Our Purpose

The purpose of this site is to provide free SSDI and SSI information. This site should help those who are contemplating applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income and those individuals who have already applied for Social Security Disability benefits, no matter what stage they are at in the Social Security Disability process. If you have any questions that are not answered by this site or want a free consultation, please feel free to e-mail me at karl@ultimatedisabilityguide.comvisit my law firm's website or call 877-527-5529.  I will try to answer any questions you might have about Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

     My name is Karl Kazmierczak, Esq. I am a Board Certified Social Security Disability Specialist by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy. Please click on the following link for more information on what it means to be a Board Certified Social Security Disability Specialist. I have handled thousands of cases in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. 

How to Use this site.  If you are new to the process of Social Security Disability, I recommend you start by reading the "disability process."  This page will give you an overview of how your claim is processed and what procedural steps you have to take.  To understand how SSA determines if you are disabled you should read the page, "am I disabled?".  After you read this page, you should follow the different links to get a better understanding of what it takes to prove your disability.  I also strongly suggest you read "how to win" and "key to SSDI and SSI".  There is a lot more information on this site, but this should give you a good starting point to help your claim.
     If you need tips on how to win your SSDI or SSI claim, continue to read this site and bookmark it so you can come back and use it as a reference while you take on the Social Security Disability process. Please note that it is my intention to provide accurate and up-to-date information on this site, as I put in great effort to do this. However, the information on this site is not guaranteed and no lawyer-client relationship exists.  This site is not a substitute for consultation with a lawyer.

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Please email me with any questions or a free consultation.






"Thanks for the site, absolutely a "Bible" for all who have fear, doubt or lack of knowledge." - Christopher
"Is by far the most informative I have found and I did a lot of looking.  Easy to navigate and answered everything I was wondering." - Tom 

"THANK YOU!!!! I just wanted to let you know that by following your advice on your site and with the help of my State Congressman,  I was approved for permanent disability (SSD) in 3mos...   Just saying thank you and keep up your wonderful site."  Alyson
To see what other have said about this website read the website testimonials on the page called "Best Social Security Disability Website".


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If you need a lawyer for your Social Security Disability or SSI claim or just want to ask a few questions you can also call me at 1-877-527-5529 and ask for Karl.  Or you can click on the following link and fill out the form if you prefer a local lawyer note that on form.

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Social Security Disability Blog 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Veterans Disability Conference
Next week I will be attending a conference on Veterans Disability.  I will post on my blog anything I learn that may be of any value to those pursuing VA benefits.  The main reason I am attending the conference is to learn the ins and outs of the VA process.  Many Lawyers who handle Social Security Disability claims like myself will start representing Veterans due to the new law that was passed that allows Veterans to hire attorneys for these claims.  The new law goes into affect in June so the conference could not come at a better time.  I will also be posting some additional things that I learned last week at the conference for Social Security Disability.
9:40 pm edt 

Monday, April 23, 2007

What I learned at NOSSCR conference.
At the conference for Social Security Disability lawyers run by NOSSCR I learned a few things that may be of interest to you.  Robert Emrick spoke, he is the Associate Commissioner, OMVE/SSA.  He spoke of many changes coming to the medical listings.  Some of the medical listings are out dated and SSA appears to be making an effort to change many of the listings.  They are reaching out to medical groups and other organizations to try and come up with new listings that are both up to date and more workable.  I was impressed by his speech and hope SSA is able to accomplish these goals in a way that makes the listings more understandable for SSDI and SSI claimants.  Also speaking at the seminar was Lisa deSoto, Deputy Commissioner, ODAR, SSA.  She also had a very interesting speech.  It appears that several changes that were being talked about in regards to the new process that disability lawyers like myself were very much against have lost some steam.  SSA was talking about raising the ages in the GRID Rules which would have had a negative impact on those applying for SSDI and SSI benefits and would have resulted in more denials.  This appears to be dead now and the ages in the GRID Rules will stay the same.  There was also a concern of disability lawyers that SSA was going to get rid of the Appeals Council.  This would have left claimants with no option to appeal a decision of a ALJ accept to sue in federal court.  I am happy to say that it appears as if SSA will keep an Appeals Council in some way. 
9:20 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I will be attending conference of SSDI lawyers this week.
I will be going to the NOSSCR Conference this week and will report anything new or interesting I may learn.  NOSSCR is an organization of Social Security Disability lawyers and representatives.  Make sure to book mark the site and check back for any new information.  I will be posting something on how the new process is going in the Boston area.  I will also be attending numerous other classes on a variety of different topics and will share it with you.
8:38 pm edt 

