Legal Toolkit Michigan Social Security

What to Expect About Social Security


Every person has a right to be represented by an attorney or other representative while pursuing a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits.


A Claimant may appoint a qualified individual to represent him or her in doing business with Social Security.  The appointment must be in writing and must be filed with SSA.  The representative generally cannot charge or collect a fee without written approval from the Social Security Administration, even if the claim is denied.


To obtain approval the representative must use one of the Social Security's fee authorization processes:  Fee Agreeement Process and Fee Petition Process.

A Fee Agreement is a written statement signed by the claimant and his or her appointed representative.  The representative works on "contingency", meaning that, in exchange for the work they do to help you secure a favorable resolution of your disability claim, they will receive a percentage of your past due benefits.  Social Security sets the fee at a maximum of 25% or $6,000.00, whichever is the lessor.

A Fee Petition is a written statement signed by a representative stating the amount he/she wants to charge and collect for services provided in pursuing the claimant's benefit rights in proceedings before the Social Security Administration (SSA)


Attorneys also charge for expenses incurred on behalf of clients.  These expenses typically include copying charges, long-distance phone charges, postage, faxes, court filing fees, expert witness fees, medical report fees, and other expenses associated with handling your case.