January 2012

Rebounding After Your Social Security Disability Claim Gets Rejected

January 31, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

No one likes to be rejected. We human beings have a deep drive to “belong” — to win acceptance and approval from other people. This is true, whether you’re a 6-year-old adapting to a new elementary school or an elderly adult filing a North Carolina Social Security Disability claim.

When we’re hit with a rejection, for whatever reason, we tend to take it personally. For instance, perhaps you suffer from a terrible intestinal disease that’s made it difficult for you to work and bring in an income. You’ve seen doctor after doctor after doctor. You now take a veritable truckload of medications. And you’re still in pain, confused and scared about your prognosis. Even though you’ve suffered tangible physical harm, and you literally cannot work, you may — to your great dismay — find that your Social Security Disability claim gets rejected, for whatever reason.

That hurts on a number of fronts.

First off, you need a cash flow to pay for your medications, buy food to eat and keep a roof over your head. Secondly, you may feel greatly aggrieved at the lack of empathy for your profound pain. How could anyone who understood “what it’s like to be you” possibly reject your claim? Lastly, you may feel resentful of other people who’ve successfully navigated the Social Security Disability maze. You wonder: what did those people do differently? You may get angry at the Social Security Disability bureaucracy… or even at the person who nixed your claim.

These are normal, human feelings. But they can get in your way. Right now, you need to think less about how unfair life has been and more about your optimal steps, tactically and strategically, to get benefits and to rebuild your life.

In other words, you need to cultivate a spirit of resilience.

That can be a tall order, especially if you’re physically and emotionally run down already. But you might be surprised by how even just a little help — and a little positive news — can turn your distress around. First of all, Social Security claimants get multiple opportunities to press for benefits. If your Administrative Law Judge hearing went badly, you can still win at Reconsideration.

Likewise, even in the worst case scenario — i.e. you get no benefits at all — odds are overwhelming that you’re missing “hidden opportunities” to leverage your current resources to make your situation somewhat easier. For instance, maybe you currently live alone. But you could — at least theoretically — sell your home and move in with your sister or with a close friend.

To make sense of your possibilities, and to fight back against a rejected Social Security Disability claim, get in touch with the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today for a confidential and thorough consultation.

Letting Go Of Your Social Security Disability Fears: A Surprisingly Simple Tactic

January 29, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

What is that you fear most about your quest for Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina?

If you’re like most people who’ve been diagnosed with a scary disease or who’ve been incapacitated, multiple sources of fear challenge you. You may feel almost paralyzed by the scary “what if’s?” floating through your mind. You know you need to take action on your claim — to get started with the paperwork; or to appeal, if you got rejected. But you are so overwhelmed and flustered that you can’t even get going.

When our fears crouch in the darkness, unclarified in our minds, they control us and lead us to miss out on positive opportunities. Life itself is a fundamentally vulnerable and risky act. Every one of us will die. Every one of us fears similar fundamental things, like heights and loud noises. These mental alarms are in-bred, and they serve a function. It’s good that we’re afraid of heights, since that fear protects us from meandering off of cliffs or highway overpasses.

On the other hand, our fears, badly managed, lead us towards dysfunction and paralysis.

Here’s a simple exercise to at least begin to come to grasp with what’s holding you back. It takes just 10 minutes or so. It’s a kind of free form writing. Here’s what you do. Open up a Word document, or crack open your handwritten journal, and write this question: “What am I afraid will happen regarding my Social Security Disability claim?”

Spend several minutes writing down anything that comes to your mind. Don’t worry about censoring yourself. Just write as much as you can. You might write things as diverse as “I am afraid that I’ll die; I am afraid that I won’t have enough money to buy Jimmy a nice birthday present; I am afraid that even an experienced Charlotte Social Security Disability law firm won’t be able to help me.”

Allow yourself to dump all your thoughts onto the document. You might be surprised by how few fears you ultimately “dredge up.” Typically, one or two fears cause 90% of the total distress. For instance, two common fears include: fear of financial catastrophe and fear of death. Surfacing your fears won’t make them go away. But you might be surprised by the immediate sense of relief that you’ll feel just by getting them down on paper.

Creating a “Plan B” for your Social Security Disability Claim Quest

January 24, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You hope to qualify for Social Security Disability to collect money to pay for your bills and medical care. It’s a difficult time for you, even if you have help. The stresses of the medical treatment alone can make you feel miserable and helpless. Furthermore, your quest for Social Security Disability benefits is by no means a sure thing, even if you cannot work and you have supportive medical documentation. Some claimants wait months, if not years, before they collect benefits. Others go through a traumatic rigmarole, only to find their hopes dashed.

Even if you prevail, the uncertainty during the intermediary weeks can lead to stress, which in turn can hamper your immune system and exacerbate your illness. You need some tools to help you deal with your situation. Here’s an idea for you. Create a Plan B.

