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Disability help by state

Top disability lawyers near Buffalo, New York

Written by
Sarah Aitchison
January 30, 2024  ·  4 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

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We wish you didn’t need a disability lawyer to win benefits — that the process was easy, the system worked as it should, and you could get approved quickly without any legal help. 

Unfortunately: Getting approved for social security disability is a lot of work. Having a lawyer on your side lightens the load, and boosts your approval odds. At Atticus our win rate is over 90% in New York — 3x the national average. 

We’ll go over what a disability lawyer does, when you do (or don’t) need a disability lawyer, and how to find a great lawyer serving Buffalo. 

Hire a great lawyer that serves Buffalo, NY.
Don't pay unless you win benefits.

What do Buffalo disability lawyers do?

Unfortunately, most disability applicants are denied at first, and will have to appeal the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) decision. Your attorney’s expertise comes in handy every step of the application process. Here’s what you can expect. 

Before applying: Your disability lawyer will gather your medical records, and reach out to your doctors if there are any gaps. They’ll learn more about work history, compare your experience against SSA guidelines, and create a legal strategy that’ll set up your application for success. 

At the application stage: Your disability lawyer will fill out your application for you, and follow up with the SSA to ensure it was received. They’ll also fill out any additional paperwork that could help your case — Medical Source Statements, Work History Reports, Function Reports — or any other form SSA requests. 

Reconsideration: If you’re rejected initially, your lawyer will file for reconsideration. If your medical condition has changed, or you have new test results, they’ll make sure the SSA has the most up-to-date records. 

Hearing: Your social security disability attorney will prepare you for the hearing — helping you predict and prepare answers to questions from the judge. They’ll also cross-examine the vocational expert present at your hearing. 

Vocational experts (VEs) are hired by the state to propose jobs you could reasonably do with your medical limitations. Your lawyer will anticipate which jobs the VE will propose, and argue your condition makes working these jobs impossible. They’ll also be able to draft an additional briefing after the hearing, if necessary.

With Atticus vs Going it Alone

Do I need a disability lawyer in Buffalo? 

The SSA has a list of “compassionate allowance” conditions, which automatically meet the medical criteria for disability benefits.Applicants with terminal conditions (AIDs, Stage IV cancer) can also apply without legal help.

If your condition falls on this list, and you have medical records to prove it, it’s in your best interest to apply without a lawyer. You should notify the SSA office in Buffalo that you’re applying with a compassionate allowance condition; they may be able to fast track your application. 

But compassionate allowance claims are rare, and most people receiving benefits receive them for a condition that’s harder to prove is disabling  — like arthritis, diabetes, or mental health. That’s why 83% of people have legal representation at the hearing stage

For most people, having a lawyer on your side makes sense. You’re three times as likely to win benefits with legal help, and lawyers don’t charge anything unless you win. 

SSDI vs. SSI and disability lawyers

There are two main federal disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you’re applying for SSDI, it benefits you to find a disability lawyer as soon as possible. If you’re applying for SSI, it might be easier to retain a lawyer after you receive your first denial. 

You’re likely to qualify for SSDI if: 

  • You’ll be unable to work for at least a year because of a medical condition

  • You’ve worked in the recent past and paid social security taxes. Generally, you’ll need to have worked 5 out of the last 10 years. More on qualifying for SSDI in New York here.

SSDI gets you access to Medicare after a waiting period, and usually pays a higher amount than SSI.

You’re likely to qualify for SSI if: 

  • You’ll be unable to work for at least a year because of a medical condition

  • You have very little assets and make very little income — generally under $2000 in assets and less than $1,971 in monthly wages. More on qualifying for SSI in New York here. 

SSI gets you access to Medicaid immediately and usually pays less than SSDI. Some people who qualify for SSDI apply for both programs to get health insurance more quickly. 

If you’re applying for SSDI, don’t wait to hire an attorney. They can fill out the application for you and gather your medical records. Their rate is exactly the same if you hire them immediately, or later on (more on lawyer fees below). Hiring a great lawyer early will save you hours on paperwork, and days playing phone tag with the SSA.

If you’re applying for SSI, it may be hard to find a lawyer who will take on your claim before you get a denial. That’s because at this stage, your phone interview with the SSA has a big impact on whether you’re approved or denied. Lawyer’s are generally banned from sitting in on these interviews.

We have lots of resources on our website to help you apply, and prepare you for the SSI phone interview. But if you do get denied — a lawyer can help win your appeal. Usually, you have 60 days to file for reconsideration — and at this point, a lawyer can make a real impact. 

How much does a disability lawyer cost in New York?

Social security disability lawyers don’t charge anything up front. If they win your case, the government pays them 25% of your first benefit check. While some lawyers might charge small fees to process documents or retrieve your medical records — at Atticus, there’s no fine print, and no hidden costs. You won’t pay a cent until you start receiving benefits. And in the rare case that your claim is denied — you won’t pay anything. 

How much are disability benefits in Buffalo? 

The average monthly payment for SSDI is $1,540.57 in New York, and the maximum monthly payment is $3,822 in 2024. The average SSI payment is $608.38 and the maximum SSI payment is $943. Both programs also come with healthcare: SSDI gets you access to Medicare, SSI gets you access to Medicaid. Over the course of their lifetime, the average disability applicant receives over $180,000 in payments.  

How do I find a disability lawyer in Buffalo, NY?

We started Atticus because we know how challenging it is to find great legal help — and how difficult it is to fire your lawyer if you make the wrong choice.

We do all the legwork, and take on all the risk. 

Our team of Stanford-trained lawyers evaluates disability firms around the country. We look at their win rates, their ethical standards, and the client experience they provide, before accepting them into our network. 

You can call us at any time to get free legal advice. We can connect you with an experienced disability lawyer that serves Buffalo. You’ll be under no obligation to hire them — and if you do, you’ll pay nothing until you win benefits. 

Hire a great lawyer. Don't pay unless you win.

Fast facts: Why work with Atticus in Buffalo, NY?


New York residents served since 2018

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On Trustpilot, with  8,500+ reviews


Approval rate in New York


lifetime benefits won for New York residents

Atticus lawyers that serve Buffalo, NY

Christopher Grover of Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys

424 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14202

The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller PLLC

749 Hertel Ave Suite 385 Buffalo, NY 14207

Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP

551 5th Ave. New York, NY 10176

SSA offices near Buffalo, NY


478 Main St Ste 200

Buffalo, NY 14202

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 881-0213

Fax Number: (833) 950-3605


571 East Main St 

Batavia, NY 14020

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 931-7103

Fax Number: (833) 950-2368


200 E Main St 2nd Fl

Rochester, NY 14604

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-2045

Fax Number: (833) 515-0465

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Sarah Aitchison


Sarah is an attorney at Atticus Law, P.C. Prior to joining Atticus, she was a civil public defender in Brooklyn, NY and a business reporter in Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law.
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