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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Friday, October 30, 2009

The importance of your work history in a Social Security Disability claim.
Your work history may be more significant to your SSDI claim then you might think. The most important thing about your work history is that you have enough and resent work credits to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. But your work histories importance is not limited to your eligibility. In my years of practicing Social Security disability law, I have repeatedly seen the importance of having a strong work record before becoming disabled. In fact, I have found that some ALJ's look at a claimants work history and it strongly influences their opinion of whether a claimant is disabled or not. The reason some administrative law judges put such importance on work history is because they must feel that if an individual has made a steady substantial income for their entire life and that income is suddenly reduced to zero at the time the claimant states they became disabled it adds to their credibility. In some cases this makes a lot of sense. For example, if someone has made $50,000 for the last 20 years it shows that the person has always worked when they could and that collecting disability would be a big drop in their income and probably a financial burden on them. In the opposite case, if someone shows earnings of say $10,000 one-year $6000 the next $8000 in a third year and so on, in the mind of the ALJ they might say to themselves this person is never really committed to working on a consistent basis. The problem with this is there may be a very good reason why an individual has an inconsistent or less substantial work history. In many cases, the claimant may not have been the primary income producer in the household such as being the caretaker of the kids. In other cases, an individual may not have the education or ability to work full time throughout their life. This being said, sometimes a sporadic work history can help prove disability. For example, in particular those who suffer from bipolar disorder or other psychiatric conditions often have sporadic work histories due to lifelong psychiatric medical condition. Psychiatric impairments often cause people to quit jobs or be fired due to not being able to keep up to the standards of the employer. Every case is different and how your work record is viewed can have a significant impact on whether you win or lose your SSD claim. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer or knowledgeable claimant can use the work history to their advantage if applicable and minimize the damage if a poor work history can be explained by the circumstances of the claimant's life. You can not change your work history but if a lawyer or claimant decides to explore the claimants work history in the questioning at a hearing it would be best if they understood the impact of what they were saying about the work history might have on the ALJ's opinion of the claim.  The type of work you did also plays a significant role in a Social Security disability claim but that is not the focus of this particular post.
10:54 pm edt 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fewer SSD and SSI hearings pending for first time in 10 years
It looks like the Social Security Administration's efforts to decrease the the waiting time to get a hearing and decision is starting to pay off. According to a press release by Social Security on September 30, 2009, there were fewer hearings pending then there was the prior year. This is the first time this has happened in 10 years. They also reported the average processing time is now 491 days as compared to 514 days last year. Although this may not sound like much, we should consider the fact that the number of claims has increased dramatically this past year as well. A big reason for the improvement can probably be attributed to SSA's new hirings for 2009. They hired 147 new judges and an additional 850 employees across the country and its hearing offices. The Social Security administration plans to hire even more administrative law judges and support staff for the year 2010. The plan calls for an additional 226 administrative law judges to be hired. I suspect because of this and other initiatives such as the rolling out of the program that will allow lawyers to review their files online will help with even more improvement in waiting times for the year of 2010. Also in the works, is the plan to open 14 new hearing offices. As I have mentioned in earlier posts they have already added two remote hearing offices and another is planned. A remote hearing office is one that handles its hearings by video from another part of the country to help relieve the backlog in certain areas of the country that have extremely long wait times. This is all good news for those of you who have Social Security disability cases pending before the Social Security Administration. Technology seems to be a priority for SSA and a key part of what they are relying on to reduce the backlog. There are additional new programs SSA will be testing with the use of new technologies to help adjudicate SSD and SSI claims quicker. These hirings and programs based on technology where much-needed and are certainly beneficial to those applying for Social Security Disability benefits. My only concern is that our government is still not dealing with the 800 pound gorilla in the room, which is the fact that the Social Security trust fund is running out of money quickly. What good will all these improvements be if there is no money to pay benefits. It was not my intention to end this post on a sour note, but it is a reality that Congress must deal with soon.
6:58 pm edt 

Friday, October 16, 2009

No cost-of-living increase for those receiving Social Security benefits this year.
Yesterday, it was announced that for the first time since 1975 that there will not be a cost-of-living increase for the year of 2010. The cost-of-living adjustment also called COLA is an automatic adjustment and benefits that occurs annually. In 1975 the law that started COLA went into effect. Since that time every year Social Security beneficiaries have received an annual increase in the amount of money they get based on the percentage increase in the consumer price index for her and wage earners and clerical workers. The cost-of-living increase is to make sure that SSD and SSI benefits are not eroded by inflation. The reason there is no increase this year is because there was no increase in the consumer price index from the third quarter of 2008 two third-quarter of 2009. Therefore, you should not expect to see an increase in your benefits this year based on COLA. So absent other factors, you're so security disability benefits or SSI benefits will remain the same for 2010 as they were for 2009. Commissioner Michael J. Astrue had this to say about the absence of a cost-of-living increase for this year.  “Social Security is doing its job helping Americans maintain their standard of living.  Last year when consumer prices spiked, largely as a result of higher gas prices, beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent COLA, the largest increase since 1982. This year, in light of the human need, we need to support President Obama’s call for us to make another $250 recovery payment for 57 million Americans.”  I am writing about this so you will not count on or expect to see an increase in your benefits for 2010.
4:59 pm edt 

Friday, October 9, 2009

SSA Pilot program for on-line access to Social Security Disability files.
I have spoken about my inclusion in the pilot program that will allow lawyers to access their client's files on-line at the hearing level before, and this is an update on what is going on with that program. Earlier this week, myself and a few other lawyers and non-attorney representatives went down to Social Security in Virginia to help test this new program. I have been using on-line access to my files for a while now and I am happy to report that it should make a huge improvement in how cases are handled at the hearing level. I have spoken about the many benefits of lawyers and representatives having access to their files online before so I will not discuss the many benefits of this program again. I do believe the most important thing this program will bring when it is released to all attorneys and other representatives soon is quicker determinations and better prepared cases for hearings. I have spoken to many attorneys and ALJ's about this new program and everyone appears very excited about it. For any lawyers reading this post, the details will be discussed at the NOSSCR conference coming up this week. Since I do not know how much I am allowed to discuss about the program I will just say that it is only a matter of time, and probably short time, before all Social Security disability lawyers and representatives will be able to use this great new tool. I believe this is perhaps the biggest improvement in the Social Security Disability System ever. I hope with its success it will encourage the Social Security Administration to expand this access to all levels of the SSDI and SSI process. It is also my hope that what is learned from this will make its way to the VA compensation process in the future. I can't say enough good things about all the people at the Social Security Administration who have worked so hard to make this program a reality. I feel privileged to be a small part of the development of this program. The employees at SSA who worked on this program have listened to suggestions we have made as representatives and lawyers and have worked very hard to ensure the program was user-friendly to those who would be using it. I have seen how hard SSA employees have worked on this program to make it available in such a short period of time. I want to thank them for my inclusion in this process and for all the hard work they put into it. It was a privilege to work with them and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it has on the Social Security Disability process.
8:32 pm edt 

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