What’s a “Plan B”?

A Plan B is an alternative, secondary method of solving a problem. You begin by assuming that your Plan A fails. Then you construct an alternative scenario that meets all or most of your critical needs. For instance, your Plan A might be to succeed with your claim and get cash flow ASAP. But your needs underlying the claim might be met in different ways. For instance, you need shelter from the elements. So you may want benefits to help pay your rent or mortgage. You could find alternative ways of shielding yourself from the elements, though — e.g. move in with a friend or relative; or sell your place and buy a smaller place.

Arming yourself with a Plan B gives you a greater sense of psychological freedom. Here’s how to construct one. First, make a list of all the things that you believe that the Social Security Disability money will do for your life – e.g. pay for your medical bills, keep you in your home, relieve your financial stress, et cetera. Next, brainstorm how to address these needs, if you don’t win your case. Get creative! Then edit the brainstorming and compile your plans in a “Plan B” document to review and update as need be.

Just having this document with you will give you a boost: you’ll know that, no matter what happens, your basic needs will be met.

For help with “Plan A,” get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today by calling us or connecting with us through our website.

Why Don’t My Friends and Family Understand How Hard It Is to Live on Social Security Disability?

January 22, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Social Security Disability claimants — or would-be claimants — are often greeted with a surprising lack of empathy from friends, colleagues, and even family members.

People close to you may intellectually appreciate that you’re struggling with a serious illness. But that intellectual understanding may not translate into loving or tender care. This is especially true if you suffer from a debilitating mental condition, such as schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety. When people can see that you’ve been injured — e.g. you can no longer walk; or your hair is falling out due to chemotherapy — they tend to be more understanding. But when they cannot see visible signs of your pain, they can become surprisingly impatient. This also happens to back pain sufferers. Back pain can be felt (excruciatingly), but others cannot easily “see” the injury.

This lack-of-empathy problem can be particularly devastating, if you have a history of ailments or other “issues.” For instance, perhaps you owe child support payments. Your ex-spouse may accuse you of exaggerating or even making up your illness to win sympathy and get out of paying your share. Or maybe you have a history of a drug and alcohol addiction. People in your life may believe that you’re “indulging” your injury/illness as a kind of side effect of your rehab or treatment.

Avoid getting caught up in other people’s expectations or judgments!

Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Truth be told, you may find it very difficult to make active, accurate progress on your Social Security Disability case by yourself, especially given your lack of knowledge regarding “best practices” for filing a claim. Rather than start off at a disadvantage, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation about your rights and potentially diverse remedies. Our team can provide the support you desperately need to get a handle on what you’ve been going through.

Removing the Obstacles in the Way of Your Social Security Disability Claim

January 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Why haven’t you already succeeded with your North Carolina social security disability claim?

One reason might be that you’ve yet to define what victory means or what it might look like. You may define victory in purely financial terms — if you get XYZ dollars by ABC date, then you’ll “win.” You might define victory in terms of your health or ability to work — if you recover your stamina and get back to the office by June, for instance, that might be a victory.

You also might be struggling because you’re sick, isolated, and faced with a complex series of legal challenges. In that case, your solution might be as simple as getting in touch with the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo, an experienced Charlotte social security disability law firm, to strategize and handle the hurdles in your way.

However, even if you’ve defined success articulately, you can still encounter surprising setbacks along the way. Prepare to be unpleasantly surprised! To gird yourself, you must surface your hidden obstacles, proactively, and strive to deal with them in advance. We discussed why this approach is important in our previous blog post. Today, we’ll provide an example.

Let’s say that your goal is to return to work by July. You want to return to your former salary (or something like it) and be doing work that leverages your skills and passions. So you’ve determined your outcome.

The next step is to ask your inner pessimist to supply what might be in your way. For instance:

•    ”What if I don’t recover enough to do my old job by July?”
•    ”What if my boss doesn’t have a job for me or can’t give me the same work at the same pay rate?”
•    ”What if, after I return, I discover that I lack the stamina I once had?”
•    ”What if the injury/disability puts me so far back, financially, that I can’t make ends meet even WITH my old job?”
•    etc

Do this exercise. Take ten minutes and exhaustively brainstorm all the possible “stuff” in your way of getting a positive outcome. Once you finish this brainstorming, set this blog post aside and come back to it at a later time — give yourself at least an hour of rest.

Done? Okay, great!

Once you’ve rested, return to your list and then engage with it in the following way. First, eliminate the obstacles that aren’t obstacles yet. For instance, you may have written down something along the lines of “my boss might fire me because she’ll be unimpressed with my performance because I’ll be rusty.” That’s not an obstacle yet, so don’t give yourself extra work!

