssdi and ssi but they only paying him a one time ssi paper check so they will continue with his monthly ssdi first check is on May 13 2015 how long with it take for him to get his ssi one time check and his ssdi lump sum payment he already got his award notice and it states that he will be awarded for past due payments for 45,340 and they will withheld 11,335 for attorney fees.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Wanda,

      The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) one-time payment should come before the Social Security starts. It can take up to three months for the Social Security (SSDI) back pay to be released and it will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid for the months that SSI and SSDI eligibility overlapped.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  54. 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

  55. 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.

  56. 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

  57. Ashleighee Ambrose says:

    Thank you

  58. 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

  59. 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

  60. 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.

  61. 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

  62. 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.

  63. 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

  64. 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

  65. 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

  66. 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.

  67. 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

  68. 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

  69. 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

  70. 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

  71. 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

  72. 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

  73. 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

  74. 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 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

  75. 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

  76. 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

  77. 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

  78. 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

  79. 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

  80. 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.

      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

  81. 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, seek representation.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

  82. 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 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

  83. 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 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

  84. 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

  85. 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

  86. 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

  87. 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

  88. 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

  89. 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

  90. 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

  91. 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

  92. 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

  93. 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

  94. 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

  95. 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

  96. 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

  97. 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

  98. 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

  99. 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

  100. 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

  101. 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

  102. philip patrick says:

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

  103. 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

  104. 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

  105. 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

  106. 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

  107. 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

      • Samir says:

        We had a similar situation in that our SSDI was approved quickly so there was no backpay. We had told our attorney (paralegal) we were choosing him over the partner our LTD carrier had recommended primarily because of confidentiality, and he assured us there was no cost difference, other than incidentals. We had already filled out the online application, we provided him electronic copies of all the medical records, and we promptly answered the one set of questions SSDI asked us. He told us we might be the rare case that is approved on the 1st round. The only fee agreement we signed was on the incidentals, and on the SSA 1696. In light of the quicj award, the paralegal has now said he is going to charge us $500 to compensate the 2 hours of work he put into it since there was no backpay. He says this is a discount as normally, when he thinks someone will get approved quickly, he charges them $2,000 up front; I don’t like it when he says that now, because had he said that before, we would have just used the LTD carrier’s organization that they paid for. We’re happy to pay him for job well done, but when I heard that today, I feel cheated. Since we’re on LTD, we owe the SSDI to the LTD carrier, but when when we send to them, we’ll deduct the attorney fees since it is listed as deductible income and see if the LTD agrees (I think he’s billing it as incidentals, not legal fees). I guess my question, should I report it to SSA that we were charged like this? I wish I had a copy of the fee agreement, but he didn’t give us a copy when we first met with him. Or let it go. The money is not a big deal, it’s more the feeling of being taken advantage of.

        • Samir says:

          By LTD, I meant LTD insurance. When I said SSDI payment received, I meant the month 6 payment (since months 1 – 5 aren’t payable) that we owe LTD insurer due to offsets; we actually got the SSDI direct deposit payment before the letter! Been receiving LTD since month 4. No backpay as I explained, since it was so quick. We applied for SSDI at the end of month 4.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Samir,

          If you are, as you said, “happy to pay him for a job well done,” then I’d let it go, especially if the LTD carrier is going to reduce the amount of LTD you have to repay by the amount you pay the attorney. If you decide to go this route, be sure the LTD carrier reduces the overpayment for incidental expenses, not just for attorney fees. If that does not feel right to you, request a copy of the fee agreement and discuss the matter with the Social Security Administration.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Samir Shah says:

            Kay,

            Thanks for your reply. We already mailed the SSA award letter to the LTD company, with a check for SSA award minus incidental fees, so let us see what they say. Hopefully they are glad we are open and honest about these payments. I’m OK paying the law firm because I appreciate the paralegal spent 2 hours to meet us in person, he’s 10 years younger than me, he needs to make a buck, and I do reasonably well (wife is the one disabled). Because we have a daughter that is 3, I think we are eligible for more due to the dependent benefit. If so, would the law firm then get 25% of the backpay, or is that a totally new application? If they would receive 25%, then I will contact SSA to remove their name as representative as they’ve been paid enough, prior to applying for the dependent benefit.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Samir,

            If you listed your child on your application, you have already made an application for her. The attorney will be entitled to 25% of her back pay if the original agreement you signed included dependent benefits. I do not think you can remove him from the claim after the fact.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Samir Shah says:

            This will be my last post to let you know how it turned out. We called SSA and they told us our daughter was NOT listed and we could tell SSA attorney was no longer representing us. So in the letter to the attorney, we thanked him for the service, and said this payment was appreciation for and acknowledgment of the end of his represetnation (as his letter ended with an offer to consider them for all our future legal needs). I also mailed a letter to SSA saying he was no longer representing us. A week letter, SSA did the phone interview with my wife on our daughter, just making sure no jail and that our daughter lived with us. We got the payment yesterday (two weeks later) and it was two months worth, so May (backpay) and June; nothing taken out. Meanwhile, LTD company did accept attorney expenses and did not count it as part of the offset. So all good, though I guess we’ll lose LTD since SSDI + auxiliary benefits is higher than LTD.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Samir,

            Thank you for the update. Your long-term disability (LTD) plan may have a small minimum benefit ($50 or $100) that is payable even if your family’s Social Security is more than the LTD.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Samir Shah says:

            I knew about the minimum but thought it didn’t apply. After your note, I rechecked and realized I had imagined a comma before the “Benefit” and “before.” So we DO get 10% (a fair more than $100). Appreciate you pointing it out. “$100 or $10 of your LTD Benefit before reduction by Deductible Income, whichever is greater.”

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome, Samir.

  108. 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

  109. 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

  110. 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

  111. richard a. harris says:

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

  112. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>