Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Right to representation for claiming SSD benefits - Part II

The previous blog post discussed the selection and appointment of a representative for dealing with the Social Security Administration. The SSA describes this as the claimant's right to representation for claiming SSD benefits. The post also discussed how the representation fee is determined as well as the two different methods that claimants and representatives may choose. This post will help readers in Mobile, Alabama to understand how they can make the representative payment approved by the SSA.

The fee that the SSA approves is the maximum amount that a claimant needs to pay the representative. However, the representative may charge for certain out-of-pocket expenses that were necessary for the claim. It is important to remember that in cases where the SSA has approved a fee, it deducts the amount from the claimant's SSD benefits and pays the representative directly. The rest is paid to the claimant.

The claimant has to pay the representative directly when the representative is supposed to receive more than what the SSA withheld from the SSD benefits. The same also applies if the representative is not eligible for payment from the SSA; or if the SSA did not withhold 25 percent from SSD benefits; or if the SSA has already sent the full benefit amount to the claimant despite the representative's timely request.

In certain cases, the SSA approves a representative's fee when someone else, such as an insurance company, pays the representative. However, the SSA needs to approve this mode of payment first. This provision is not applicable to those cases where the representative has informed the SSA that the claimant does not need to pay anything; or the claimant, and auxiliary claimants, are not directly or indirectly liable for paying the representative; or if an organization or agency that uses government funds pays the fees.

An SSD benefits claimant may also have to pay a lawyer for appealing a decision of the SSA in a federal court. In such cases, the court will allow a reasonable fee for the attorney's services but it does not require a formal approval. However, the fee that the attorney charges cannot exceed 25 percent of all past-due SSD benefits that the claimant receives as a result of the court's decision.

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