Applying for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits may seem easy when it appears you have a clear-cut situation that prevents you from working. But the application process is time-consuming, often involving twists and turns that can delay approval or result in a rejected application to prevent fraud.
Hiring an experienced disability lawyer can help speed up the process and provide you with in-person representation. That’s where Atticus comes in.
Atticus can help you find a credible lawyer that’s the best fit for your situation. Their service is free, and you only pay legal expenses if the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your case.
Disability payments are critical to you affording your monthly bills when you no longer earn a paycheck, and approval delays can cause undue harm to your finances.
In this Atticus review, I’ll go over the intake process and show how this service can help you qualify for disability sooner.
Table of Contents
- What Is Atticus?
- How Does Atticus Compare to a Disability Lawyer?
- Who Should Use Atticus?
- How Atticus Works
- 1. Answer Qualification Questions
- 2. Schedule a Free Consultation
- 3. Hire A Lawyer
- 4. Apply for Disability
- 5. Get Approved
- How Much Does Atticus Cost?
- Atticus Benefits
- Atticus’s Pros and Cons
- Is Atticus Legit?
- Final Thoughts on Atticus
What Is Atticus?
Atticus is a certified B corporation, public interest law firm that helps clients receive compensation when they cannot work. In particular, they can help eligible persons receive federal disability benefits.
They offer help for the following situations:
- Disability benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Accidents and injuries
The lawyer-finding website provides a free initial consultation to determine if they will be able to act as your patient navigator throughout the disability application process. If so, they will connect you with a legal representative or disability attorney that fits your location and situation well.
While you can always find your own lawyer, you may appreciate working with Atticus as they use an extensive vetting process to partner with over 100 law firms nationwide with good reputations and extensive experience.
After the initial consult, there is no obligation to continue using Atticus or their lawyer partners.
You only pay for this service if you are approved for federal disability. If successful, Atticus will receive a referral fee from your hired attorney. You won’t pay the lawyer or Atticus if your application gets denied.
How Does Atticus Compare to a Disability Lawyer?
Since I’ve never, thankfully, been involved in a situation where I’d sought out compensation as the result of a disability, it was difficult for me to assess what Atticus offered over the competition. I do, however, know a few lawyers who might be able to provide some insight.
One of them is Matthew Lidinsky of The Law Office of Frank G. Lidinsky. Their core practice is in wills and estate planning (not disability claims) but like many attorneys, they tend to become the trusted advisor to their clients and some of them run into situations where they might need help trying to receive benefits.
He went through the onboarding flow of Atticus and said it was similar to the types of questions he or his associates would ask. The advantage of Atticus is that you can do this online rather than scheduling a meeting or phone call with a lawyer. Those calls tend to be no fee consultations too but coordinating can sometimes be a hassle.
As for the value proposition, he thought it was a good one but it’s not unlike what most disability benefits attorneys do – the difference is that Atticus lets you do it completely online and the flow seems quite elegantly designed. I think there’s good value there, especially if you just want to know quickly what your options are.
Who Should Use Atticus?
You may want to consider Atticus if you want professional help with applying for disability insurance and don’t already have a lawyer you’re working with. Less than half of initial applications get approved by Social Security, and getting expert advice increases the likelihood of getting approved as it helps to avoid common application errors.
The ideal client can no longer work due to a serious medical condition but has worked for at least five of the past ten years. These cases are more likely to get approved, and you also stand more to gain from hands-on legal assistance.
It only takes a few minutes to go through their qualification quiz and, if they determine you could qualify, you can schedule a free initial consultation immediately. There’s nothing to lose except for a small investment in time.
You must also be comfortable handing over some of your first disability payment to cover fees if you’re approved. According to Atticus, the fees are similar to hiring a lawyer on your own.
How Atticus Works
Here is a step-by-step look at how Atticus walks you through the disability application process.
1. Answer Qualification Questions
Atticus will first ask you to answer a handful of screener questions to determine if you’re eligible for disability and if Atticus can potentially assist.
Some of the questions include:
- How many months ago did your situation begin?
- Are you currently working?
- Do you currently have a lawyer?
- Have you ever applied for SSDI before?
- Have you received SSDI benefits before?
This initial questionnaire is fully automated and takes less than two minutes to complete.
Depending on your responses, you can be invited to schedule an initial consultation to review your situation with an Atticus client advocate. You will provide your name, email, and phone number but won’t disclose any sensitive details (i.e., medical conditions) yet.
Also, Atticus will never sell or rent your information. They will only share the necessary details as requested as your case progresses.
2. Schedule a Free Consultation
After providing your contact information, an Atticus client advocate will contact you to learn more about your case. It’s important to remember that you are not an official client yet and won’t be until you sign a legal agreement.
