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, June 30, 2010

Social Security Disability for Mental Illness
Social Security Disability claims for mental illness are handled quite differently than SSD or SSI claims for physical impairments. Social Security Disability still follows the five step process to determine if someone with a mental illness is disabled; however, the main difference is that in a SSDI claim for a mental condition with no physical impairments the grid rules are not really used. In a claim for a mental disability Social Security will still first determine if you are working. If SSA determines you are working at substantial gainful activity level then you will be found not disabled at this step. If it is found that you are not working at SGA you then move to the next. At the second step, SSA will determine determine if your mental impairment is severe. If they find that your impairment is not severe they will find should not disabled. If they find that your impairment is severe you will then move to step three of the process. At step three, they will then check to see if you meet or equal a listed impairment. If you meet or equal a listed impairment you will be found disabled. If you do not meet or equal a listed impairment you move to step four of the process. At step four, SSA will determine if you can do your past relevant work. If SSA determines that you can perform your past relevant work they will find your not disabled. If SSA determines that you cannot perform your past work you move to step five of the process. At the last step, Social Security will determine whether or not there is any other work you can do. This is a brief explanation of the five step process and I will now explain how a mental condition is handled differently than a physical condition at steps four and five of the process. To make a determination at steps four and five Social Security makes a determination of what your residual functional capacity is. This is also called your RFC and ability to do work related activities. In a purely mental claim for disability there is no physical limitations so Social Security will look at your mental limitations and decide if given these mental limitations you would be able to perform your past work and then if you cannot perform this past work if there is any other work you could perform given your psychiatric limitations. In a claim for a physical disability Social Security uses the grid rules directly or as a framework to determine if you are disabled. The grid rules are set up to evaluate physical impairments and direct a finding of disabled or not disabled based on your age, education, past work experience, and the level of physical work you are able to do such as less than sedentary, sedentary, light, medium. Since mental illness does not necessarily affect one's physical ability to do things Social Security must determine if your mental limitations would prevent your past work and any other work. So in these cases limitations in your ability to concentrate, remember things, deal with people, deal with stress and other such limitations are used to compare to the requirements of your past work and other work. This is a very brief discussion of how a Social Security disability claim for mental illness is handled by Social Security. I strongly advise you to read the relevant parts of my website that deal with claims for psychiatric conditions to fully understand how this type of case is handled by Social Security.
8:48 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Social Security Disability Good News and Bad
The good news is that the average wait time from requesting a hearing until a decision has continued to go down. In March the average wait time was 437 days. In April the average wait time at the hearing stage was 428 days. The bad news is that it appears there is an increase in the number of people filing a request for hearing. So time will tell if the average wait time from requesting a hearing until you receive one, and then get a decision will continue to decrease, hold steady, or increase. The increase in the number of claims can probably be attributed to the continued economic difficulties in this country. It also looks like even though there has been a decrease in the wait times at the hearing level the same cannot be said at application and reconsideration stages of the process. Again, the culprit looks to be the economy. In fact 16 states had unemployment rates that were higher than 10% as of March 2010. Social Security appears to have a plan to deal with the increase in the number of Social Security Disability and SSI applications. Social Security has a number of attorneys that can issue fully favorable decisions before a hearing, and because reviews of these decisions have shown these lawyers are finding people disabled and making good decisions, there is a plan to allow these attorneys to make even more favorable decisions for the year 2010. It should also be noted that 226 new ALJ's are expected to be hired this year and this will include other employees to support these new ALJ's. The addition of the new National Hearing Centers also appear to continue to be a part of the plan to reduce backlogs across the country at the hearing stage. These are some of the interesting things learned at the latest NOSSCR conference. Much of this information comes from the ODAR Deputy Commissioner Glenn Sklar in his speech to the members of this organization. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the future, at least we know a plan is in place and steps are being taken to address the increase in the number of SSD and SSI cases and SSA is trying to reduce the backlog.
9:45 pm edt 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Open Government Plan Released By Social Security
Social Security recently announced a new open government plan that will make finding information about Social Security Disability easier and more transparent to the general public and includes increased efforts to make this information available to Spanish speaking claimants.  As part of this initiative is more tools and information on the Social Security Administration website.  "The plan, reflects the agency’s commitment to increase transparency, expand opportunities for citizen participation and collaboration, and make open government sustainable at Social Security.  Three flagship initiatives are highlighted in the plan -- the Spanish-Language Retirement Estimator, On-line Service Enhancement, and an On-line Life-Expectancy Calculator.  These initiatives support the agency’s mission, goals, and objectives, as well as showcase the value of open government principles."  Commissioner Astrue states “These initiatives signify Social Security’s ongoing commitment to transparency, citizen participation, and collaboration as we improve the services we provide to the public.”  I am glad to see the Social Security Administration is making more information available to the thousands of people looking for information on Social Security Disability and other Social Security related matters.  It is also good to see more information being made available to the Spanish speaking claimants for which it is much more difficult for them to find information on SSD and SSI benefits.  Even though Social Security has a long way to go in improving wait times for decisions they have also made big strides over the last couple of years in this area as well.  The Social Security Administration has a very difficult job in dealing with the massive Social Security Disability case load, but over the last few years I must say I have seen a strong effort being made to improve the way cases are handled and improve their public image.  Social Security is by no means perfect, but I do believe they are one of the best, if not the best run government agencies we have.
11:37 pm edt 

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