Originally Posted by MSJayhawk
I believe the amount is fixed at a $4000 flat fee for the attorney which is deducted from the initial lump sum payment.
Yes that is correct. It took me 2 1/2 years to get SSDI and a judge to order it. That is the max a lawyer can charge you. Its a percentage of your settlement up to that max amount. I hired a leading law firm and they handled the appeals process for me. My disablility insurance company actually paid for the lawfirm and I did not have to. It was to their advantage for me to hire a good law firm since my SSDI payments were deducted from insurance payments. They win 93% of their cases.
The ironic part of applying for SSDI was the fact that all of the Dr.'s I saw were supporting me for SSDI including the ones SS sent me to. The court had an additional two Dr.'s review all of my medical records and they also agreed that I quailified for SSDI. As soon as the second Dr. said that the judge slammed his folder shut and said he was ruling in my favor. He latter issued his written findings and accused SS of not following the guidelines as my hearing before him was not neccessary because if they had followed the guidelines they should have approved me. It took another 6 months for them to process the paper work. So three years latter I actually got a check and back wages which caused me some sleepness nights worrying about the tax consequences of the large payment. I had to return most of it to the disability insurance company and you can deduct that from your tax return. I was scared the judge would say no by just looking at me. I appear to be completely normal when you see me.
In my case they just kept denying me and I feel they were hoping I would just go away and not finish the appeal process. They were wrong!
Another interesting question I had was would I have to go through this process again latter with SS suddenly denying me again say 2 years after the award? The law firm said no, I would not have to go through it againl. It been three years now and SS has left me alone. They have questioned my income though, but thats a different story.
My advice is to hire a good disability lawyer.