July 2012

Social Security Disability Benefits: Do You Really Need Them?

July 31, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It might even sound odd for a prominent North Carolina social security disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, to suggest that you might want to think carefully about whether to pursue government benefits, like Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income.

But stop and ask yourself: do you need government help?

Have the courage to ask this question. To deal effectively with a medical or financial problem, you must strive to cultivate your own resourcefulness. Obviously, if you’re really sick or injured — or if you’ve been tackled by a variety of horrific obligations and/or bad life events — you need a safety net to pull you back to equilibrium.

On the other hand, it can be all too easy for would-be beneficiaries to give up control over their fate. To pass off the responsibility for success to some other party, agency, government bureaucracy, etc.

When you hand over your fate like that, you empower other people… and disempower yourself.

Once you begin to believe that it’s someone else’s responsibility to “take care of you” – you then in some sense lose a certain capacity to take care of yourself.

So what mindset do you possess? Do you have a “resourceful” perspective or not? If not, why not?

Whether or not you ultimately go after Charlotte Social Security Disability benefits, you need to be thinking in terms of “what can I do to make my situation better/easier/more livable?” Because there is no one who is going to be more interested in your outcome than you. At the end of the day, you are living your life – no one can live it for you.

So take time to introspect and ask yourself questions like:

•    What can I do to eliminate some of my financial burdens?
•    How can I slash my budget to make my financial life easier?
•    What information do I need to get next to deal with my injury/illness?
•    Who can help me figure out what needs to be done?
•    What are the real constraints holding me back in my finances, life, work, relationships, and personal development?

Changing your mindset to become a more self-reliant and self responsible person is never easy – particularly if you face a major and urgent medical crisis. But there may be no more crucial time to acquire this mentality.

In some ways, the ideal situation is somewhat paradoxical: you want to accumulate resources to help you deal with your problems – on the other hand, simultaneously, you want to cultivate a capacity to “do things on your own.”

For help planning your next steps, connect with the Charlotte Social Security Disability law firm of DeMayo Law for a free case evaluation.

FDA Panel Sees “Little Use” for MOM Hip Replacements, Asks for Long Term Studies of Dangers

July 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Metal on metal (MOM) hip replacement devices are in the news again. An FDA panel that convened on June 27-28 concluded that they see few, if any reasons, to use these devices. According to the panel’s chair, Dr. William Rohr of Mencocino Coast District Hospital, “I do not use metal-on-metal hips, and I can see no reason to do so.”

Evidence continues to mount showing that these implants break down much earlier than other types of artificial hips they were intended to improve upon. Even more alarming, they also deteriorate, exposing patients to potentially hazardous levels of cobalt, chromium and other metals in the blood. Because of the danger of this metal toxicity, guidelines have been proposed for patients who have already received MOM hip replacements.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina defective hip replacement lawyers noted that the FDA has not yet mentioned taking these devices out of use. This is surprising, considering the multitude of recalls, the 17,000 reports to the FDA about problems caused by these devices, the thousands of lawsuits filed by victims of these implants and their panel’s own findings.

What does this mean to you, if you already have a MOM hip replacement?

We urge you to take this matter very seriously. If you are experiencing pain or inflammation in the hip, please see your doctor immediately for an X-ray as well as blood tests to determine the level of metals in your blood. The pain may be caused by metal particles which have ground off the implant and seeped into the joint. This can damage the surrounding tissue and the bone itself. If your doctor finds that the implant is breaking down too quickly or your health is being endangered by it, we recommend consulting a qualified defective hip implant attorney.

If you have a MOM hip replacement, the FDA panel recommends a yearly X-ray to monitor your situation, whether you are experiencing pain or not. However, this recommendation is weaker than others put in place overseas, such as in the United Kingdom, where regulators also recommend yearly blood tests to check for the presence of dangerous metal toxicity.

The ramifications of elevated metal in the bloodstream over long periods of time are as yet unknown, although preliminary studies suggest there may be links to various neurological problems and heart issues.