Instead, focus on the stuff that’s true now that’s blocking your efforts. For instance, you might only have enough energy to engage with your world productively for two or three hours a day. Given your current stamina, you can’t work the way you want to work. So that stays on the list.

Go through all the remaining obstacles on your list and brainstorm how to blast through them or make them irrelevant. For instance, you may need six hours of productive time a day to do the work you once did. You only have three hours of energy currently. One way around that obstacle is to increase your stamina to six hours a day. ANOTHER way around it is to reduce the amount of time you need to work a day by half. If you did that, you’d already be at your goal!

Give the process a try. You’ll likely find that thinking through your goals this way will make a world of difference.

Succeeding with Your Social Security Disability Claim in 2013

January 15, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s a New Year and a fresh start, but if you’ve spent a long time in the queue for a social security disability in North Carolina or elsewhere, you may not feel terribly enthusiastic about 2013. That’s understandable. 2012 was likely a harder than expected year for you and your family — you might have been diagnosed with a serious illness out of the blue, and/or you might have experienced crushingly bad news about your claim and overall finances. To bounce back effectively, you need to do two things:

1. You need to avoid fooling yourself about the reality and severity of your situation.

2. You need to develop and focus on positive goals to move forward.

Unfortunately, many social security disability beneficiaries resist setting goals because they figure “why bother” dreaming big when so much has already gone wrong? You feel pressure to avoid raising your expectations, only to see them dashed.

Rather than abandoning making resolutions – or even setting short-term goals – for fear of failure, consider the following alternative. Instead of just picking an ambitious goal and “going for it” — be it a goal to collect fair benefits within the next several months or to get yourself healthy and fit by the end of 2013 — focus on removing the OBSTACLES to achieving your ideal life.

That’s a subtle distinction!

What’s the difference between focusing on a great outcome and focusing on removing the obstacles to that outcome? The difference is — or at least it can be — nothing short of life changing. When you ruminate on the obstacles in your way to your goal, you invite your inner pessimist to participate in the process of goal setting/attainment with you. This is useful because the inner pessimist can subconsciously hold you back.  When leveraged successfully, your pessimist can alert you to key details that you might gloss over if you proceeded in overly polyanna-ish manner. By focusing on obstacles, you can figure out ways to blast through them or go around them. You may also creatively change your goal/objectives to make them more achievable, based on a more sober read of your situation.

In our next blog post, we’ll dive deeper into this concept using a real world example or two, to help you make immediate progress towards getting what you want and regaining a sense of control over your future.

2013 can represent a new beginning for you, for your family, for your health, and for your finances. If you need help with your Charlotte social security disability claim, the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can provide a free thorough consultation. Find out more about us online, and get in touch with us now to start this year off on the right foot.

Persistence: A Magic Word for Getting Through Your Social Security Disability Crisis

January 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been flabbergasted by the disorganization of the Social Security Disability system, you have company!

Sadly, more and more Americans every year apply for disability. Experts debate why. One factor is demographic: as the Baby Boomer generation ages and retires at a rapid rate, the social safety net feels more weight. Other problems lurk. For instance, rates of degenerative diseases of civilization, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes), have reached epidemic proportions. The spike in preventable chronic diseases has really taxed the Federal government’s infrastructure.

Other potential reasons for the Social Security Disability “mess” include:

•    Bureaucratic incompetence;
•    Insurance company shenanigans;
•    Bad doctors and hospital processes;
•    Undereducated patients

The theoretical dynamics may be interesting, in an academic sense, but you don’t have much time/interest in parsing theory. You lack the time, energy or wherewithal to figure out the “big picture” problems — you just want fair compensation, a simple procession through the system, and honest and clear communication.

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you gain clarity on your Social Security Disability situation. Whether you’re scrambling to prepare for Reconsideration or an Administrative Law Judge hearing — and you’re baffled by the process — or you’re still just investigation your diagnosis, our team can candidly, empathetically help you get clear and stay on course with a responsible strategy.

Persistence — hard-headedness even — can be a great weapon, as you face down your diverse Social Security Disability related problems. But you must combine persistence with intelligence. It’s great to “refuse to back down” regarding your health and welfare. But you also want to avoid reinventing the wheel. The DeMayo Law team possesses deep and practical knowledge of how to make the system work. Even if we can’t force the system to “play fair” instantly, we can introduce you to best practices and get you feeling a lot more confident about what your future might hold. Connect with us today for a complimentary consultation.

Is the North Carolina Social Security Disability Debate Poised to Move in a Radically New Direction?

January 8, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many policy wonks who study Social Security Disability in North Carolina and beyond believe that change to the SSD program will come glacially.

Yes, more people enter the queue every year. Yes, financial and bureaucratic problems persist. Yes, some extremely vulnerable people receive horrible care. But most experts still believe that the system will only change gradually. There will never be a lightning-quick “flash point” that will send the Social Security Disability system in a radically new direction.

