“Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m an attorney at Hoglund Law offices and I practice Social Security Disability law.
What I’m going to talk about now is attorney fees, something that can be scary for some people. What people expect when they hire an attorney is that they would have to pay attorney money up front and then also expect to pay by the hour, and that’s understandable because that is how a lot of attorneys work.
Social Security Disability law is different. One of the things we can do is charge a quarter of back pay only if you’re approved, and then send it to us. So the essential idea for you is, at least with us, there is no money up front if someone would hire us to help with a Social Security Disability application.
There are some attorneys that also charge out of pocket expenses. If someone has an out of pocket expense they may be doing that to offset the cost that medical records and things that from state to state can cause some upfront costs. We do not charge that. So if you are investigating an attorney whoever you are, you could ask upfront are there any costs other than attorney fees and when do I need to pay them?
One of the elements of attorney fees is that there are some non-attorney firms that do this work. If a non-attorney firm does this work then one of the most important things you could find out is their experience. It’s also important to be clear if they’re licensed to practice law in that state. But if they’re a non-attorney they too can get a quarter of back pay if you’re approved. It’s very important though to know that if you think about it if someone is going to turn a quarter of back pay, who do you want helping you? And that choice as to who you trust to help you prove the disability claim which could result in perhaps many years of benefits. It’s important to get someone good.
One good way of finding out someone that’s good is to talk to an attorney that you may know in the field and get some people that have experience with an attorney. So as far as attorney fees go I wanted to mention one more thing. Attorneys are not allowed under current Social Security regulations from charging any outside fees; they cannot charge you hours beyond the allowable amount. In other words you won’t pay a quarter for attorney fees and then find out you have some other bill.
There are rare situations where if someone has an attorney and the attorney charges hours. You need to be upfront with an attorney and say I only want, or at least this is what I would recommend, to pay a quarter of back pay and nothing else. There are some law firms that hold the right to also petition for fees if they don’t get any back pay and you can in a hole depending on your situation. If you’re reviewing a contingency fee agreement that allows a quarter of back pay to be paid, be very careful in looking at it because that’s a legal document. If there’s anything about being able to charge per hour that’s built in if there are not enough fees to satisfactory to the attorney, you may wish to question that and wish for that to be crossed out.
Hopefully this information helps. If you have more questions about attorney fees please feel free to call our offices if you wish at 1-800-850-7867. You can also look at our website that’s below. Hopefully that has some useful information for you. Thank you.”