An experienced lawyer or “non-lawyer representative” can help you file your initial claim or appeal an initial denial. There is no financial benefit to hiring a non-lawyer representative. The regulations of the Social Security Administration specify that the fees of all professional representatives are the same.
Representatives work on a contingency basis and receive retroactive performance fees. They do not receive any fees until your request is approved. Specifically, the fee is limited to 25 percent of the overdue benefits awarded to you, up to a maximum of $ 6,000. They collect their fees from the first payment (s) you receive after your request has been approved.
Representatives may charge you a fee, which can run up to a few hundred dollars. I recommend that before hiring a representative, you find out about the expected out-of-pocket expenses.
About two-thirds of the initial requests are rejected. If your initial request is denied, file a request for reconsideration within 60 days of receiving the denial notice. The review process typically takes around four months. If your request for reconsideration is denied, the next step is a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Some states do not provide the request for reconsideration, in which case you would request the ALJ appeal process after the initial denial. As of June 2017, the expected processing time for this stage of the appeal was over 620 days. There are other additional appeal procedures after the ALJ appeal, which typically takes more than a year.