Some of the items to discuss include:
- Your location
- Case stage
- Medical condition
- Specific needs or circumstances
It can take up to two days for Atticus to assess your circumstances and identify a partner legal firm that best matches your case.
Not every situation requires hands-on help, and many people can navigate the process alone. If so, Atticus may recommend this option so you can keep your entire first benefit payment once you’re approved.
3. Hire A Lawyer
If you proceed with Atticus, they will pass your case details to a recommended legal firm.
There are more than 100 partner firms across the United States that have gone through a strict vetting process before Atticus agrees to a partnership. For additional transparency, the attorneys and legal representatives don’t pay to join their network to prevent a shady, fly-by-night operation that might be inexperienced or fraudulent.
You will work with the lawyer to discuss the next steps to complete an application. If you agree, all parties sign a legal agreement covering several topics that include your protections and the scope of the relationship to know how Atticus and your lawyer will help you.
Atticus remains involved during this time and will periodically check in to provide case updates and ensure you are happy with the situation. They may also assume joint legal responsibility and can also represent you in addition to your hired lawyer.
If necessary, you can switch legal providers if the original option ends up not being the best solution. Several customer reviews indicate this, as sometimes you don’t know how things will turn out until after you start.
4. Apply for Disability
You will receive free advice personalized for your situation to help you complete the application.
The questions on the application can be easy to answer incorrectly, and many are disqualified prematurely. Your lawyer can also represent you throughout the application process, which can take over a year to finalize.
Atticus encourages you to speak with your lawyer to receive an expert opinion as you receive updates from the Social Security Administration about your case progress. Your lawyer can use their experience from similar situations to help navigate your case and avoid delays.
5. Get Approved
Ideally, the SSA approves your application, and you will begin receiving federal disability benefits. If successful, your lawyer retains a portion of your first compensation payment.
As mentioned, you won’t pay a dime if you’re not approved.
How Much Does Atticus Cost?
If you are approved and have to pay, the total fee ranges from 15% to 33% of your first payment, although it can be capped at a certain dollar amount. Your lawyer collects this expense and provides a portion to Atticus, so you won’t get double-billed.
Several online data points indicate the average success fee is 25% which is the industry average. Using 25% pricing as an example, your total expense is $2,500 if your first compensation payment is $10,000.
In some situations, like Social Security Disability, the fee is set by the federal government and highly regulated. The fee for Social Security Disability is always 25%, never more. The website shows a range because it covers all the scenarios.
Here are the best reasons to consider applying for disability with the help of Atticus.
With Atticus, there are no legal fees upfront. All you need to do to get started is complete a two-minute online quiz and have an initial phone consultation to discuss your situation. Then, if Atticus can help you apply, they recommend an experienced lawyer to represent you.
Choosing your own lawyer can be stressful and time-consuming, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the disability process and don’t know how to screen legal professionals. Atticus does the heavy lifting of the vetting process for you and partners with over 100 legal firms nationwide. They strive to find a lawyer or legal representative near you that has experience with your situation.
Atticus remains involved throughout the entire process. They don’t disappear as soon as you’ve hired one of their partner law firms. They continue monitoring your case details and are only a phone call, text, or email away when you need help.
Atticus’s Pros and Cons
Atticus provides a valuable service, but it won’t be the right fit for everyone. Here is my list of Atticus’s pros and cons.
- Free advice by phone, text, or email
- Atticus thoroughly vets all lawyers
- High customer satisfaction ratings (Trustpilot)
- No fees if you don’t win
- Potentially high legal fees (if your case wins)
- Lawyers may be in-state but not local
- Cannot assist with every situation
- Even with Atticus, the application process is still lengthy
Is Atticus Legit?
Yes, Atticus is a legitimate service that can help you apply for and be approved for Social Security disability benefits. Its pricing is transparent and in line with the industry standard, as there are no fees unless you win. If you are successful, the fees are competitive with what independent lawyers charge.
Atticus only makes money if your disability application gets approved. As is common industry practice, the company collects a lawyer-to-lawyer referral fee from the Atticus-recommended legal firm from your first disability paycheck. Typically, the maximum fee is from 15% to 33%.
You can get free advice by phone, text, or email. Your lawyer may have different contact methods.
Atticus isn’t a disability insurance company, but they can help you navigate the Social Security Disability Insurance application process. Their insights can prevent making application errors or submitting an incomplete application which can result in delays and denials.
The typical application timeline takes three to six months for an initial decision and one to two years for final approval. Atticus and your hired lawyer will assist you if you need help or representation.
Final Thoughts on Atticus
Atticus can remove a lot of the guesswork and suspense of applying for Social Security disability benefits. It’s easy to start, connect with a trustworthy lawyer, and you won’t pay for services until your case wins. You can see if you qualify in as little as two minutes.
That said, hiring a lawyer through Atticus doesn’t guarantee that your claim will be approved, although it helps your approval odds and speeds up the application process in many cases.