Since attorneys fees are set (and have to be approved by) Social Security, the bigger question in a Social Security disability case is the amount of the expenses. Since expenses are different in each case, clients often wonder how much they will owe.
What do I have to pay for? Copying? Faxing? Phone calls? Travel expenses? Administrative fees?!?
Personally, I try to keep things simple. I have made it a policy not to nickel and dime my clients for photocopies, faxes, phone calls or the mysterious “administrative charges.” Except for truly unusual circumstances, my clients only pay of the cost of medical records to build their case.
So how much are the records going to cost?
On average, it costs between $100 to $300 to get the relevant medical records in a Social Security disability case. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. My most expensive case was around $600.
The cheapest had no record costs because my client had all of their records already.
Record costs depends on two things:
- The number of doctors we have to contact; and
- How far back we have to go with the records.
The more doctors and the further back we have to go, the more expensive the case will be. Getting the last 5 years of records is more costly than just getting the last 18 months.
Another rule of thumb is hospital records are more expensive than doctor’s records. The simple reason for this is that hospitals generally generate more pages of records. Even though my office limits the medical requests to try to eliminate unnecessary records and minimize the cost to my clients, hospitals still generate more pages than doctors’ offices.
Don’t lawyers pad their bills with “record costs”.
No, not in my experience. You are simply paying the exact cost the lawyer paid (with no markup). So, what you pay to the lawyer goes straight out the door to pay the doctor (or the doctor’s copying service). You are just reimbursing the law office for money they advanced on your case.
However, to make sure you are only paying what the law office spent, you should always receive a copy of the invoice from the doctor or medical copier.
If you are really worried about getting fleeced by a lawyer, see my article about lawyer’s secret gold mine.
CC Photo by Franck BLAIS