The FDA panel pointed out a couple of disturbing facts. There are problems with determining the levels of dangerous metals from common blood tests, and interpreting the results is not cut and dried. No standardized diagnostic kits even exist to test for levels of chromium.

The FDA has asked hip implant manufacturers to conduct long-term, follow-up studies of the over one hundred different MOM hips currently available. They are hoping the studies will provide answers to some important questions, including the effects on the human body of these metal particles. Obviously, a long term study could take a decade or more, leaving many patients at unnecessary risk.

If you have had an MOM hip replacement failure, or are experiencing other complications, we urge you to immediately seek expert medical help and legal help as well. Please contact our North Carolina hip implant law firm today. We provide free case evaluations to individuals experiencing complications from a DePuy or other MOM device.

Justice Roberts’ Surprising Move: Lesson for Your Social Security Disability Benefits Dilemma

July 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last week, in a stunning turn of events, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts – a Bush appointee – threw his vote in with SCOTUS’ “liberal wing” to save Obamacare by a five to four vote.

Roberts’ shocking decision threw conservative opponents to Obamacare for a loop. The reversal neatly illustrates a deep and powerful truth that can help you, if you or someone you care about is searching for a resolution to a North Carolina Social Security Disability problem.

Rather than dissect the Obamacare case – which is extremely intricate and obviously very politically charged – let’s focus on the most salient detail about the court’s ruling: very few people – including close case watchers – anticipated that the vote would happen as it did.

Most SCOTUS watchers focused on which way Justice Kennedy (the typical “swing vote”) would go. Would Kennedy side with the liberals or the conservatives? According to close observers of the case, Justice Kennedy had clearly been leaning towards the conservative wing.

Few anticipated that Roberts would “abandon” his conservative colleagues.

And this holds such an important and deep lesson! The lesson is that often the experts – the brilliant people who closely analyze a situation – can miss major clues about an outcome. Of course, in the aftermath, many insiders have gone on the record saying that they predicted that this would happen “all along”.

But really, what they are doing is reinventing their own narratives. Beware: this happens throughout life in different domains. Very few people anticipated that Al-Qaeda would attack the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, for instance. And very few people predicted that we would see a massive recession and the collapse of institutions like Lehman Brothers in 2008. Yes, sure, there were some accurate naysayers. But the experts’ record predicting at big events is generally not so great. Only “after do the fact” do they — and we — construct stories in our minds that make it seem is if these events were “inevitable.”

Here’s the bigger point. If the experts’ record at predicting the future is not so great, what might that mean about your own ability to predict the future? Assuming that you are not an expert in North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits, how accurate do you think your vision of how your case will play out might be?

This isn’t to say that you should abandon the advice of experts! Indeed, good resources, such as the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, can often help you solve problems that otherwise seem insolvable.

The bigger takeaway here is that your outcome may be less certain than you realize.

This is both good news and bad news. If you are a pessimist who believes that you are never going to get benefits — or that this may take months or years to settle — there is a likelihood that you are wrong. Conversely, if you think that your situation is simple — that it will only take a few days or few pieces of papers to sign — you also might be wrong. Embrace the uncertainty of your situation, and you will feel better and more prepared to handle whatever comes your way.

Are the Stories You’re Telling Yourself about Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Quest Accurate?

July 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In our last blog post, we talked about how the stories we tell ourselves about our Charlotte Social Security Disability journey can have a monumental impact — not only on our ability to get the benefits that we want but also on our general happiness and satisfaction with our outcome.

We highlighted why it’s so important to surface these subconscious stories and talked a bit about how negative, inaccurate thinking can influence our actions in the wrong direction. Bogus and overly pessimistic thinking can lead us to take desperate measures, choose the wrong people or companies that help us, etc.

But once you know the various stories that you are telling yourself, what’s the next step?

