June 2012

How to Stretch Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits

June 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’re in a tooth and nail fight for Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina; or you’re just beginning to investigate your options for how to protect your nest egg in the wake of a injury or scary medical diagnosis, you need to prioritize getting your financial situation under control. Many beneficiaries (or would be beneficiaries) make a grievous mistake here, however. They focus extensively and almost exclusively on getting benefits… without really looking at how those benefits might interplay with the rest of their financial plans.

By analyzing your budget/financial situation carefully, you’ll almost certainly find inefficiencies — places where improvements can help you stretch the value of your income. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has a lot of experience helping people like you, who are struggling to collect Social Security Disability benefits in Charlotte and elsewhere. We can provide a free consultation about how you might best proceed – and give you other resources to get going on your quest.

In the meantime, consider these practical tips about how to slash your budget/boost your income while you are in this tender state, where you don’t have a lot of money to spend, and you don’t have a lot of energy/time to earn:

    Cut out “unnutritious” foods from your diet. For instance, stop buying soda, potato chips, desserts, etc and focus on real, nutritious foods like healthy meats and fruits and vegetables. You will save more, eat better, and hopefully enjoy the nourishing benefits that come with eliminating junk.

•    Speak to a professional financial consultant. Yes, you probably will have to pay money for the help. But if you find a good person, that person should be able to save you more money over the long-term than you will pay out for the consultation. If not, you haven’t found the right person!

•    Assess stuff that “really sticks out” such as a high heating bill, high cable bill, or whatever. Ask yourself whether you really need that service. If not, cut it. If so, brainstorm ways to get the price down. For instance, you might want to ask your cell provider if you can get a loyalty discount.

•    Remember: what gets measured gets managed. If you notice a recurring, annoying expense – such as your electricity or gas bill – measure that number on a weekly or monthly basis and strive to get it down. You don’t have to get it down instantly. Incremental progress is still good. But MEASURE.

•    Be realistic about both your options and your opportunities. Yes, it would be nice if you could find a job that paid just as well as your old job. But that may not be possible. Accept reality as the new starting point and then go from there.

•    Remember: this is a marathon; it’s not a sprint. Even if a sudden accident threw you off your game and created these sudden financial stresses, the road back to good physical and financial health may not be swift. Accept that. Strive for incremental progress. Small positive goals, regularly achieved, will make you feel better and help you feel like you’re making progress towards a better life.

Embracing a Paradox about North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits

June 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

What’s the best way to acquire, spend, and enrich your life vis-à-vis your North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits?

This question holds powerful subtleties worth study.

In fact, the entire quest for Social Security Disability is possibly best met by embracing a paradoxical mindset. On the one hand, you need to pursue your benefits as vigorously as possibly – ideally with the help of an experienced team, like the folks here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo. On the other hand, however, you want to position yourself – and your finances – in a way that minimizes any negative impacts a bad outcome might yield for you.

Here is why this paradox possibly works:

It deals in reality

Your reality is that you are short of funds, possibly unable to work, possibly facing mounting medical bills, and challenged in many other ways. The more assets that you can collect, the better. Therefore, if an insurance company is causing you hassle, or if you’ve been stumped by an Administrative Law Judge hearing or problems at Reconsideration or whatever, you must aggressively go after your Charlotte Social Security Disability benefits.

It provides peace of mind

While it’s important to pursue benefits aggressively, however, if you become dependent on them – psychologically or otherwise – or, worse, dependent upon their promise – you surrender control over your life and your destiny. That’s damaging for a number of reasons. Psychologically speaking, a loss of control over your fate can make you less motivated. It can also hurt your immune system and make you more dependent on other people or entities.

Hidden “shortcuts” to resourceful living

Once you embrace the paradox that you need to push hard for benefits and also make yourself immune to the results, you then must look for ways to be resourceful about your situation. For instance, what could you do to slash your budget right now to make yourself less vulnerable, financially? Could you move in with a friend or a family member? Could you make your home heating system more efficient? Could you tap into some other asset or cancel vacation plans to reduce your expenses? Conversely, could you take on extra work to boost your income stream?

It’s really hard to work through these options on your own, particularly if you’re mired in a tough medical situation, unable to think clearly, and generally scared by your benefits quandary. That’s why outside resources can be so helpful.

The Dismantling of Al Qaeda: Lessons for North Carolina Social Security Disability Beneficiaries

June 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are struggling with Reconsideration, an Administrative Law Judge hearing, or other aspects of the North Carolina social security disability quest, probably (hopefully) the last thing on your mind is international terrorism.

But often, we can learn critical lessons about our struggles by looking beyond our normal scope of inquiry. To that end, we’re going to take a look at a news development — regarding the American fight against the Al Qaeda terrorist network — and draw some pretty interesting lessons to help you gain perspective on your North Carolina social security disability issues.

Al-Libi reportedly killed in a drone strike – is U.S’s persistent mission finally paying off?