But perhaps our confidence in such a gradual evolution is misplaced!

Here’s why. A bit of background, first:

In evolutionary theory, biologists recognize two discrete types of evolution: graduated and punctuated. In graduated evolution, species or other objects (e.g. memes or computer programs) change incrementally in response to selection pressures. Tens of millions of years ago, for instance, humans, dogs, and cats all likely had a common evolutionary ancestor. Over the glacial process of natural selection, our three species split off and gradually grew distinct. There was no moment in time where a dog-man gave birth to a dog, for instance, or something similarly extreme.

Punctuated evolution, however, also exists! It also explains many phenomena in nature, economics and beyond. Punctuated evolution is dramatic – like a lightning strike. For instance, according to author Julian Jaynes, human consciousness evolved via a punctuated evolutionary process. In the “Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” Jaynes argues that human evolution had been proceeding along at a stately pace, when, all of a sudden, consciousness emerged, almost instantly. Something from nothing. Deux ex machina.

Getting back to the Social Security Disability system… perhaps we can find analogues to punctuated evolution in the world of policy. For instance, the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers radically and decisively altered America’s foreign policy. In an instant, everything shifted. Likewise, the recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut may have already radically altered the national political conversation about gun control.

It stands to reason that an unforeseeable event may similarly radically change the Social Security Disability Program.

All this theoretical stuff may be interesting, but if you’re sick or injured, you want answers, not speculation. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to discuss your case and give you a step-by-step, guided strategy to maximize your quest for Social Security Disability benefits.

Waiting and Waiting and Waiting for Your Social Security Disability Claim

January 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

An illness rendered you sick and unable to work. You’re desperate for Social Security Disability benefits. How difficult will it be to make a claim? Will you ever get over the illness and move on with the rest of your life?

The Social Security Disability system is surprisingly complicated, and the queue for benefits seems to be getting longer each year. You can find ways around the traffic jam — such as the Compassionate Allowances program, which helps very sick people (e.g. those diagnosed with late stage cancers) “skip ahead” in the queue. But many people who desperately need benefits often do not receive attentive, empathetic care from the system. This lack of care can create all sorts of additional stresses and even worsen the primary illness/injury.

So what should you do?

First of all, consider obtaining allies on your quest to claim benefits. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has tremendous experience helping people like you get Social Security Disability in North Carolina. We are ethical, effective, and resourceful. We can also hook you up with additional resources to make your situation significantly less challenging and scary.

Even with best care, and a great law firm on your team, you may find your situation perplexing at times. To gain clarity and calm, spend time thinking about what you want to achieve in your life regarding your health, finances and other goals.

What would “life success” look like to you?

Focus on images of what you want to bring into your life, and brainstorm shortcuts to reaching that nirvana. Obviously, your focusing on a pleasant outcome will not necessarily wish such an outcome into existence! But far too many Social Security Disability claimants (and would be claimants) spend far too much time focusing on what they don’t have or what they have lost.

That kind of pessimistic, “I don’t have enough” thinking can harm you and make you depressed. Understand that you have agency. The more that you exercise your sense of control over your environment — and future — the more empowered you will feel, and the better choices you’ll make.

3 Resourceful Things You Can Do While Waiting for Your Social Security Disability Claim to Go Through

January 1, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’re in the throes of preparing for an Administrative Law Judge hearing or Reconsideration, or you’re just starting out on your journey to get Social Security Disability (in North Carolina or elsewhere), you may need to prepare for a long, uphill battle. How can you make the most productive use of this time?

Here are three pretty cool ideas.

1. Consider reducing the amount of sugar you consume… or at least significantly curtailing it.

Sugar is woven into the fabric of American culture. Every holiday, it seems, is another excuse to eat sugar. On Valentine’s Day, you have Valentine’s Day chocolates. On Thanksgiving, you get sweet potatoes with brown sugar. Christmas is time for Christmas cookies. And Halloween – well, basically the entire point of that holiday is to eat sugar. Unfortunately, as much we love and crave the stuff, compelling science suggests that sugar may be extremely bad for our health and may be a primary cause of insulin resistance, which is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and beyond.

2. Get enough sunlight.

Obviously, you don’t want to sit out in the sun until you bake and get sun burned. However, a lack of sunlight can lead to Vitamin D deficiency. Especially if you’re sick or ill and waiting for Social Security Disability, find time to spend time outside.

3. Journal – a lot – about diverse topics.

What are our recurring patterns? What do we do, day to day, that helps or hinders our health, thoughts, relationships, and other dynamics? The more we understand ourselves — what makes us tick, what we like, what we don’t like — the more control we’ll enjoy over our experiences. When you journal regularly, you also may begin to understand what “stuff” flairs up your injury or illness and what stuff helps you feel better. The more accurately you can recognize these patterns, the more you can engage in productive behaviors. It’s a self perpetuating cycle.