The next step is pretty clear: determine whether your stories are true! Odds are, many of the stories you have been telling yourself have kernels of truth, but they likely also include catastrophic or overly grandiose ideas.

For instance, you might have thoughts like “the system is going to screw me over.” Yes, the system can be unfair and difficult. But if you get good help from a seasoned Charlotte Social Security Disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, for instance, you can reduce the potential for unfairness. The catch is, you won’t likely take action towards retaining a good law firm if you believe the situation is hopeless!

It’s a good idea to go through each one of your stories and to assess it logically and objectively.

Get help from outside, objective sources, if possible. For instance, show your list to a family member or a friend you trust: get his or her take. If you have a law firm at your disposal, ask that team to vet your stories.

Once you have some realistic assessments, document them!

Ideally, you want a single sheet that lists all the subconscious stories that you tell yourself and also lists the “antidotes” to your inaccurate thinking. It’s very important to write this stuff down, since the brain has a funny way of playing with our perceptions.

One final point: once you have these answers written down, you need to review the document on a fairly regular basis – once a week or even once a day, if you’re really stressed out.

Over time, as you go through this process again and again – and it should be an iterative process, not just a “one-time thing” – you will find that you will develop new stories, as old stories phase out. Make a concerted effort over time to think realistically, and you will ultimately feel more and more in control of your situation and your life – irrespective of how your battle for benefits goes. And that’s the really exciting part! By becoming a more accurate thinker, you will feel less and less at the mercy of outside forces, like an insurance company or an administrative law judge.

The North Carolina Social Security Disability Stories We Tell Ourselves: How True Are They?

July 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’re a North Carolina worker just learning about Social Security Disability benefits in the wake of a scary medical diagnosis or a big injury; or you are someone who is already “knee deep” in the process, and you’re flailing to get a handle on what to do at Reconsideration or at an Administrative Law Judge hearing – you have likely told yourself many different stories about what your situation means and what will ultimately happen to you.

It’s probably worth it to surface these unconscious or subconscious stories and to evaluate whether the facts support the narrative.

What are some stories you might tell yourself?

•    “The only way I am going to “win” is to retain the very top most North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm in the universe”
•    “The system is so broken that, even if I succeed, I will wind up on a government benefits programs my entire life”
•    “It’s totally not fair! The Compassionate Allowances program allows someone with terminal cancer to “skip the line,” while I have to wait in the normal queue and suffer – what I have is nearly just as bad!”
•    And so on and so forth.

Odds are that these stories – or others like them – are deeply informing your quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits.

Odds are, too, that you have yet to consciously surface most of these stories – much less assess whether they are true or logical in some objective way. But don’t be fooled. These narratives are almost certainly informing your behaviors, habits, emotions about your case, etc.

For instance, say you hold a belief that your whole situation is “just unfair” — deep in your gut, you believe that “nothing is going to work” or that the system’s going to get the better of you. You might consciously try hard to get results, but you might subconsciously engage in behavior – or fail to take certain actions – that will torpedo your goals. A secret subterfuge.

Surfacing your Social Security Disability “stories” and getting to the truth about them

Rather than let these stories wreak havoc on your emotions – or on your potential for success – why not get real and get honest about what stories you are telling yourself.

Surfacing these unconscious tales is surprisingly easy.

Just get out a piece of paper or open a computer file and start writing about your situation. What concerns you about your benefits quest? What do you think will happen? Who should you trust and who shouldn’t you trust? Ask yourself diverse questions about the experience, so you can get the deepest read into your subconscious.

Spend a while just getting these ideas down on paper (or on a word document) and then bookmark this site and come back in two days; we’ll talk about techniques for assessing your stories for validity – and moving past the ones that you deem not to be “valid.”

A Fairytale North Carolina Social Security Disability Ending

July 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Who doesn’t like to believe in happy endings? If you or someone you care about has recently gotten a terrible diagnosis or has suffered an injury at work or elsewhere, you are probably hoping for a fairytale solution to your North Carolina social security disability problems.