It’s now been over 11 years since the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on U.S. targets. Recent news from the front has been pretty positive, at least from the U.S.’s perspective. Two weeks ago, an unmanned U.S. predator drone killed Al-Libi, who reportedly had been elevated to Al Qaeda’s number two, after the U.S. killed Osama Bin Laden in a Special Forces raid last year.

The recent success in targeting the Al Qaeda leadership is notable for several reasons.

1.    First, it took the United States over a decade and millions of dollars to succeed.
2.    Secondly, the U.S. tactics and strategies changed many times over the course of the mission.
3.    Success happened due to perseverance and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.

Those three lessons are very important because they are universal lessons. They are applicable not only to geopolitical problems but also to smaller scale (but no less important) personal problems that we face.

Back to North Carolina social security disability benefits.

When we employ those 3 lessons to proper effect; we can often see great results. When you are dealing with an illness and financial problems and potential battles with the legal system and other indirect consequences of your social security disability struggle, you need to FOCUS on the long-term strategies and keep the faith.

Of course, you can avoid “reinventing the wheel” and potentially save yourself lots of time and effort. The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you surface and deal with all the underlying issues that may be holding you back from getting the benefits you need right now to make the situation easier.

Attorney Michael A. DeMayo Interviewed about Increase in Nursing Home Negligence

June 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you might be interested in a video interview with Charlotte personal injury attorney Michael A. DeMayo, conducted by StateLawTV. In the video, DeMayo addresses the appropriate course of action if someone suspects a parent or other family member is being neglected or abused in a nursing home.

Nursing home negligence seems to be appearing more and more frequently in the nightly news, leaving families of nursing facilities wondering about their loved ones. Of course, the reason that most individuals wind up in nursing homes is because they can no longer properly take care of themselves. To be taken advantage of, neglected or even actively abused by the very people who are hired to care for them is extremely distressing.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, they are seeing more cases of nursing home mistreatment. This has become a common occurrence in this day and age many care facilities, whether private or state run, are understaffed and simply cannot provide adequate care or supervision. Many residents of nursing facilities are left in the terrible position of being unable to help themselves or sometimes even inform family members of what’s happening.

Falls are one of the most common injuries that occur in nursing homes, along with bedsores resulting from a resident not being turned in the bed frequently enough. DeMayo law has even represented clients in cases where the neglect or abuse resulted in severe brain injury or even death.

When asked what course of action a family member should take if they suspect a loved one is being neglected or abused in a care facility, Michael DeMayo suggests immediately going in and speaking with the director of the facility, along with some of the care staff to try and find out what is going on. If the level of injury or abuse is blatant, he suggests moving the resident to a different facility, and perhaps even going so far as to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer.

When asked why a family might hire a personal injury lawyer even after they have moved their relative to a different facility, DeMayo explains that it’s not just to stop the abuse of one individual but to also put an end to what is occurring in this particular facility. If a loved one has suffered injuries or gross negligence, there is a potential cause of action that can be brought on behalf of the individual or of the family, if it turns out to be a case of wrongful death.

Says Michael DeMayo, “Speaking as someone who has a family member in a nursing home, if I ever get report or any inkling of neglect I would move him first. Second, I’d take it up immediately with the director of the nursing home.”

Click here to listen to this important and informative video interview with Michael A. DeMayo and Cindy Speaker of StateLawTV.

Charlotte Social Security Disability: Knowledge is Power…Or Is It?

June 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your doctor just diagnosed you with a scary, long-term illness, and you’re just beginning your quest for Charlotte social security disability benefits – or you’re farther along on the journey – you probably have been told something along the lines of the following:

“To make the most of your benefits — to ensure a maximum result with minimal effort — you need to educate yourself about the social security disability system.”

Of course, the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo agrees with this general principle. On the other hand, we also want to identify and alert you to a potential problem that “self education” can create.

That problem is sneaky, it’s not often talked about.

“Knowledge is power” is true… but only sometimes, and the power can be “double edged.”

Discussions about the nature of knowledge can easily turn into rambling conversations about epistemology and philosophy, and you obviously want answers and actionable help – not speculative philosophy!

But it’s important for us to discuss what knowledge actually does for us – and what it doesn’t do.

Knowledge can empower, in that when you know the rules of the game, you can often get results faster. This is why an experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm can often solve benefits-related problems that flummox “ordinary folk.” When you know how the system generally works, how to make insurance companies behave, how to talk to your doctor, and how to deal with setbacks, you are “empowered” in the sense that you can get a better likely outcome.

On the other hand, the wrong knowledge can actually take you in the wrong direction!

Being represented by a bad law firm, for instance, can often be worse than being represented by no law firm at all.

If you misunderstand a certain tactic – that is, if your knowledge is only partial instead of zero – you may take over confident measures that can get you in trouble. It’s like… a small child has no knowledge about how to drive a car, and so that child is not dangerous. But a teenager who just got her driver’s permit — who has some experience but not much! — can be quite dangerous.