Regaining Autonomy in an Out of Control Environment

Human beings possess a fundamental need to feel in control. When you’re stuck in the queue for Social Security Disability — and you can’t figure out what to do next to make more progress — you can easily feel powerless. These three almost universally applicable tools allow people to reassert control. By eating slightly less sugar — or potentially cutting out sucrose from the diet all together — you’ll at the very least eliminate a source of “empty calories” and, at best, protect yourself against an array of medical problems. If you get slightly more sun — you don’t need to be a Brazilian model or a buff Venice Beach weightlifter — the light may boost your mood and help you produce more natural Vitamin D. If you journal — you don’t have to write deep introspective monologues every day — you will become more in touch with yourself, your feelings, your likes and dislikes, and your other needs.

To exert even more control over your environment, get in touch with the diligent, experienced law team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a consultation now.

For North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregivers – Book #2: Barry Schwartz’ The Paradox of Choice

January 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Caregivers charged with taking care of sick or injured North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries are often overwhelmed by choices and decisions. Whether you are a 50-something woman caring for a sick and elderly parent; or you are a hired caregiver who works for a man who is extremely sick with dementia and other chronic diseases, your plate is more than full.

It’s not as if being a caregiver is your only role, either!

Likely, you also play other important roles, including spouse, parent, friend, confidante, mentor, etc. But if you are not careful about how you allocate your time and resources, your role as caregiver can become so totally overwhelming that you will fail to nourish other parts of your life. This can leave you feeling resentful, burned out, and less able to provide the compassionate assistance that the North Carolina social security disability beneficiary desperately needs.

To get to the root for your problem, you might find sociology professor Barry Schwartz’ book, The Paradox of Choice, extremely useful. Using easy-to-understand language and spirited metaphors, Professor Schwartz shows how the American obsession with choice can be debilitating and dangerous. In terms of choices, we think: “the more the merrier.” Schwartz demonstrates, using sound research, that more choices do not make us happier, wealthier, or more in control.

In fact, they do the opposite.

They make us feel more overwhelmed, out of control, and upset.  Schwartz talks about ways around the paradox of choice problem – for instance, to avoid being overwhelmed, be choosy about when you choose. Learn how to be satisfied and abandon the constant striving for perfection.

Another great way to manage this problem is to get help from people and resources who know precisely how to help people in your situation. A social security disability law firm in North Carolina, for instance, can give you powerful, actionable, reputable advice to protect the beneficiaries’ financial well-being and connect you with other resources and opportunities to relieve your stress and lighten your burden.

More Web Resources:

Barry Schwartz’ The Paradox of Choice

Being a caregiver can be overwhelming

For North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregivers: Book #4: Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone

January 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Being a caregiver for someone who is sick, hurt, or otherwise incapacitated and who needs social security disability in North Carolina is a colossal task. In a four-part series, we’ve taken a look at different books that help caregivers find inspiration, freedom from overwhelm, and patience and calm.

The final book of our series can help you break through your isolation.

You care for someone who is sick or injured. But even though that person provides a certain amount of company and companionship, you’re often left feeling isolated and alone. As we discussed in previous posts, caregivers often sacrifice tremendous amounts of time and energy – as well as personal relationships and fulfillment – to provide much-needed care.

By cutting yourself off from your support networks, friends, family members, and others who might bring joy — or even just a little frivolity — to your life, you undermine your ability to navigate your world and imperil your capacity to deliver compassionate, effective assistance to the person in your life who needs you badly.

Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone is a “must read” if you are struggling alone in the trenches. Ferrazzi’s thesis is pretty simple: Your success, happiness, and ability to solve problems depends on the nature, diversity, and strength of your personal relationships. Even if you’re introspective, shy, or pressed for time, you can still leverage some of the principles and ideas in Ferrazzi’s book to connect with the world, find help from reliable sources, and build your network. Ferrazzi’s book is, in some sense, tailored to professionals and executives who want to “get ahead.” But his general message — the concepts, ideas, and strategies that he discusses — should be useful for caregivers living and working in isolation (or near isolation).

Sadly and ironically, caregivers working in isolation usually recognize the value of good relationships. After all, the work you do is testimony to how much you value human companionship.

You need not struggle on your own. By tapping into your personal network – or by expanding and cultivating it – you can get through a lot of your difficult situations faster. You can even help the person you care for identify better treatment, figure out financial problems, and solve logistical crises (e.g. how she can get to her son’s wedding next summer).

Reach out to an experienced and highly recognized North Carolina social security disability law firm for more assistance.

More Web Resources:

Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone

How other people can help you solve deep and abiding problems

For North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregivers: Book #3 – Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

January 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

When you are injured or sick in North Carolina, and you need social security disability or some other benefit program to pay your bills and Medicare costs, life is very difficult.