It’s easy to understand why one might crave “bolt from the blue” assistance.

Practically nobody fully anticipates all the problems that come with being suddenly sick or injured. And even if your illness developed somewhat slowly – e.g. you’ve been struggling with fibromyalgia or chronic arthritis like symptoms for years before the pain got so bad that you couldn’t work — odds are that you’ve entered a new domain of intensity and diversity of problems.

These issues likely range all over the place and include budget problems, health issues, concerns about people under your care, worries about your career legacy and otherwise.

What the cynics will tell you.

The cynics will underline the difficulty of your journey and the potentially long odds against your success in various domains. For instance, if you are in your mid-60s, and you’ve had to quit your business due to a chronic condition like advanced diabetes, you will never reboot your career. So you need to play conservative with your money and time from here on out.

The cynics will use numbers and statistics to hammer home their points.

Why it’s important to believe in fairytales – but not to be a Pollyanna about it, either!

There is a reason why little kids love to imagine themselves as princesses, rock stars, and the like. It’s a very human reason. We need positive fantasies to fuel real world motivation. Even if we never reach the ideal – e.g. become an astronaut, win a noble prize, win first place in a marathon, etc – the positive vision fuels us to achieve self betterment.

What this means in a practical sense is that you can and should spend time envisioning a perfect, ideal solution to your North Carolina social security disability benefit situation. Taking the example we mentioned earlier … imagine that our 60 something year old developed a positive vision, in which he started his own company based on a hobby (e.g. woodworking) and started selling wares via the web.

Maybe he might not make a fortune doing it. He might not even succeed! But this positive vision would almost certainly spur him to take good action – to take better care of himself, to fight harder for his benefits, to live for something beyond that nihilistic vision of “play conservative from here on out.”

Getting the help you need to increase the likelihood of your fairytale coming true.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMeyo has a rich and diverse history of helping individuals who need benefits – and the caregivers of those individuals – solve, fight and win myriad battles. Find out more about us online, or call us today for a free consultation.

Over 20% of North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits to Be Cut??

July 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In just four years, Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina and elsewhere might be slashed by a dramatic 21%, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis.

That’s not the only stark news. Another study, conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), looked at over two decades’ worth of unemployment data; it found that Social Security Disability applications in North Carolina and elsewhere spikes by 10% whenever the unemployment rate goes up by just 1%.

Needless to say, conservative pundits and others who have serious reservations about the feasibility and structure of our nation’s entitlement programs are up in arms about the statistics. According to reports, eventually these programs will have to make concessions somewhere, and SSDI recipients will be among the first to see shrinkages.

Per projections, if Congress does nothing to change the trajectory or structure of these programs, by the year 2033, benefit cuts will need to be slashed by 25% across the board.

These numbers are scary, and the policy analysis can be incredibly “doomy and gloomy” – not exactly the optimism inspiring news that you need to get you through the day, if you’re dealing with back pain, a mental disorder, or a disease or physical ailments. You alone obviously cannot change behemoth institutions like SSDI – or even really understand in depth the philosophies critiquing and supporting the SSDI project.

Concentrate on what you can control and “let go” of stuff that you can’t control.

Your time, energy, and mental stamina are limited. You need to be focusing all your efforts right now on achieving a positive outcome for you and your family. That doesn’t mean burying your head in the sand with respect to these larger issues. But it does mean you need to focus.

Based on your current diagnosis and financial situation, what’s an ideal outcome for you? Get specific about how much money you need. Where do you want to live? How do you want to feel a year from now? Put your energy into mentally designing solutions and an ideal future. And then work on acquiring resources to help you turn that vision into reality.

For instance, the team at Michael A. DeMayo’s Law Offices is here to help if you have North Carolina Social Security Disability questions.

What Should Happen to a Same-Sex “Second Parent” Regarding His Or Her North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits?

July 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In May, voters in North Carolina approved a Constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. But the ban has not stopped six same-sex couples from striving to protect their civil rights and ensure North Carolina Social Security disability benefits (and other benefits) for their children.