Finally, too much knowledge is dangerous for other reasons. We need to filter what knowledge is important, what knowledge would be nice to know but not essential, and what knowledge we can ignore. Otherwise, we get overwhelmed and stressed.

This article is not meant to dissuade you from self-educating. Rather, it’s intended to highlight the importance of good guides.

North Carolina Social Security Disability: An Idea Grounded in the Laws of Nature and Evolution

June 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many critics of North Carolina social security disability suggest that our collective desire to “take care of” unwell or unfortunate members of society is somehow anomalous.

These critics will admit that modern human societies take care of the old and infirm. But they’ll build a case that, in the real world – back in our “hunter-gatherer” days or in the rest of the animal kingdom – “survival of the fittest” rules.

It’s hard to even describe this point of view as “Darwinian,” since it radically oversimplifies and misappreciates the entire paradigm that Darwin and his followers developed. But it’s an idea that has “legs” – in that, a lot of critics believe it or something akin to it. And if you or someone you love needs social security disability in Charlotte, you could find yourself unfairly attacked or criticized based on this pseudo-Darwinian argument.

We want you to be able to counter it effectively!

Here we go…

In point of fact, human hunter-gatherer societies often exhibited tremendous compassion to the old and infirm. Old sages, for instance, were often deemed to have magical or totemic powers and won the respect of their tribes, even if they could no longer work (e.g. sew oats, harvest, kill wild boars, et cetera).

Likewise, examples of this kind of altruism abound in the animal kingdom. One of the most graceful illustrations of this was on display during an episode of the beautiful documentary, Frozen Planet, which depicts life in the Arctic and the Antarctic regions of our planet. In one scene, two wolves are hunting down a group of buffalo up in the Taiga in the Arctic. The wolves pry away a small, helpless buffalo and attack him. It looks like the buffalo will be finished. But then the herd charges back and surrounds their young, wounded mate and repulses the wolf attackers.

It turns out, these buffalos not only protect the young and infirm but also the elderly.

In other words, this “collective obligation to the individual” is a deep and diverse and powerful feature of nature. Altruism arises out of evolution – it’s not an aberration from it! And that’s such an important point to consider.

Of course, these theoretical concerns are probably less on your mind than more practical considerations, such as: how can I get benefits? How can I deal with my unfair insurer? What should I do about my career? How do I deal with the bureaucracy? Et cetera.

For help with that, look to the team at DeMayo Law for a clear-headed, free case evaluation.

Shooting Down Stereotypes About Social Security Disability in Charlotte (and Elsewhere)

June 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

What does the life of a typical Charlotte-based social security disability beneficiary look like?

Stereotypes here abound. For instance, you may believe that most people who rely on government benefits are poor or elderly or both. Not the case! Many people who need benefits are relatively young, in the prime of life, and substantially above the poverty level.

In other words, the diversity of beneficiaries disputes the stereotype most of us hold.

Here’s another yucky stereotype: that people who utilize government benefits programs are somehow lazy or entitled or otherwise trying to “milk” the system.

Look: the United States is a fairly libertarian country. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with our spirit of frontiersmanship, independence, and “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. These are great and essential American values.

And it’s also true that there are definitely some people who DO take advantage of certain assistance programs… and even try to cheat or bend the rules to minimize the effort they need to do.

But the vast majority of people who need this kind of help, actually do need it!

If you or someone know has been rendered sick or injured – unable to work, unable to take care of life’s essentials, unable to even enjoy your time here – you should take umbrage at that stereotype.

Protect yourself against it! Tune out anyone or any “voice of authority” that generalizes or demeans you or your situation.

Stereotype #3: Smart, effective, will-powered-infused people can solve most of their social security disability problems on their own.

Yes, it helps to be smart and experienced. Yes, it helps to have willpower. Yes, it helps to be strategic in your goals.

But your problems may be diverse! And you may not have the skills or knowledge or relationships to get done what needs to get done, even if you’re smart, committed and experienced.

Fortunately, by reaching out to a seasoned and results-driven Charlotte social security disability law firm, like the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, you can take that courageous first step towards getting those resources. That way, you can maximize your chances of getting the benefits you need, and more broadly, of getting your life back on track.

Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo Offer Free Book for Accident Victims

June 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

This post is an invitation for readers to download Attorney Michael A. DeMayo’s book, Carolina Injury Law: A Reference Guide for Accident Victims FREE from the DeMayo Law website. Michael DeMayo wrote this book as an introduction to personal injury law for victims of devastating accidents.

Although the book provides an in depth look at Carolina injury law, it is written with the average person in mind. It presents basic concepts someone without any legal experience can grasp. The book also functions as a reference guide for those who are only slightly injured and plan to handle their claim without legal representation.

As DeMayo or any personal injury attorney will tell you, there are many instances when someone is slightly injured in an auto accident, they go to the hospital, get treated, and go home to heal. Although they might not need an attorney to represent them, they will still have to deal with an insurance company for damages.

