For people who need help with their Social Security claim, the prospect of being able to afford professional legal help seems unlikely. After all, if your medical condition is severe enough that you are unable to work at your job, you are probably not going to be in the best of financial situations. The good news is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has formed some guidelines to assist you in getting the legal help you need by allowing attorneys to collect a contingency fee upon your successful claim approval. You may have seen similar agreements used for personal injury cases. Read on to learn more about this valuable perk.

Contingency Fee Agreements

The way this type of agreement works means that the attorney only gets paid if the case is successful. Just as with personal injury cases, the fee is based on a percentage of winnings in a successful case. For Social Security cases, the fees are based on a percentage (or a flat fee) of back pay you may be owed. Any fee agreements that you and your attorney decided upon must be filed with the SSA and approved in advance.

Limits on the amounts available to the attorney

Unlike personal injury contingency fee agreements, the SSA places strict limits on the amounts attorneys can earn. Since back pay is normally awarded in a lump sum, the attorney's fee is capped at $6,000, or not more than 25%, of that the back pay. For instance, if you win your case and your back pay is $10,000, your attorney would receive $2,500. You and your attorney could agree on a lesser percentage or amount, but the SSA will not approve agreements that exceed those guidelines.

Miscellaneous fees charged by the attorney

You should understand ahead of time that the contingency fee agreement is only meant to cover the time and expertise of the attorney, and that there may be some additional miscellaneous fees that you will either need to pay ahead of time, pay at the time they are incurred or pay later. The fees will be spelled out in the agreement and normally includes miscellaneous items like postage, copying fees, etc. You should also know that even if your appeal is claim is unsuccessful, you must still pay these fees. These fees are usually minor, and, since attorneys charge a great deal for their time, using this method for dealing with a Social Security appeal hearing is still a valuable option.

Talk to a firm like Erickson Social Security Law today to find out more about how to get your fees paid using your back pay.