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Atticus Client Success Story: How Kevin A. Won Benefits

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
February 2, 2024  ·  1 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 has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

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Kevin A. worked as a supervisor at a freight company for many years before he worked at a wine store in Los Angeles, where he hobnobbed with movie stars. “It was really nice,” says Kevin with a grin. In addition to mingling with celebrities, the job required extensive knowledge of wine varietals and the physical ability to operate a cash register and move cases of wine.

But his job at the Los Angeles wine shop came to a halt after an accident in the warehouse. Kevin slipped and fell, and a cabinet landed on his left arm. “It was excruciating pain,” he recalls. “It had gotten so bad that I couldn’t even move my hand."

Kevin was determined to keep working, but after he experienced severe paralysis in his hand and dropped a $900 bottle of wine, he knew he needed to stop. “I tried very hard to cover it, but unfortunately, I had to leave the company. I’ve been working since I was 15 — I’m not a person who just likes to sit around and do nothing. It’s really sad.”

Match with a trusted disability lawyer in California

Like many others, Kevin found the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits to be challenging. “I was really disenchanted. They were horrible,” he says of the Social Security Administration.

He found Atticus in the Yellow Pages, and soon, his path to winning benefits was back on track. “I saw Atticus, and I said, I’m taking a shot with them. It was the best shot I ever took.”

A client specialist at Atticus matched Kevin with Joshua Potter, an experienced disability attorney at  Potter, Cohen, Samulon & Padilla in Pasadena, Calif. 

“Atticus forwarded me to an outstanding lawyer,” says Kevin. Potter explained the disability application process to him in layperson’s terms and kept him informed every step of the way. “He had great personal skills…“I was very lucky to have him.”

An Atticus review from a client, Kevin A., who successfully won disability benefits.

The key to winning the case was driving home Kevin’s inability to continue his line of work on his application. “We emphasized the problems with his nerve damage and his use of his hands, and that's what we use to push the case through,” says Potter. 

For the activities questionnaire, Potter steered Kevin to write concrete answers to score points against Social Security. “So what did we do? We gave him the tools to be more objective.”

Within just five months, Kevin won benefits and achieved financial freedom. “I paid off all my bills. I’m debt-free — it’s wonderful.”


Learn more about the application process

Atticus has an extensive resources page with information on the disability application process, from breakdowns of the disability programs and application tips. Read about the differences between SSDI and SSI, qualifying medical conditions, and more.

FAQs about disability in California

How do I qualify for disability in California?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in California?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in California?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in California. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in California?

The average SSDI payment in California is $1,395.93 per month. The average SSI payment is $765.06 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in California?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does California have a state disability program?

Yes, California is one of the five states with its own state disability program. Residents can apply for California Disability Insurance, which offers payments for up to 52 weeks (one year). Work injuries aren’t covered, though. If your injury will keep you out of work longer, you can still apply for SSDI and SSI. Read more about the difference between SSDI and SSI here.

Related resources:

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in California

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits in California

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

See what you qualify for

How long has your condition made it hard to work?

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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