Things can also be extremely rough for the caregivers of North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries. After all, the caregivers often must endure grueling, time-consuming, physically demanding, and unrewarding tasks – and do so at the expense of their own needs, businesses, and, at times, families. If you are a caregiver, you’ve probably suffered from remorse, resentment, or frustration from time to time.

Ask yourself if these statements resonate with you:

•    “I sometimes feel really annoyed, even angry, at the person I’m taking caring of, even though he or she has done nothing to me.”
•    “I don’t know how much more of this caregiving I can take.”
•    “This is so unfair. This was not supposed to be how my relationship with (the sick or injured person) was supposed to turn out.”
•    “I have to feel numb; otherwise I would just break down into tears.”

Renewing Your Inspiration

Since you act as a source of support and strength for someone else, you need to tap into a reservoir of support and strength yourself. Otherwise, where will the loving energy come from? One way to re-inspire yourself – it may sound silly – is to revisit classic, fun inspirational tales. One wonderful fantastical book that has inspired millions is Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Yes, this is a children’s book. But it’s often handed out to newly minted high school and college graduates, because its message is universal and full of hope.

This book talks in general, poetic terms about what it takes to overcome “the waiting place” and “games you can’t win because you play against you.” These are extremely profound (albeit simple) lessons, and they can never be learned too much.

If you’re struggling with a deficit of hope or inspiration, this book can at least put a smile on your face and give you a little bit of charge to deal with the potential boredom, sadness, logistical problems, and financial dilemmas that you face as a caregiver.

If nothing else, remember: there is beauty in every moment of existence. It all comes down to your perspective on events – how you think about and process information.

For help with a specific question regarding benefits, appealing a judge’s decision, reconsideration, and any other social security disability or supplemental security income quandary, connect with a qualified North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Finding inspiration when you feel lost and tired

Sounds Nice, but Is It True? Avoiding “Claptrap” While on Social Security Disability in North Carolina

January 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If an illness or serious injury has disrupted your life and compelled you to seek social security disability in North Carolina, you may feel like you’re in relatively desperate straits.

After all, it’s no fun to battle a serious chronic disease or debilitating physical ailment at any age, at any time of your life. It’s even more disturbing to deal with a medical problem if your financial security is threatened and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For these reasons and many others, individuals who need social security disability in North Carolina often find themselves not only the targets of scams and schemes, but also enraptured by hokum that provides false hope. This may lead them to do self-destructive things, like throw away medications or abandon a physician’s advice in favor of a psychic’s.

Separating Hokum from Useful “Self-Help”

It’s easy to be a skeptic of things like acupuncture, meditation, hypnosis, homeopathy, and other forms of “non-western” healing. But the science is often ambiguous. For instance, can acupuncture or acupressure treat certain chronic physical ailments? Some reputable scientific authorities say yes; others argue that acupuncture does little more than provide a placebo-effect type of healing.

Are the naysayers correct or incorrect? Counter-arguments abound!

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and never really understand the fine points of the debate or find a resolution to it. On the other hand, advocates of alternative healing methods rightly point out that conventional medicine often falls victim to “hokum” and false beliefs.

For instance, University of Minnesota researcher Ancil Keys’ “lipid hypothesis” – the belief that eating dietary fat causes heart disease – stems in large part from a study that Keys conducted called the Seven-Countries Study. The study ostensibly showed a correlation between nations that ate a lot of fat and nations that had a lot of heart disease. But Keys’ science was exquisitely poor. It turns out that the Seven-Countries Study actually included 22 countries – 15 of which Keys conveniently left out to show support for his hypothesis. Once you add in those 15 other countries, the data are all over the map. There is no support for the lipid hypothesis in the Seven-Countries Study.

So, you can find hokum when it comes to alternative medicine. You can find hokum when it comes to conventional medical thinking.

Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis, North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries are often left to fend for themselves and “figure out” who is right and who is wrong in these complicated scientific debates. That’s an enormous problem in its own right.

To avoid getting lost, you need to find resources that can help you navigate your medical and your legal situation effectively. Your medical condition is obviously extremely complicated, and no generic blog post could hope to address it. You may find a consultation with a North Carolina social security disability law firm quite useful and eye opening.

More web resources:

All about the Lipid Hypothesis

Ancil Keys’ Seven-Countries Study… or was it 22 Countries?

North Carolina Social Security Disability Time Wasting: The So-Called “Angry Birds” Problem.

January 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Have you been put on bed rest due to an injury or illness, and you are considering applying for social security disability in North Carolina to pay for care and other expenses while you heal? If so, you may have noticed that you are less productive than you used to be. And it’s not just because of your injury or illness. You may find yourself drawn to procrastinating even simple chores that you could physically handle. Instead of doing these chores, you spend time watching TV, surfing your favorite websites, hanging out on Facebook, watching inane celebrity Tweets, or playing cell phone games, like Angry Birds.

