“Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney, I’m an attorney and I practice at Hoglund Law offices. I do Social Security Disability law for a living. Today I wanted to talk about Fee Petitions.
Most people that need an attorney when they apply for social security benefits, that’s one of the first questions that come up; How do I pay for the attorney? The traditional way that most attorneys in my field get paid is a quarter of back pay, only if you’re approved. So let’s say that you argue that you’re disabled, you get an attorney, you meet with a federal judge, and your approved, and you get a year of back pay, the attorney would automatically get a quarter of back pay to what’s called a contingency fee agreement. That contingency fee agreement has to be approved by the judge and there can be no payments unless the judge approves it on that line.
Now, there are times when someone changes the attorney they want or perhaps they have a non-attorney and they wanna hire an attorney when they decide what kind of background they want for the person representing them. If someone has a contingency fee agreement and you sign up with them and you change your mind which is absolutely within your right, and the new attorney comes on there cannot be two contingency fee agreements. That is usually the situation that fee petitions usually arise from. That’s usually when you see if neither attorneys were to withdraw their request for the 25% they are thrown out and you’ll see what’s called a fee petition.
A fee petition is where you can see an attorney for the fabled decision, or non-attorney, arguing that they put a certain number of hours in your case and they want payment, and it goes through the judge that handled your case and its approved that way. So, technically a fee petition is more like the attorney fees that attorneys are paid, but it’s just only if you’re approved.
So, here’s what you can look for: If you look at the attorney fee agreement, you can look to see if there is language that says if the attorney doesn’t get paid enough I want to petition for fees. If that’s written in there, you can ask to have that crossed out. The reason is this: If your back pay end up being zero, you don’t want to owe any fees, even if you win. So the idea of fee petitions is a backup option generally for the 25% agreement set most attorneys and non-attorneys work off of.
So keep in mind that when you are contracting with someone find out exactly what kind of help that they are going to offer you, and if they’re a law firm, and how they charge fees, and make sure that they are trustworthy and get other opinions about their ability before you sign the bottom line, and hopefully that way you’ll have to switch representatives and you will be happy in getting good help, and perhaps getting a contingency fee agreement, and you’re done.
If you have any further questions about attorney fees, or specifically fee petitions call Hoglund Law office at 1-800-850-7867. Or you can go to our website that’s displayed below, thank you. (www.HoglundLaw.com)”