Change Coming to Maximum Fees for Social Security Disability Lawyers and Advocates

The Social Security Administration has announced a $1,000 increase to the maximum fee that lawyers and advocates can charge clients who win their disability claims.

By , Attorney

Social Security allows representatives (disability lawyers or nonlawyer disability advocates) to charge clients a fee if they win their disability claim. While Social Security has to approve every fee agreement, the agency's rule is that a representative can charge a fee of 25% of the past-due benefits (back pay) awarded to the client. But that fee is subject to a cap, which is raised every five to ten years, or more. In December 2022, the maximum fee is increasing to $7,200, up from $6,000.

Until this change, for example, if a lawyer helps you win your disability case and Social Security awards you $28,000 in backpay (to make up for the monthly payments it should have been paying you since you became disabled), your lawyer would be able to collect only $6,000, even though 25% of your backpay would have been $7,000.

After November 30, 2022, this cap is increased to $7,000, after consideration of the cost of living, increased disability benefits, and other economic factors. Note this change will only affect disability claimants (applicants) who are awarded more than $24,000 in back pay. Most claimants receive less than $10,000 in past-due benefits and pay a representative's fee of less than $3,500-$4,000.

The last time the fee was changed was 2009, when the fee cap was raised from $5,300 to $6,000. Nothing else about fee agreements will change.

Effective Date: November 30, 2022