The “Angry Birds” Problem

The insidious time wasting that almost all of us find ourselves doing from time to time is particularly destructive to North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries. It’s not that Angry Birds isn’t a fun game (it sure is) or that reading the latest celeb gossip on tmz.com isn’t often amusing and shocking (it sure is). Rather, you may have mission-critical tasks to complete and not that much energy, mental fire power, and time to get them done.

For instance, say you are extremely sick. You only have about four hours a day where you are not groggy from your medications to do things like wash your dishe, pay your bills and make phone calls. If you fritter those hours away on Facebook or whatever, you could wind up slowly but surely building toward a serious life crisis. The quality of your home degrades; you may become depressed or even ill from spoiled food. If you fail to take care of your bills and other paperwork, you may fall behind on insurance payments and get kicked off your insurance.

All sorts of bad things can happen if you let your life slack and get out of control.

Taming the “Angry Birds problem” on your own is easier said than done. You may need to rely on friends, family members, and trusted and independent advisors, like the team at your North Carolina social security disability law firm, to introduce you to best practices and help to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, your financial affairs, your mental health, and your rehabilitation plan.

More web resources:

Addicted to Angry Birds?

When You Are Sick, It Can Be a Downward Spiral.

Long-Term Solutions for Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Elsewhere

January 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Pundits, economists, politicians, and prognosticators of every stripe have concluded that social security disability in North Carolina and elsewhere is on the fast track to fiscal disaster. Various forecasts suggest, for instance, that the program could be out of money in just a few years. Even the most rosy-eyed projections conclude that social security disability in North Carolina is in for some hard times.

As we covered earlier on this blog, the reasons for the stresses in the Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) systems are manifold. They might include:

•    The surge of retirees as the baby boomer generation stops working;
•    The increased life expectancy of elderly Americans;
•    The expensive costs of end-of-life care;
•    The poor dietary and exercise habits of Americans;
•    Inept management of government programs;
•    Inadequate producer base – not enough people are working to supply money for the system;
•    The general breakdown of the world financial system.

Clearly, the system is strained. But are we making a mountain out of a mole hill? Is it possible that some “white knight” will save our disability systems from these rampaging problems? If so, what might these solutions be, and when will they come?

Here are some possibilities:

•    A surprising economic turnaround both globally and domestically generates a big payday for the social security disability coffers, blunting the negative effects;
•    A sudden and massive positive change in the American diet/exercise regimen turns the tide on the diabetes and obesity epidemics and relieves significant strain on the healthcare system;
•    A political comprise is worked out to ratchet up certain restrictions on the program to make sure that only people who really need the money can get the money;
•    Policymakers discover ways to radically save money on other programs (e.g. domestic energy, military spending, etc.) and the excess money goes to the SSD system;
•    A Manhattan Project-like taskforce convenes to solve the social security crisis in America and comes up with other powerful solutions that differ and defray costs beyond what the doomsdayers have deemed possible.

For help with your personal benefit situation, connect with an experienced and deeply knowledgeable social security disability in North Carolina law firm.

More Web Resources:

Can Anything Save Social Security?

Doomsday Predictions Are Often Wrong

Regaining Self-Reliance after Being out on Social Security Disability in North Carolina

January 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

While you’ve been off of work on Social Security Disability in North Carolina, South Carolina, or elsewhere, you may have developed a subtle but potentially poisonous lack of self-confidence and self-reliance.

This dependency has nothing to do with your intrinsic will power, self-esteem, or anything else about your personality. It’s entirely situational. Countless psychological studies show that one’s immediate environment (including one’s thoughts) have profound, life-changing effects on behaviors, attitudes, activity levels, emotional resilience, etc.

The long and short of it is: If you’ve been on a Social Security Disability in North Carolina (or even if you’ve just been sick and are thinking about applying to the SSD program), you may have allowed certain potentially destructive beliefs about your own reliance to creep in. These beliefs may prevent you from taking action to get the help necessary to overcome your obstacles.

Without self-reliance, you may fall victim to marketers eager to sell “out of the box” solutions to your problems. You may come to believe that you are more dependent than you actually are on people like caregivers, doctors, solution marketers, friends, and family members. While it’s great to lean on other people for help, you are ultimately the person who cares about your fate the most. Indeed, the more actively you’re involved with your own health, well-being, and financial matters, the more you can shape your world.

Regaining Yourself Self-Reliance

If you’ve been battered and bruised by a string of a misfortunes, such as a lost job, an illness, a business failure, etc., you can still change for the better. Regaining self-reliance and self-confidence is not something that happens overnight. It is a process. Just like you cannot “lose” all your self-confidence and self-reliance overnight; so, too, can’t you regain it in a night or with two weeks of dedicated work. It’s going to take time.