In this type of situation, a layperson with no legal training is pitted against a business whose bottom line is making money, not giving it away. Although average citizens certainly can and do effectively handle accident and injury claims themselves, there are various “do’s” and “don’ts” that will make a huge difference to the outcome.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, we frequently hear of cases “gone wrong” when an average person with no particular knowledge of injury law or dealing with insurance companies find themselves on the losing end of an accident settlement. We hear of victims innocently making the wrong decision, or no decision – much to their own detriment.

Accident victims have many unanswered questions and are forced to make decisions without the necessary information. These decisions can adversely affect the amount of damages they may receive, if they don’t know the correct decision to make. Carolina Injury Law strives to give people the information they need to make the best possible decisions.

If you’ve been in an accident and want to know what you are about to face, the book presents a general overview of the process that goes into motion the minute you are injured in an accident along with a step-by-step explanation of the settlement process.

However, Michael A. DeMayo wants to make it clear that although the book is a helpful and comprehensive reference manual, it will not give you a legal degree or cover every possible circumstance. In cases of serious injury, you are still better off hiring a personal injury attorney with experience in the type of injury you have suffered.

Carolina Injury Law was written for you!

We invite you to take full advantage of this book if you’ve been in an accident and have questions or concerns. You can download it FREE or if you prefer reading a real book that you can hold in your hands, it is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

If your situation is such that you can neither download this reference guide or purchase it from Amazon, we invite you to contact our offices for a complimentary copy.

Not Eligible for Compassionate Allowances: the Frustration of It All

June 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The struggle to get North Carolina social security disability benefits is becoming more and more competitive, as more people flow into the queue and the bureaucracy gets overloaded. This is frustrating news. And if you are sick or seriously injured, your need for help may be bordering on the desperate.

The government provides a number of ways to shortcut the typical waiting process. We’ve discussed one of them in the past – the Compassionate Allowances program – which gives people with certain diseases, such as late stage cancer, the ability to “jump the queue.”

But what if you don’t qualify?

Feelings of regret, anger, and frustration can easily result. So what should you do? First of all, you want to avoid letting these negative feelings consume you. There can be emotional repercussions, if you allow yourself to get too depressed or frustrated.

If you feel hopeless or depressed, you will be less likely to take positive action, find resources that can help you, and articulate your problems clearly, so you can get your needs met. There can also be physical repercussions. When you feel depressed and defeated, you may experience stress and thus flood your body with a lot of cortisol (the stress hormone). This can then cause problems. You may stop eating well; you may stop getting enough sunshine; you may not sleep regularly. All these indirect problems can then compound not only your medical situation but also your other problems.

The point is simple: start thinking rationally and reaching out for good help. The team here at DeMayo Law is here to get your started.

Making progress requires more than just understanding where you are and where you would like to be – with clear eyes. It also requires that you frame your situation in a positive, appealing way. So ask yourself some questions. How do you want to talk to yourself about your social security disability concerns, in a way that serves your life and helps you achieve your goals?

Do you want to say to yourself, repeatedly, “this is so unfair! I can’t believe this is happening to me! This is so unfair! This system is against me!” Or do you want to say things to the effect of “Boy, I really wish things were different, and I am in a lot of pain and anger because of what has happened. But I want to leverage that pain to make a positive difference in my life and do my best to meet my needs.”

Which one of those internal scripts do you think, when replayed over, over, and over again in your head, will lead to better results over the long term?

What If Your Quest for Your Social Security Disability Benefits in Charlotte Totally, Utterly Fails?

June 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s the question you need to ask yourself but probably don’t want to: what will happen if you don’t get a single dime from social security disability?

What would you do? How would you survive? How would you feel? Where would you next turn for help?

We bring these questions up not to make you feel uncomfortable or to give you the impression that your situation is unwinnable. Quite to the contrary. With the appropriate help from outside resources, like the team here at Michael A. DeMayo’s North Carolina social security disability law firm, you may discover that your situation is easier and simpler than you had realized.

But you never know.

And that’s why we collectively need to have this conversation. Why visit, even fleetingly, these “worst case scenarios”? The answer has to do with good planning. And also it has to do with issues of control. If you do not have a plan B – if you have not thought through the ramifications of what might happen if you do not succeed with your mission – then the stakes for you will feel higher than they actually might be.

So it’s not that your benefits quest is unimportant! But if you view it as an “all or nothing” “life or death” situation, you will feel more stressed throughout the process. You might also make impulsive decisions, which could ultimately endanger your chances of getting the best results. Unnecessary fears can paralyze us, cause us to stiffen up, and cause us to react with more stress than the moment requires.

Productivity author David Allen talks about trying to achieve a state of “Mind like Water,” where you react in a way that’s perfectly appropriate to the situation. In other words, you don’t want to underreact to a problem in your life. But you don’t want to overreact, either. You want that perfect reaction – just enough, but not too much.

