How To Win Your Disability Claim!
(Lesson 7 - Social Security Representative's Fees -
 When And If You Need One)

Three-minute interview with a Social Security
Judge reveals the value of a good rep

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     In this mini-course series, we will discuss Social Security representatives.  First of all, there are two types of representatives: attorney and non-attorney.    

     Seriously, an experienced and capable Social Security representative can be of great benefit to you in some cases. In other situations, I will readily admit that you really do not need a representative.

     You are permitted to hire a Social Security representative to work with you at any stage in the process. The Social Security Administration strictly governs what lawyers may charge you, and any fee you pay must be approved by the Social Security Administration.

     First, let's discuss an obvious question - how are you supposed to pay for a representative if you are claiming a disability and the inability to work?

   Stated simply,
most Social Security disability representatives work on a "no fee unless you win" contingency fee basis.

     The two most common fee arrangements are as follows:

A. Fee Agreement - a fee agreement is a contingency contract (you do not pay if you do not win the contract) whereby you agree to pay your lawyer 25% of any past-due benefits recovered up to $6,000.

B. Fee Petition - a fee petition is an hourly based contract in which your lawyer keeps his/her time expended on a case and submits a detailed billing statement to Social Security. You are given the opportunity to agree, disagree, or comment on the billing statement. Often, a fee petition is NOT a contingency-based fee, meaning that you could owe a fee whether or not you win.

In either a fee agreement or fee petition case, the Social Security Administration will withhold 25% of your past-due benefits, if any, for your representative and send these funds directly to them. If the approved fee is more than 25%, you must pay your lawyer directly.

Most Social Security disability representatives are honest and ethical and earn their fees. When you hire a representative, you are receiving the benefit of your representative’s time and his expertise in deciding how to develop your case.

At the first two levels of appeal in a Social Security case, the Initial Application and the Reconsideration Appeal, Mr. Ginsberg is NOT convinced that you necessarily need a representative.  

Speaking as a lawyer, he says that many people are capable of preparing their case properly so that it will have the same chance of winning when introduced to a Social Security disability adjudicator.

One of the main reasons Mr. Ginsberg wrote The Disability Answer Guide was to help disability claimants understand what is necessary to win a disability case at an early stage of the process without a lawyer. Although I believe this book has useful information even after the hearing is requested, it is really meant for disability claimants who are trying to understand how to complete agency forms at the initial and reconsideration stages of their cases.

Now, should you be denied, feel too sick. not confident that it is best to go it on your own, or appear for a hearing, Mr. Ginsberg has a very different opinion about the need for a representative’s help. 

He would not be comfortable having you appear before an Administrative Law Judge without a representative, especially since it’s your responsibility to update your medical records before the hearing.

An experienced lawyer who has represented other claimants with medical or psychological problems similar to yours can be a great help. He/she can create a strategy to win your case and knows the  evidence that will be needed at your hearing.

Further, if your representative knows the particular judge, vocational witness, and/or medical expert who will be involved in your hearing, he can better prepare for the actual hearing.

As a claimant, your job is to identify each and every health care provider who has seen you. You are required to identify and describe each and every job you have worked. And, you will need to identify all medications you have taken and indicate potential problems, such as past drug abuse or an unfriendly medical provider, that could arise at any time.

The Disability Answer Guide will help you become a more prepared claimant. The Guide will help you get an early start on developing a solid and favorable record. It will help you focus on the issues important to Social Security.  It will also eliminate any surprises that could arise late in the claims process.

The purpose of The Disability Answer Guide is NOT to serve as a substitute for a representative but to guide you in developing a workable theory of your case and to reduce your stress in answering page after page of confusing forms.

If you are just getting started or if you are at an early stage of your claim, I encourage you to consider The Disability Answer Guide to help you navigate through the large volumes of confusing forms that you will experience.

If you are at the hearing stage wishing to understand the process better and what your representative ought to be doing, you may also find this book helpful.

More importantly, unless you are 100% satisfied with your current representative, you can release you current representative and interview additional potential candidates. Simply complete the form below and we will help you look for a better one.

Interviewing with a good representative will help you understand if you even have a case, because good reps will not accept a case unless they believe they have an 80 % ++ chance of winning it! 

  However you decide to proceed and whatever road life takes you, I do want to wish you the best in your pursuit of disability benefits from Social Security, and truly hope this information can be used so you will maximize your chances.


Brian Therrien

p.s.  Learn how readers of this course are getting approved 50% faster Click Here

p.p.s.  To Learn If an Attorney can Help You Win Your Claim, Click Here

p.p.p.s. All Lessons and Audios Click Here