The fact that you have access to the Internet means you have access to a practically limitless amount of free information about how to reboot your self-confidence and self-reliance. Don’t worry about finding the perfect plan or approach or methodology. And don’t stress about trying to “fix yourself” in one fell swoop. Instead, picture the image of a large heavy flywheel. Imagine you are trying to push this flywheel around in a clockwise direction. At first, it’s slow going. But as the momentum builds, the flywheel spins faster and faster. Eventually, it’s going so fast that it’s practically effortless to keep it spinning. Think of the flywheel in our analogy to self-confidence and self-reliance. The first few pushes will be hard. No one push “makes it happen.” But over time, if you persist and push in the right direction, you will make substantial progress.

A North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can help you reach your goals.

More Web Resources:

Jim Collins’ Flywheel Metaphor for Business Success.

Essay on Self-Reliance

How and When Will North Carolina Social Security Disability Reform Happen?

January 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The topic of Social Security Disability reform in North Carolina and elsewhere is a favorite of pundits, politicians, financial analysts, and anyone else with a policy bone to pick. This is understandable. According to government accounting figures, $0.21 out of every federal dollar is spent on social security. This makes the program the most expensive program of any kind anywhere in the world.

If you read the doomsday headlines, you will quickly become convinced that the Social Security System is headed for a financial train wreck. As we discussed in a recent blog post, Social Security Disability and other government programs face a perfect storm of problems. More people are retiring and/or relying on government assistance to make it from paycheck to paycheck. More people are getting fat and sick and diabetic. The baby-boomer generation is set to retire. The United States – and the rest of the industrial world – is sunk in a nasty, seemingly never-ending recession. And that’s just the beginning of our woes. Pundits can also point out massive structural problems and inefficiencies that will take generations to eliminate. It’s easy to get sucked into doomsday thinking.

However, it’s important to remember that systems like North Carolina Social Security Disability are complex. That means they are subject to both black swan and white swan effects. The black swan is an unexpected and game-changing bad event – like the financial meltdown of 2008 or the terrorist attacks of 9/11. White swan events are in some sense the opposite. They are positive surprises that unexpectedly solve problems.

For instance, in the last decade of the nineteenth century, pundits spoke in doomsday terms about all the horse traffic on the streets of New York City. All the horse dung, the horse-related deaths, etc. No one anticipated that, in the following decade, the automobile would revolutionize transportation and essentially eliminate horse travel – and all its problems.

Will a white swan-type event save social security? It’s impossible to tell in advance. But it would be foolish to discount the possibility that a white swan could swoop in at the eleventh hour and save us all from what the doomsdayers promise is certain calamity.

For help with your benefits case, connect with a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Black Swans and White Swans

Social Security Disability Doomsday Prophecy

North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits – the Natural Sequitur to Unemployment?

January 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are among the ranks of the 10.6 million Americans on Social Security Disability, whether you live in North Carolina or elsewhere, you are likely aware of how crowded the Social Security Disability (SSD) pig pile is getting.

A recent Wall Street Journal article confirmed what many people already understood: that SSD is often used by jobless Americans when they run out of unemployment benefits. Two studies cited by the Journal suggest that more and more hurt, injured, and elderly Americans are turning to SSD and similar programs to collect money to make ends meet, pay medical bills, etc.

Where is all this pressure on the system coming from?

Theories abound. Some pundits cite the fact that end-of-life care is now extravagantly expensive. The medical care the average person receives during the last six months of life is a gargantuan percentage of the total care that the person gets during his/her life time.

Other people cite the “graying” of the baby-boomer generation as a major pinch point on the system. Simply put, the baby-boomer generation is enormous, and the boomers are beginning to retire and extract more from the system that they pay into.

Another school of thought pins the blame on life expectancy. Back in the mid-1930s when engineers first developed the concept of social security, life expectancy was far more modest. Today, the average American lives until 78. You start collecting social security benefits in your early 60s. So that’s nearly two decades during which you extract money from the system without putting any value into it. That, say pundits, is a recipe for long-term financial disaster.

Oh. Let’s not forget to throw into the mix concerns about the SSD program’s management, rules and regulations, insurance industry shenanigans, etc.

One can even entertain more far flung and exotic theories. For instance, emergent research suggests that Americans’ sweet tooth may be responsible for a staggering number of chronic diseases as well as the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Our poor dietary habits have stressed our country’s medical and financial infrastructures to the breaking point, and the Social Security Disability crisis is simply one tentacle of this much larger crisis.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with benefits, you probably care less about these grand theories than about getting fair treatment and good help now. Connect with a North Carolina Social Security Disability Law Firm to explore your rights and collect what you are owed.

More Web Resources

Unemployed Turn to Social Security Disability Benefits

10.6 million Social Security Disability Beneficiaries… and Counting!

 
 

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