This brings us back to the question of what you might do if you don’t get the results you want. In actual reality, if you don’t achieve your goals, you will almost certainly find ways around your problems. Let’s say you only get half the benefits that you crave. You will then find a way to either cut your costs, find help from somewhere else, or rejigger your budget and financial management plan to make things come together.

Life would go on, in other words — even if your situation would be less comfortable and less ideal than you want.

Just knowing on a visceral level that you will options can be incredibly freeing. This insight can help make the weeks and months ahead feel lighter and lead to more self compassionate.

North Carolina Social Security Disability: Against All Odds

June 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If your application for North Carolina social security disability gets rejected on first pass, the odds of your ultimately succeeding in collecting benefits to pay for your life, medical care, and other essentials are against you.

And that’s scary. Particularly if you suffer from a chronic condition or disease that you believe is destined to lead to death or permanent disability. Yes, you can avail yourself of powerful tools and resources (such as an experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm) to improve your odds and to help you through the process, financially, logistically, and even emotionally. But even still, as long as the uncertainty over your benefits lingers, you will likely feel some degree of tension, frustration, and even depression.

How do you deal with this “against all odds” frustration?

How do you make progress towards getting your benefits and otherwise piecing your life together and improving your medical condition without buckling under, given all the pressures you face from so many different directions?

As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, the answer boils down to a combination of realism and positivity. On the one hand, you want to acknowledge the obstacles in your way. On the other hand, you want to constantly be on the lookout for good things in your life and potential bright spots.

One very interesting methodology that might be useful for you that comes from, of all places, an internet marketing guru by the name of Rich Schefren. He developed a business theory called Theory of Constraints, which he has put to use to help business owners blast through their marketing obstacles. How is that relevant to North Carolina social security disability questions? Well, first a brief primer on the theory. Essentially, Schefren borrowed an idea from engineering. The idea is to first identify in very clear, crystallized terms a precise goal. For instance, if you run a business, you might want to say “I want to earn $45,000 by the end of the year from my new business.” For an SSD applicant, you might say: “I want a solid budget that’s going to ensure that I get all my medical bills paid for within three months, and I want a complete and thorough diagnosis of my condition done by the best doctors in the US.”

Instead of just plowing towards those goals — which is what most people do — you stop and think. You try to identify all the constraints blocking the goals from being true now. In other words, why don’t you have $45,000 right now from your business? Why don’t you have a complete and through medical diagnosis from the best doctors in the United States regarding your condition?

Once you start to think in these terms – identifying the constraints – you then figure out how to blow through those constraints in the fastest, smartest, and most efficient way possible. There is a lot more to this model, but it may be useful for you if you are stuck with something and you are frustrated by your options. Thinking in terms of the constraints in the system – the pinch points – the reasons why your ideal life is not true now – can help you side step some of the most intractable seeming problems in your life and make the quest to get SSD much more simple and efficient.

More Web Resources:

Theory of Constraints

Rich Schefren

North Carolina Social Security Disability Applicants – Doing More With Less

June 27, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are at the point where you have to apply for North Carolina Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to run your life, pay your bills, and manage the future, chances are that you are running on very limited resources. Perhaps you are permanently disabled, feeling sick, facing a frustrating and tenuous medical path forward, burdened by financial pressures, feeling alone in your fight, and feeling generally overwhelmed by your state of affairs and the obstacles that you face.

If you feel some or all or even any of those feelings, you are not alone. These feelings of rage, frustration, depression, and anxiety are common among North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants. The question you have to deal with is: How can you make the most with the hem that you been dealt?

It’s easy for SSD beneficiaries to take less than constructive mindsets. You can wallow and self pity, get mad at government programs, get frustrated with your friends and family and doctors for failing to provide medical support, etc. And these feelings may or may not be justified. But that’s in many ways beside the point. The real question is: What is true now about your circumstances? What’s frustrating you about your circumstances? How would you like your circumstances to change? In order to maximize your resources, you need to have clear and coherent answers to these questions. Otherwise, it’s easy to wind up wasting good resources without making the kind of progress you want. On the other hand, once you have defined what you want to be true about your situation, you can then go about creating conditions even on a shoestring budget, even while you are dealing with a difficult diagnosis, even while you lack a significant social support system – to better yourself. It all begins with clarity.

So what’s the secret for getting clear? Step one is often simply to figure out what’s on your mind right now. The most difficult and frustrating problems you face are often never far from our thoughts. So one potentially quite useful exercise might be to spend about two hours drafting every single pressing issue on your mind down – no matter how trivial, no matter how big. Productivity theorist David Allen calls this collecting “open loops” – anything that has a pull on your attention. Once you have a complete and thorough collection of “open loops” there are techniques and systems and processes you can use (such as Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology to comb through them, analyze them, and otherwise wrangle with them. But even if you don’t go any further than just doing the simple exercise of writing things down, you can and almost certainly will feel more relaxed, less stressed out, and more confident that you can deal with what’s in front of you. Because truth be told, for most people it’s not a lack of resources that causes problems – it’s a lack of clarity – a lack of seeing all that we’ve committed to, consciously and unconsciously.

