Usually, you do not have to pay attorney fees out of your own pocket when you appeal a denial of your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays your lawyer directly out of the past-due amount when you win your case.
A Texas Social Security appeals attorney can review your case and handle an appeal if the SSA wrongfully denied your application for Social Security Disability Benefits. You should always ask your lawyer how much it costs to appeal a Social Security Disability denial in Texas.
The SSA limits the number of attorney fees for representing SSA claimants to a percentage of the past-due amount or a specified flat fee, whichever amount is less. The amount of the flat fee will depend on when the SSA approved the fee agreement between the client and attorney.
Attorney Fees for Appeals of Social Security Disability Denials
The attorney gets paid through a written fee agreement. The SSA has to approve the fee agreement before the lawyer gets paid. Attorney fees cannot exceed the lower of:
- Twenty-five percent of the past-due benefits, or
- $6,000 pursuant to a fee agreement approved on or after June 22, 2009. Fee agreements with earlier approval dates had lower maximum fee amounts.
In some situations, the attorney can petition the court for a different fee amount.
Appealing Denials of Applications for Social Security Disability Benefits
The vast majority of people have to file at least one appeal to get the Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits they deserve. There are four levels of SSD appeals:
- Reconsideration. The SSA assigns someone to take another look at your application and evidence. The person who performs the reconsideration is someone who works for the SSA but did not participate in the original decision to deny your claim. You can submit new evidence for reconsideration. The person at the SSA who handles the reconsideration of your claim will review all the new and previous material in your application file and issue a decision.
- Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If the SSA rules against you in the reconsideration stage, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ must be someone who was not involved in any earlier aspect of your application for disability benefits. Usually, the hearing takes place within 75 miles of where you live. Sometimes the ALJ holds hearings by video conference instead of in-person.
- Review by the Appeals Council. You can ask the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration to review the decision of the ALJ if you do not agree with how the judge ruled. The Appeals Council can deny your appeal if it agrees with the decision of the ALJ. If the Appeals Council thinks the ALJ made a mistake, the Council can review your file or send your file back to the ALJ.
- Federal Court. You can file a lawsuit in federal court if the Appeals Council refused to review your case or you disagree with the decision of the Appeals Council.
At the end of your appeal, the attorney can submit a request for payment to the SSA, along with the fee agreement. The attorney cannot charge or collect a fee until the SSA gives approval in writing. A Texas Social Security Disability Attorney can help you go after the Social Security Disability benefits for which you are eligible. Contact us today.