If an individual is unable to work because of a disability such as a debilitating injury or illness, it may be worth hiring an attorney if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a disability claim. However, many applicants may worry about whether they can afford to hire a disability lawyer.

Unfortunately, most people who apply for disability benefits see their claims denied even after spending years paying into Social Security. While it’s possible to appeal and seek approval at a later time following the initial denial, the process can take a long time as applicants wait for a response. In these cases, hiring a reputable disability attorney can help increase the possibility of approval without costing the applicant too much in the long run.

Paying Contingency Fees

Generally, people don’t need to worry about being unable to cover the costs of a Social Security disability lawyer because these attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, clients are only required to pay once they have received disability benefits. If the claim is still denied even with an attorney involved, the client won’t need to pay the attorney.

Disability attorneys also never charge upfront fees upon hiring them. Instead, clients sign contingency fee agreements that disclose the specific terms of payment. The SSA then reviews and either approves or denies the agreement before the attorney can move forward, but it’s still important to understand the exact terms of the agreement prior to signing. An attorney should be able to answer any questions that a client has if he or she is unclear about the terms discussed.

The Amount of Back Pay Owed

Once an individual receives approval for Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the SSA will determine the amount of back pay owed to the recipient.

The total back pay for SSDI accounts for when the individual originally applied for benefits, and is paid in a lump sum. Subsequently, many applicants are also eligible to receive retroactive payments based on when the SSA determined that they were disabled.

On the other hand, SSI back pay is based on the period starting from the month after application up through to the date of approval. However, SSI isn’t paid in a lump sum.

Other Costs

In some cases, attorneys may charge other fees while representing a client, and they may require upfront payments, but these should be made transparent in a fee agreement. These costs could include medical reports and other paperwork pertaining to the case.

Ultimately, hiring a disability attorney is affordable and worth doing if an individual wishes to minimize the stress of applying for disability benefits and maximize the chance of approval.