If you need help with a benefits issue, connect with a qualified North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to get clear on your rights and resources.

More Web Resources:

open loops

What is true now – facing reality

Dealing with the North Carolina Social Security Disability Haters

June 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In an ideal world, anyone who needs North Carolina social security disability to pay for medical care, living expenses, and other costs while recuperating from an injury or illness would be treated with dignity and respect by the community. Unfortunately, the real world often doesn’t work this way. Indeed, if you do have to take SSD or (Supplementary Security Income – (SSI), odds are likely that you will encounter at least one or two salty critics of the social security program who will come either subtly or directly, blame you for systemic problems that are obviously out of your control. For instance, someone who has recently lost a job due to downsizing economy – or who has dealt with his or her own problems with the medical system – may resent that you are receiving any money from the government or problems receiving better care than he or she has gotten.

Obviously, you are not responsible for the state of the North Carolina social security disability system, nor should you be expected to solve multi-billion dollar, multi-generational financial crisis. Nor should you be required to justify to strangers (or even friends and colleagues) why you need the money so desperately do. So what should you do in these kinds of confrontations?

First of all, strive to listen to the feelings and needs that you feel and that your adversary exhibits. Try to look beyond the blame, judgment, and guilt trip and focus instead on what Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (founder of a school of thought known as Nonviolent Communication) would describe as “what’s alive” in both you and the other person.

For instance, say someone criticizes you for taking “too much” money from state or federal government. Instead of hearing the judgment, focus instead on what the person might be needing or feeling. For instance, maybe he is upset because he needs medical care, and that need is not being met. Alternatively (and complementarily), listen to your own feelings and needs. May be that comment sparks a reaction of anger, frustration, and even fear because you have a need for safety and for resources for medical care.

Of course, these and other problems will inevitably crop up as you move forward with your recovery (ideally). A North Carolina social security disability law firm can help you preserve your rights, introduce you to resources you might not know about otherwise, and help you prevent other common issues and struggles that many SSD beneficiaries experience.

More Web Resources:

Nonviolent Communication

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg

North Carolina Social Security Disability and the Power of Focusing on What You Want

June 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants – whether they wind up successful at acquiring benefits or not – often feel like victims in more than one areas of their lives. First of all, SSD applicants likely suffer serious physical discomfort due to their injuries/illnesses, and these applicants often must undergo extensive, painful, and scary diagnostic procedures, treatments, and recuperation paths. But it’s not just the physical/medical stresses that make life so difficult for North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants. It’s also the financial stresses, the emotional frustrations, the sense of isolation, the feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control, the fear, and info overload they get when they start reading about possible ways to shortcut their problems and make the system respond better for them.

This blog has talked extensively about how resources, like a trustworthy, experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, can play a vital role in helping struggling applicants get the results they seek. But ultimately, you are responsible for your own path through life. And no coach, law firm, good Samaritan, relative, or even spouse can identify a totally clear and perfectly calibrated step-by-step life plan.

Of course, no one would dispute this. But if you are struggling with uncertainties and frustrations (like we talked about above), you likely do need some help and guidance. But it’s much better if you can figure out how to derive some guidance for yourself instead of having to rely constantly on other people to tell you what to do and how to do it.

One of the best methods of clarifying what you need involves goal setting. You might have heard this a million times, but it’s well worth repeating. When your brain focuses on a goal, it automatically leverages subconscious mechanisms to get you there. The key is putting in mental effort into getting clarity on what you want – writing it down (or having someone else write it down, if you are too sick or injured), and then visualizing this repeatedly, every morning and night, if need be, until it essentially burns into your brain, and your subconscious believes you will end up there. Obviously, you want to this vision to be a positive one. But if you don’t spend the time to cultivate a positive vision, you may accidentally derive a negative vision – one that ends with you failing in your quest for SSD benefits, sicker than before, friendless, resourceless, etc. No one wants this. But if you don’t take the time to elucidate and clarify what you want – not just out of your experience with the SSD application but with other areas of your life – chances are that you will fall into default beliefs that may not be resourceful for you.

More Web Resources:

Goal Setting

Clarity = Success

North Carolina Social Security Disability – Gaining Clarity, Part II

June 17, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In our last post, we talked about how North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants really do need clear goals to make progress, not just in terms of collecting the money they need to live their lives, but also in terms of managing the multiple other “fires” in their lives, including frustrations with money, relatives, medical problems, information overload, you name it.

In today’s post, we are going to break down one technique that can really help North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants develop clear outcomes that they can use to set goals and begin to make serious progress towards them.

Step 1. Purpose

Before you start, you have to know WHY you are doing something. Why do you want to get better medical treatment? What’s driving you to seek benefits? Believe it or not, very few people understand the purpose of why they do things, so getting clear about this first is going to put you leaps and bounds ahead of the pack.

