When to Call a Social Security Disability Lawyer

When to Call a Social Security Disability Lawyer

You are disabled and cannot work, and have either filed a Social Security disability claim , or are thinking about it. When should you call in reinforcements? A legal representative can help you at any stage of the process, but it is important to understand the costs and benefits of hiring one.

How much will it cost me?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued guidelines for how legal representatives should be paid. Most reputable firms adhere to these guidelines through the administrative hearing level of appeal (the fee structure changes if appeal to Federal District Court becomes necessary).

If you are successful, you will receive a back-award of benefits for the period you have been waiting. Your representative’s fee will be 25% of this back-award or $6,000, whichever amount is less. Most representatives will front the costs of your claim (primarily the cost of obtaining copies of your medical records), and will ask you to reimburse those out-of-pocket costs when you receive your back-award. You usually do not have to come up with any money before or during representation – everything is settled at the end when you get your back-award of benefits. If you do not receive a back-award, no fee is owed, but you may still be responsible for reimbursing costs.

So when is the best time to call a Social Security Disability Representative?

The earlier the better. If you have not yet filed a claim and are contemplating the idea, you may want to call a disability lawyer to determine if you may be eligible, and what to expect from the process. Most representatives are more than happy to provide information over the telephone, without charge.

Depending on your particular circumstances, a representative can help file the initial application, or direct you to the SSA office where the application can be filed. In our office we help clients file applications, unless there is an issue that needs to be handled directly by the SSA office. That in-person appointment usually takes 1-2 hours.

Many people who apply for social security disability wait until after their claim has been denied to hire an attorney. About 1/3 of the claims are approved by SSA at the Initial level, without the assistance of a representative. In those cases, not having a representative will save you the cost of a fee.

If you have applied for disability and your claim has been denied, do not despair. Keep in mind that 2/3 of the claims are denied by SSA at the initial level of review. At this point, legal representation is recommended. Not only does legal counsel help with the success of your case it can keep things moving in the right direction to get you the disability benefits you need and deserve. In cases involving a terminal illness or extreme financial issues such as foreclosure, a lawyer can request an “on the record” decision, which is an approval based entirely on the medical record, without the need for a disability hearing.

For more information on social security disability claims please contact the team at Maddox and Laffoon. We are here to listen and help.


  1. I’m glad I read this so that I knew not to wait until after being denied social security disability claim to call an attorney. The percentage of claims approved with out a social security disability lawyer isn’t very high. My grandma is about to start filing this type of claim and she was just going to have me and my dad help her but it looks like we need a professional. How much is the fee if you have to file for a second time?

  2. I like what you had to say about social security disability and when to call a representative. I agree with what you had to say because I think earlier is better than never. If you don’t qualify you could find out what you can do to change that.

  3. Thanks for the information. My parents are on social security, but have been disabled for a few years before they started collecting. They were not awarded any kind of disability for whatever reason. I had no idea there were lawyers equipped to handle this kind of issue. It is also good to hear it will not cost any more than 6,000 dollars for them to get back pay awarded to them. I will have to start looking around for a good lawyer.

  4. I didn’t know that you didn’t have to worry about costs until the end. It might be a smart idea to talk about how the payment process works so that you know what is going to be expected to pay and have everything organized. I think it would be nice to have this kind of help because the last thing you need to worry about is money when you are working on a case.

  5. I agree– it is better to make the call to the lawyer as soon as possible. If you wait for too long, it may appear that your information is falsified. Even if you can’t afford the services to start out with, I would recommend to still set up a consultation. Thanks for the great advice.

  6. I think it is a good idea to call a lawyer to determine if you would be eligible before actually filing the claim like you suggest. That is crazy that 2/3 claims are denied. That is a pretty high percentage. That alone is incentive for me to hire an attorney, because they are probably the best chance at getting a claim.

  7. Your advice about calling a social security disability representative will be very helpful. My mother has been telling me that she needs to be on disability, but she doesn’t know if it would cost her anything to find out. Being able to call a lawyer to find out if she’s eligible for free will help her know her chances for getting the disability benefits that she needs. Now seems like a good time to call lawyers for her. Thanks for the tips!

  8. It makes sense that you would want to get a social security disability lawyer. They can make sure that you get what you need, no matter the circumstance. Social security is pretty confusing, so it’s good to have a professional who knows what they are doing.

  9. Thanks for mentioning that it’s best to file a claim as soon as possible for social security benefits. I’ve heard that the amount of people accepted for social security is actually really low, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself in need of an attorney. My son brother is trying to get S.S. benefits for his disabled son. He just sent in the application, so we’ll see if he gets accepted or not. If not, he’ll probably have to hire an attorney that can help him.

  10. I appreciate the information you have here about hiring a social security lawyer. It’s nice to know that most lawyers won’t ask for payment until after you have received benefits. I didn’t realize that was true, but it would definitely take some stress of the person.

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