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What percentage of SSDI and SSI cases are denied?
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what percentage of Social Security Disability and SSI cases are denied.  At application 65% of cases are denied.  At reconsideration 87% are denied.  At the hearing level before the ALJ 24% are denied and another 14% are dismissed.  At the Appeals Council level 71% are denied, 25% get remands (new hearing before ALJ), and 2% are approved.  In U.S. District Court 41% are denied, 44% get a remand and 5% are approved.  Note that some states do not have the reconsideration stage.  So a question you may have is why is the allowance rate of 35% at application so much lower than the allowance rate of 62% at hearing?  There is no way to know for sure but my opinion is that there are a couple of reasons.  Many people don't get a lawyer until they are the hearing stage.  Another reason is the files are much better developed by the time you get to a hearing.  Lastly, sometimes the file can not tell the whole story and a claimants testimony in person can make a significant impact.  If you want to give your case the best chance of winning at application you should make sure all your medical information is in the file and consider getting a lawyer at application.  Keep in mind the wait time for a hearing is anywhere from 1 to 2 years so the idea is to win as early as you can. 
8:02 pm edt 

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tips for a Social Security Disability Hearing
The first thing you should do is have an understanding of your case and what it is you have to prove to win.  In other words know the theory of your case.  A lawyer can be helpful because if they have handled many SSDI and SSI cases they will know what you have to prove for your particular case.  Every case is different and many factors can play into exactly what you will have to show at the ALJ hearing.  You should also have some idea of the types of questions that will be asked.  See my page on the Social Security Disability hearing to get a general idea.  Knowing the types of questions that will be asked will also help relieve some of the anxiety of having a hearing.  You should also look at your notice of hearing and check if a medical or vocational expert will be there.  If there will be an expert at the hearing, and you don't have a lawyer you may want to consider one.  This will allow for a proper cross examination of these experts.  I also would not dress up as if you are going on an interview for a job.  Dress respectfully of the court but if you come in to a hearing in a suit the ALJ may get the impression that you could work.  I have more tips and information on my page on the ALJ hearing.  
7:36 pm edt 

Monday, April 9, 2007

Is it harder to get disability in some areas more than others?
Your chances of getting Social Security Disability can be greatly influenced by where your hearing is located.  I will not name the ODAR offices that I find to be more difficult to win at since I still have to handle hearings in these places, but I can tell you that were you live can make a big difference.  I have found that word gets out on the street pretty fast if the ALJs in your area are overly favorable or unfavorable to claims.  There is one particular ODAR I am aware of that has an earned reputation of not finding for deserving SSDI and SSI claims.  Worse than that I have experienced abusive ALJs at this particular office.  I believe from my experience that Social Security is aware of these offices and tries to offset what would be glaring statistical abnormalities by assigning ALJs from other areas to hold hearings usually by video at these locations.  I have no documented evidence of this it is just an experienced guess on my part.  So what can you do if you hear through the grapevine that the ODAR in your area is particularly difficult?  You might want to consider finding a good lawyer and don't give up.  If you have a difficult ALJ you may be denied.  But if you know you can't work and feel you have a good case you should keep appealing even to the District Court if you have to.  When a case is sent back it will have directions from the appeal council to the ALJ which may include ordered medical or vocational expert testimony.  This can all help with a difficult ALJ.  If you are denied again by the same ALJ and you are able to get another remand on appeal you will be assigned a different Judge.  So if you are assigned a Judge you heard was difficult make sure your evidence is strong, get a lawyer and try and be patient. 
10:07 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Can you work while getting disability?
I am often asked if one can work while collecting Social Security Disability benefits.  SSA has a program for this called the Ticket to Work.  Before I get into the program I have a few warnings.  If you are able to do some work and decide to do so make sure to follow the program.  The rules on being able to work while getting disability benefits are confusing and not with out risk if you don't know the rules and follow them.  The ticket to work program can help you free of charge with vocational rehabilitation and job referrals.  These services are provided by private organizations or government agencies.  For more information call MAXIMUS, Inc. at 1-866-968-7842. 
8:43 pm edt 

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