Step 2. Principles

These are the guidelines for how you do or do not want to go about your task. Author David Allen (who came up with this model in his landmark book, Getting Things Done) talked about how to derive your principles simply by filling in the following sentence stem: “I would give anyone else full permission to do this project as long as they….” Whatever you fill in that sentence will be your principles. Don’t spend a lot of time deriving them – just write them down. Try to come up with seven or eight answers to the stem.

Step 3. Vision

Visualize the success of the project from long past its completion. In other words, say it’s six months after you’ve succeeded doing this exercise. Imagine yourself looking back. What went right? How did it go right? Think about all the exciting, wonderful, fulfilling features of this future. Write them down. Don’t worry about organizing them yet. That’s going to be a step that comes later. Just flesh out the vision as much as you can.

Step 4. Brainstorming

Once you have your vision in place, it’s times to brainstorm possible ways to get there. Again, don’t worry about getting it right or censoring yourself. Just go for volume. Using tools called “mind maps” can help you here. Try to get as many ideas on the table as possible.

Step 5. Organization

Now, it’s time to put on a different mental hat and sort your ideas. What needs to come first, second, third? What steps can be skipped? How can you do this the fastest? You are looking to build a bridge to your vision by using all the stuff that you came up with in your brainstorming.

Step 6. Develop an action plan

Figuring out your “next actions” is the final part of the process. What physical things in the world do you need to do to move forward on each of the sequences that you developed in step five?

This blog simply sketches out the model that David Allen developed in detail in “Getting Things Done” but hopefully it can at least get you thinking about a new technique for getting clear about your goals, so you can make better practical decisions.

If you need help with any aspect of the SSD application process, don’t “go it alone” – connect with a reputable, experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to help you move forward.

More Web Resources:

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done Vertical Planning

North Carolina Social Security Disability Dilemma

June 15, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants face unparallel challenges, frustrations, and potential disappointments. Not only must they contend with serious illness or injury – perhaps a fatal or at least very depressing diagnosis – but they also must simultaneously juggle financial, logistical, and emotional challenges on top of the physical ones.

Google search forums devoted to topics like North Carolina Social Security Disability, and you will hear a common refrain from people trying to help: “Keep a positive attitude.” And it’s true that searching for the bright side of things – looking for the silver lining in the dark ominous clouds – can yield up serious and tangible benefits.

The brain’s reticular activating center (RAC) is a very powerful tool. Essentially, when you focus on a particular topic, mood, or even color, your brain will actually start screening for that stimulus. You can do a little self-experiment to prove this. Think about the color green. Now look around your surroundings. Do green items in your field of view suddenly become prominent? For instance, maybe there are leaves on a tree outside your window that you just suddenly noticed or a green pad of paper near your desk that caught your eye.

The same thing might be true of your mood. If you think happy thoughts, the world will seem a lot happier. So this is a reason why SSD applicants should strive to look on the bright side.

On the other hand, if you ignore your realities and live in fantasyland, you could run a ground of significant frustrations. You need to pay attention to the deadlines for your application. As a patient, you must keep up with your medical history and alert your physician if something doesn’t seem right about the care you are getting. So you need to strike a balance – you want to look at world through rose-colored glasses… but not so rose-colored that they blind your vision.

You may be able to grapple with this dilemma on your own. But why not avail yourself of better resources? A North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can explain your rights, potential benefits, and possible hurdles.

More Web Resources:

Reticular Activating System

Reality Based Thinking

Will North Carolina Social Security Disability Coverage Be “Enough”?

June 9, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A June 1st editorial in the Boston Globe raised an intriguing question that has relevance for potential North Carolina social security disability claimants: Will disability benefits be “enough”?

Elliot Raphaelson, a correspondent for the Globe, phrased the issue this way: “According to Money Magazine, chances are almost 20% that an employee will be disabled for at least a year sometime during his or her working life. Meanwhile, corporations are reducing their percentage of employees who are covered with long-term disability insurance. Apparently, only 48% of US companies offered this coverage in 2009.” He warns: “you should not depend on social security disability. To qualify you must be unable to work in any substantial job… you will not qualify for benefits for at least five months after the event that disables you. And you will not be approved unless the doctor certifies your disability will last at least a year.” Raphaelson also points out that approximately 2/3rds of social security disability applicants are turned down at first.

A lot of the issues that he and other pundits raise about the limits of North Carolina social security disability are crucial. But it’s also vital to scrutinize the use of the word “depend.” According to some philosophers of social security disability, no one should ever come to “depend” on government entitlement programs like SSD, SSI, workers’ comp, and unemployment. These programs simply serve to give hurt, injured, and otherwise disadvantaged people support structures to get back on their feet.

