How Much Does a Social Security Disability Lawyer Cost?

Enlisting the help of a lawyer can help speed up your disability claim. But some people put off hiring an attorney, thinking they must pay them a significant amount.

If you’re on the fence about hiring a disability lawyer or advocate due to monetary concerns, you need not worry. Unlike other types of lawyers, disability attorneys are paid contingently. This means you can avail of their services without paying them upfront.

So, how much does a Social Security disability lawyer cost?

Disability lawyers only get paid when your disability claim is approved. Your disability attorney can collect anywhere from zero to any amount you agree on. But it must not exceed 25% of your back pay or $7,200, whichever is lower. It must also be stipulated in the contingency fee agreement.


When you hire a disability lawyer, you will typically be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement. It allows the SSA to pay your attorney when you’re approved for disability. The payment will be taken from the Social Security disability benefits you will receive.

This agreement ensures a win-win situation for both sides. You won’t be obliged to pay your lawyer if you don’t get your benefits, and your disability attorney is assured that they will be duly compensated for their efforts in winning your case.

The SSA will review the agreement to ensure the terms align with their policies.


As mentioned, attorney fees are limited to 25% of your back pay. But the amount must not be more than $7,200. This applies to both SSDI and SSI claims.

Note that the payment will be based on your back pay, not your monthly benefit amount. Your lawyer will receive nothing if you’re not entitled to pay back. However, the lawyer can file a petition with the SSA requesting a higher fee in cases like this. Besides, disability claims almost always include back payment.

For SSDI, your retroactive benefits are calculated from the onset of your disability to the date your claim was approved. If you’re applying for SSI benefits, the back pay is computed from when you applied for benefits to the date of your claim’s approval. Back pay is usually included in your first benefits check.

Imagine you’ve been approved for Social Security disability benefits, and your back pay is $20,000. Your first monthly benefit payment is $2,500. In this scenario, based on the current fee structure, your attorney’s fee would be capped at $7,200 or 25% of the back pay, whichever is less.

If we calculate 25% of your $20,000 back pay, it amounts to $5,000. Since $5,000 is less than the cap of $7,200, your attorney’s fee would be $5,000.

When your first monthly benefit payment of $2,500 arrives, the Social Security Administration will deduct your attorney’s fee of $5,000 from your back pay. As a result, you would receive a check worth $15,000 ($20,000 – $5,000) along with the initial benefit payment.

This process ensures that the SSA handles your attorney’s fees directly, making it convenient for you as the recipient of benefits.

Most disability lawyers get less than the maximum amount of $7,200. That’s because, in most cases, exceptionally compassionate allowance claims usually take no more than a few months to get approved.


Though the SSA caps lawyer fees at $7,200, certain instances allow attorneys to charge more than that.

One is when you fired your attorney and hired a second attorney. If your first disability lawyer did not waive their fee, your new attorney must petition the SSA. The SSA will divide the cost between them. However, if both did significant work on your case, the SSA may approve more.

If your claim is denied at the disability hearing, your attorney may take it to the Appeals Council or before an administrative law judge. In such instances, they can also petition for a higher fee.

If your claim is denied at the disability hearing, your attorney may take it to the Appeals Council or before an administrative law judge. In such instances, they can also petition for a higher fee.


Aside from the agreed-upon attorney fees, your total attorney cost may include out-of-pocket costs. These refer to expenses necessary for processing your claim. They include payment for obtaining your medical, school, or work records, photocopies, and postage. These aren’t cheap, but they rarely exceed $200.

Some lawyers will charge for out-of-pocket costs in advance. Yes, they are allowed to do that as long as any remaining amount will be returned to you at the end of the case.

Others, however, will pay these costs for you. Once the case is over, they will bill you for it regardless of the outcome.

Make sure to clarify out-of-pocket costs before hiring a disability lawyer or advocate.

VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney

Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.

Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.

About The Author

Meet writer , a graduate of Saint Louis University with a passion for writing about legal topics. Explore insightful articles tailored to solve your most pressing issues. Rei’s expertly crafted content is thoroughly researched and fact checked.