“Gammon's medical bills drained her savings account, and she couldn't have afforded an attorney if it wasn't for Social Security lawyers' unique pay structure, in which attorneys get paid only if they win the case … Recognizing that many Social Security disability claimants are in poor financial health, the federal government devised a payment scheme whereby lawyers receive a portion of their client's judgment if they win and nothing if they don’t. … Considering that just 22% of workers receive disability benefits on the first try, the attorneys who help these workers often don't see payment for years, if ever. 'Lawyers who want to maximize their earning capacity don’t do Social Security law,' [says] Charles Martin, Atlanta-based disability attorney."
Editor's note: R
ecently the Supreme Court weighed in to permit a somewhat higher fee when cases go all the way up to federal court – and back – before they’re approved, representing years of work.