Yes, the SSD application process should be a stress free, easy, and simple process. In theory, everyone would like that. In practice, however, claimants often need to rely on the services of experienced North Carolina social security disability law firms to get a fair benefits arrangement and/or to move the appeals process forward per an equitable and realistic timeframe.

In summary: are there challenges to getting SSD and SSI? Absolutely. Is the system set up in a fair and equitable way? Not by a long shot, according to many independent reviews. Will complaining about the system’s inadequacies resolve your personal crises? Not likely. Are there proactive and constructive ways to approach your issues to get better results? Again – absolutely.

When you are sick, injured, or otherwise incapacitated, you may begin to see the world from a kind of scarcity mindset. So it may be bit difficult for you at first to detect potential support structures, programs, and people who can help you. That’s why it’s so important to turn to respected, reputable, and experienced guides, like a trusted North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

If you need disability coverage, Social Security probably won’t be enough


Define Disability

Is “Reform Now” the Answer to North Carolina Social Security Disability Challenges?

June 7, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Is “fixing” the social security system the best chance to ensure that future generations will enjoy North Carolina social security disability benefits? In a widely discussed editorial in Politico (6/6/11), the AARP’s former CEO, Bill Novelli, argues the case.

Bemoaning that “The country is in an enormous debt-and-deficit morass,” Novelli claims that “if we ever needed courage, bipartisanship and political will, the time is now, as we struggle to deal with the impending crisis.” Novelli points out that social security is “paying out more than it takes in and is projected to deplete its reserves in just over 25-years. Choosing to ignore the program’s imbalance means workers currently under the age of 40 will see their benefits cut by 22% when they retire. Do we really want to leave that legacy to younger generations?”

A more relevant question for hurt, injured, and sick North Carolinians is: How will reform (or failure to reform) ultimately impact North Carolina social security disability? If the program essentially runs out of money, who will be left holding the bag? And when? Unfortunately, these speculative questions are difficult to answer with any degree of accuracy, even with all the excellent data collection and sharing tools we’ve developed.

You might think that experts could just take a look at how the social security programs evolved and make extrapolations based on those numbers. For instance, if we could simply just cut the program spend by, say, 20%, than maybe we could extend the program’s solvency by another 10-years. But this kind of thinking is surprisingly very, very wrong. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future performance.

Crises in the fiscal arena have a way of forming, as if out of nothing, and then dissolving just as quickly and unexpectedly. For instance, consider New York City at the turn of the 20th Century. Newspaper editorialists at the time were in a frothing panic. Over what? All the horse traffic! Mounts of horse feces in the streets. The clickity-clack of wheels on the cobblestone creating terrible noise. Horse related accidents killing and injuring thousands a year. Et cetera. The intelligensia’s entire focus was on solving the horse traffic problems of the day. No one anticipated the advent of the automobile and all the sweeping changes, both good and bad, that it would bring for New York City traffic.

Likewise, it may be very difficult and premature to extrapolate from our current situation to the year 2037. What will change between now and then that might totally and fundamentally alter the game?

In the midst of all of this uncertainty, however, you need to make practical decisions about how to advocate for yourself and get the benefits you and your family need. An experienced and well regarded North Carolina social security disability law firm can help you identify practical and ethical solutions to your urgent benefit needs.

More Web Resources:

Bill Novelli SSD article in Politico

The Horse & the Urban Environment

Great News for North Carolina Social Security Disability Applicants: Federal Government Now Required to Write in Plain English!

June 2, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

President Obama just signed the Plain Writing Act, a powerful law that will undoubtedly help North Carolina social security disability applicants who get confused by the officious and generally weird sounding language used in government documents.

The Act is the culmination of years of effort by people like Annetta Cheek, the Chairwoman for the Center for Plain Language. Cheek worked for Vice President Al Gore on federal regulations writing. She summarized a core frustration that many North Carolina social security disability applicants have: “Most of what the government writes has too much stuff.”

According to an AP article on the Plain Writing Act, federal agencies, starting in October, must “start writing plainly in all new or substantially revised documents produced for the public. The government will still be allowed to write nonsensically to itself.”

Unfortunately, confused applicants will not be able to sue the federal government for continuing to be obtuse in the face of these new rules. Cheek, according to the AP, “predicts significant improvement” thanks to the law. Many ornate, legalistic or hard to “parse” words will be banished from documents, including “pursuant, promulgated, thereunder, commencing, in accordance with, herein, precluded, heretofore, evidenced and practicable to name just a sampling of the no-no’s.”

All that said, even if and when the government gets its act together to write to instructions in cleaner, clearer language, SSD and SSI applicants will likely have plenty of questions and confusions. A North Carolina Social Security disability law firm can help you identify and deal with those concerns and clarify precisely what you need to do, when you need to do it and how you need do it, so you can rest assured that you are taking the right actions to get and keep your benefits (or appeal a negative decision). This way, you can go back to living your life, focusing on recovery, and taking care of your family without forfeiting key benefits.

More Web Resources:

Center for Plain Language

Plain Writing Act

 
 

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