The lead plaintiffs in the case, Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne, have argued that the ban on second parent adoption is unfair to children involved, because it prevents these children from collecting benefits from the second parent – such as veterans, life insurance, health insurance, and Social Security Disability.

According to NC law, step-parents are afforded these rights – that is, they can adopt. But back in December 2010, the NC Supreme Court reversed unmarried second parent adoptions, despite the fact that Washington DC and 20 other states allow the gay or lesbian partner of a legal parent to adopt.

This is obviously a morally and legally hotly contested issue in the Tar Heel State and elsewhere.

It’s useful to bring up this situation, however, and because it illustrates a critical point that many other pieces on North Carolina social security disability miss – which is that SSD benefits (or lack thereof) are just a component of a larger package.

In other words, your quest for benefits does not exist in a vacuum. There are other financial, medical, and relationship-related issues that you’re managing simultaneously. To the extent you can view your financial situation as one big system – as opposed to getting obsessed with the discrete elements of that system – is the extent that to which you should be able to find shortcuts to success.

For instance, let’s say that, even after working with a trusted and experienced law firm, like the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, you’re still unable to secure the benefits you want.

If you can see your quest in context, perhaps you can find other ways to meet your financial needs. For instance, maybe you can reduce your expenses or rely on a relative or friend to help you manage some of your struggle. The broader and more diverse the context of your quest, the more opportunities you will have to succeed.

Sobering Statistics about Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Beyond: Are We Spiraling into Disaster?

July 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

There is no shortage of critics of Social Security Disability in North Carolina and elsewhere.

The government benefits program is growing every year, and there are fewer and fewer people in the workforce to deposit money into the system.

Consider, for instance, Bureau of Labor Statistics from early 1990s, which ID-ed 120 million working Americans and 3,330,000 workers on federal disability. Back in 1992, there was basically one worker on disability for every 36 people working.

Fast forward 20 years later, to May 2012: 142 million Americans were employed, but 8.7 million workers were on disability. That’s nearly 2 people on disability for every 36 people working! P

The SSD program is funded by a payroll tax that workers and employers both pay into, at a rate of 1.8%. But despite all that income, the trust fund that supports SSDI has run a deficit for fiscal year 2009, 2010, and 2011 – and that deficit is growing every year.

What should you do, if you or a loved one needs benefits money to pay bills, get care, and generally keep your financial head above water?

If you’re worried that the crush of people in line for disability benefits might impede your chances, you might just be right.

Per the rules of Social Security Disability, you can qualify for benefits if you are unable to do the work you did prior to getting hurt/sick, can’t adjust to other gainful employment due to your illness/injury, and your disability is slated to last 12+ months or until your death.

Demonstrating that you are qualified can be tricky in and of itself. There may be an array of hidden obstacles along your path towards getting fair benefits and making the most of them. Empower yourself by getting a free and thorough consultation with the experienced team here at the North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm of DeMayo law.

Social Security Disability is Big Business in North Carolina

July 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to official tallies, over 310,000 people received Social Security Disability in North Carolina last year.

All told, the Federal Government’s Social Security system pumped in over $22 billion into our economy and provided over 50% of the income to all North Carolinians aged 65 and older. Recent Census Bureau figures found that 8,733,461 workers collected (or will collect) federal disability in June – nearly 500,000 more people than the total population of New York City, the biggest city in the US, which boasted only 8,244,910 residents, according to last year’s Census Bureau estimates.

With so many people getting benefits — and so many more in desperate need of North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits — it’s understandable why the policy debate over entitlement reform often gets so fierce and emotional.

There is a lot at stake for a lot of people!

Unfortunately, the debate is incredibly complicated, and the economic theories that underlie the Social Security Disability program are at once sophisticated and by no means settled. In other words, the theories about why SSD and Supplemental Security Income works — and what can be done to improve the system and make it more fair — are still theories, susceptible to disproof.

