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How (and Why) to Work With Atticus on Your Disability Claim

Written by
Sarah Aitchison
May 11, 2023  ·  4 min read
Why trust us?

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 has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

Since 2018, we've helped more than 100,000 people with their disability claims. 

We wish we didn’t have to. It should be easy to get disability benefits if your condition makes it difficult to work.

But the system is confusing, the process is long, and many people get rejected at first. Too many delay applying, or give up when they’re not initially approved.

Atticus helps people cut through red tape to get the medical care and financial support they deserve. Here’s a primer on what we do, how we help, and why you should work with us.

Working with Atticus: What to Expect

We simplify the disability benefits process. Here’s what your relationship with us will look like:

  • Step 1: Complete our quick 2-minute quiz. It’ll tell you which disability program is your best option. It’ll also give our client advocates some basic information about your claim, so that they can be more helpful to you on the phone.

  • Step 2: Speak with a client advocate. After completing our quiz, you’ll be put in touch with a member of our team. They’ll collect a bit more information about your situation and answer any questions you may have about disability benefits.

  • Step 3: Match with the disability lawyer who’s the best fit for your claim. If you want to work with a lawyer (most people do!), we provide a personalized match with a great firm in our network.

  • Step 4: Let your lawyer handle the heavy-lifting. Your lawyer should take the reigns as your case moves forward — helping you apply, gathering your records, and representing you at a hearing (if need be). Atticus will stay available until your claim is won.

  • Step 5: Get the aid you deserve. If you’re approved for benefits, you’ll receive your first check. This also includes any back pay — or, payment for the time you spent waiting to be approved.

Working with us means less time on the phone with the SSA, less guesswork on the disability application, fewer hours spent chasing down medical evidence, and greater odds of success than if you were to go it alone.

We don’t charge you anything for our help (more on how we make money below), and you only pay your lawyer if you win.

Do I really need a disability lawyer?

In most cases, yes. We’re biased, but government studies support our claim: Clients are three times as likely to win benefits with a lawyer’s help, and 83% of people have legal help by the hearing stage.

There are rare cases where a lawyer isn’t necessary. For example, if you have a terminal or very severe condition (something on the compassionate allowance list) — you should meet the medical qualifications for approval automatically. As long as you meet the technical qualifications (work history requirements for SSDI, income and asset requirements for SSI) — you should be approved. Your application may even be “fast tracked.”

This applies to a very small subset of people. For a large majority of deserving applicants, a good lawyer can make a big difference. They fill out the application for you, or help you fill it out the right way. They know what medical records to gather. And they represent you at a hearing, if you get rejected and need to attend one.

Get free legal help (and a lawyer — only if you want one).

How much will a disability lawyer cost?

Disability lawyers don’t charge anything until they win. If they’re successful in getting you benefits, they charge 25% of your first check or $7,200 — whichever is less. These fees are capped by law, and will be taken directly out of your first payment; you shouldn’t see a bill.

Why can’t I just find a lawyer on my own?

You can. But it’s hard for non-lawyers to suss out great attorneys from bad ones.

We have firms in our network that our clients love, that get great outcomes, and that are respected in their field — but don’t have a fancy website, or billboards, or many online reviews.

In contrast, there are lawyers who have an incredible marketing presence — bold claims and expensive advertisements — who we’d never trust to represent us in a crisis.

In short: Our in-house legal counsel evaluates every firm we work with — vetting them for their knowledge of the law, experience, and client service. No one joins our network unless we’d feel excited about recommending them to a family member. Lawyers can’t request to work with us, or pay to work with us.

So when we introduce you to a firm, it’s because we think they’re a great fit — not because they’re the highest bidder.

Additionally, some of our clients tell us they’ve struggled to find a lawyer who will take their case. Lawyers only get paid when they win, so they’re incentivized to take cases where they’re confident they’ll have a high chance of success. If you’re under 50, or have lighter medical records — attorneys may consider you “riskier.” An Atticus recommendation can help.

In short — our services are free to you. We save you time spent on hold with firms, and the headache of trying to figure out which firms’ promises you can trust. We minimize your risk of choosing the wrong attorney, and get you to someone who can help fast.

There’s no downside to working with us — which is why thousands of people trust us every month, and we have more than 6,500 5-star Trustpilot reviews.

The disability benefit process is complicated. We make it easy.

How do you make money?

We take a percentage of the money the lawyers in our network make.

Again, the amount a lawyer can make on any given disability claim is capped by law — 25% of your first check, up to a maximum of $7,200.

This means that lawyers can’t charge you more for having worked with us, and we can continue to offer help for free. When your firm wins your case, they’ll collect that 25% fee — and they’ll pay a percentage of that back to us.

This model keeps us focused on getting our clients the best outcomes: No one, Atticus or our law firms, makes money unless you get benefits.

How are you different from other “firm-finding” websites?

Our status as a law firm makes us uniquely qualified to find you a personalized match. Recommending a firm is considered “legal advice.” Other sites, which aren’t law firms in their own right — can’t give legal advice, and aren’t authorized (or staffed) to give personal recommendations.

They can only share your contact information with a list of firms — namely, the ones who pay them to advertise.

We find these models risky. It’s hard to fire your attorney once you sign someone on, so we think every recommendation should be taken with a lot of care.

How do I get started?

The first step for all of our clients is to take our 2-minute quiz. You’ll get connected with a client advocate instantly (during business hours) — or you’ll get a number to call at your own convenience.

If you want a lawyer, we match most clients with one within 48 hours.

Get started today.

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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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