Social security payments are designed to help people during retirement, but also to help those who may suffer from disabilities. In some cases, a lawyer can be helpful in securing Social Security payments for you.
The most common reason people choose an attorney to help them with Social Security payments is when they are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, which are two programs that offer payments to people suffering from disabilities.
While it is not required that you hire a lawyer to represent you for these payments, these lawyers can be successful when non-lawyers are not.
How a lawyer can help with Social Security
When you hire one of the Social Security lawyers in Charlotte NC, you are accessing expertise in navigating the sometimes complicated process of obtaining Social Security disability payments. A lawyer can complete the SSDI or SSI application for you, gather the required medical records, and help identify other evidence that will support your claim. They also are qualified to identify mistakes in your application that can prevent delay or rejection. They also can work directly with the Social Security Administration on your behalf and obtain access to your Social Security file.
An experienced lawyer is particularly helpful if your Social Security claim is denied and you want to pursue an appeal. They can identify any witnesses needed and prepare you for an administrative law hearing to consider your appeal. These appeals are much more likely to succeed with a lawyer’s help than without.
How to choose a Social Security lawyer
There are a number of ways to find a Social Security lawyer to handle your case. In some cases, you may have access to lawyers who used to work for the Social Security Administration, which gives them particular insight into the process and how the agency works. You can find a lawyer by contacting:
- The local Social Security office can offer a list of legal referral services and nonprofit groups that help with such cases.
- Bar associations and legal aid groups can help you identify lawyers with experience in the field.
- State and national organizations, such as the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, have referral services.
- Lawyers listed online as experts in disability claims, including online sources like FindLaw and Lawyers.com.
The Social Security Administration requires you to notify the agency in writing after you have chosen a lawyer to represent you in your case. The agency’s SSA-1696 form, which can be downloaded from the Social Security website, must be completed and sent to the local Social Security office. You can also ask your lawyer to submit the form on your behalf electronically.
How much does a lawyer charge to handle Social Security cases?
Most lawyers who handle Social Security disability claims charge a contingency fee, which is an agreement to pay the lawyer only if your claim is approved. The fee typically represents a percentage of the claim awarded. Most fee agreements limit the percentage a lawyer can take from the claim of back pay at 25% or $6,000, whichever is less.
The Social Security Administration pays your lawyer directly if your claim is successful out of the identified “back pay,” or past-due benefits the SSA owes for benefits you were entitled to while awaiting a ruling on your claim. The agency determines if you are medically qualified for back pay. Your lawyer can request more than $6,000 in payment if, under certain circumstances, they can show your case required an unusual amount of work.