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 increased to $7,200, up from $6,000.
Before this change, for example, if a lawyer helped you win your disability case and Social Security awarded you $28,000 in backpay (to make up for the monthly payments you should have received 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.
This cap has been increased to $7,200, after consideration of the cost of living, increased disability benefits, and other economic factors. Note this change only affects 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 in 2009, when the fee cap was raised from $5,300 to $6,000.
Effective Date: November 30, 2022