June 12, 2009, Newsletter Issue #6: Reconsidering Hiring An Attorney If You Decide To Appeal

Tip of the Week

If you haven't looked into hiring a lawyer before this point, you may now wish to consider seeking out the services of a legal firm. Many attorneys work on Disability claims on a contingency* basis. When and if you win your request for SSD, you will have to pay them a percentage of the “back-pay”** that you are awarded, for the work that they did for you. If you used an attorney’s services and win your case, Social Security usually routes the award check directly to the attorney. They then will call you to come in to their office, ask you to sign the check over to the firm, they will take out their fees, then cut a new check for you for the remainder of your award.***
If they give the check to you to cash, they will direct you how much you owe them once you have cashed it, and you have very little time to pay them. Most attorneys will not take a chance of being “stiffed” though and opt for the prior. I personally suggest double-checking all amounts that you are charged before paying your bill, right down to the last telephone call charge. Yes, they charge you for every phone call, usually in 15 minute increments. This will be explained further on another tip…

 * Contingency basis: A Law firm waits until after you win your case or after they win it for you, and are issued an award payment from Social Security to accept payment for their services.
 ** Back-pay: Monies that you will be issued starting from the date that you first applied for Social Security Benefits, until the date that you win your case.
*** Award: The amount of money that Social Security has figured by a percentage of the income you earned during the previous 10 years (or so) that you are owed. The benefit amount that you will be paid each year comes to you in the form of what is called “an award letter”.

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