What does this all means for you?

You are sick or injured – and suddenly facing massive financial pressures as well as a scary and vexing medical prognosis. You are almost certainly operating in something of a vacuum. And you almost certainly will end up relying on the judgments of others who have either studied the system directly or studied it indirectly by studying those who study it. (That’s a mouthful!)

The bottom line is that you’re dealing with major uncertainties in many aspects of your life, health, and beyond. To the degree that you can find reliable, trustworthy resources may be the degree to which you ultimately succeed.

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you untangle some of the chaos and explain your rights and responsibilities in clear, easy to understand language, so that you make informed, empowered decisions and regain control over your destiny.

Is Sugar the Cause of Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Woes?

July 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Lovely, yummy white sugar is in the hotspot – once again – thanks to new research and exposes in papers like New York Magazine. In fact, if the allegations against sweet white powder are true, then many of your problems with North Carolina Social Security Disability – and even our national healthcare crisis – may be tied back, indirectly, to our statewide and national addiction to sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners.

UCSF pediatric obesity specialist, Dr. Robert Lustig, discussed this thesis in his now famous (and highly provocative) YouTube video lecture, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” – over 1.5 million hits to-date.

Lustig argues that fructose — when consumed chronically in large quantities, especially in liquid form — can cause insulin resistance and obesity. Fructose overloading basically does to your liver exactly what ethanol alcohol does, biochemically, believe it or not.

Fear not: pounding down a few cans of Coke won’t immediately give you insulin resistance and liver damage. But keep up that behavior – over several years, or decades, depending on your genetic tendencies and other factors – and all that fructose will do to your liver just what heavy drinking does to an alcoholic’s liver. At least, so argues Dr. Lustig.

Science Journalist Gary Taubes, author of a blockbuster piece on the same subject in the April issue of the New York Magazine, “Is Sugar Toxic?” examined Lustig’s work and came out on his side. Taubes even quoted a number of top cancer researchers, who believe that overconsumption of sugar may be at the core – or at least a main contributing factor – of many types of cancer. The doctors Taubes quotes have all sworn off eating sugar as a result. They never touch the stuff because they fear that it might cause cancer. Wow.

Of course, understanding the etiology (cause) of your illness or injury is important. But it’s equally important to get good logistical and legal advice. A creditable and powerful North Carolina Social Security Disability firm can identify good resources and help you make progress towards your goals.

More Web Resources:

Sugar: the Bitter Truth

Does sugar cause cancer??

Making the Most Out of Your North Carolina Social Security Disability “Vacation”

July 24, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve recently developed an illness — and you need significant help, such as North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits just to get by, pay your bills, and deal with the “day-to-day” of your life — odds are you might feel sad, depressed, and nervous about the future. But is all that worrying and agitation really resourceful for you?

Obviously, no one who truly has your interests at heart would suggest that you “blot out” the pain by medicating it away or by doing things like detaching yourself through hours of meditation. You have alarm bells going off for a reason. You shouldn’t ignore them.

But there may be ways to enjoy – or at least get utility out of – your “North Carolina Social Security Disability vacation” that you haven’t yet considered. For instance, maybe you spent your entire career working long — possibly even desperate — hours to support your family and get ahead in the corporate world. Now, you can’t work. You’re sick at home. Maybe now is the time to re-explore an old hobby that you let lie dormant. Or maybe you can use the time to reconnect with old friends or loved ones. Or maybe you can use this time simply to enjoy some introspection – reflecting on your life, working through old hurts and wounds, and reveling in the joys and the beauty of the time that you have left.

Simply change your perspective on what this “time off” means – maybe it’s not a vacation per se in the same way that a Hawaiian vacation is a vacation – but this time provides you the opportunity to reframe your outlook and contribute more to the world and to life in general.

More Web Resources:


making the most of time off

Change of Heart for North Carolina Social Security Disability Applicants with Heart Disease?

July 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Social Security Administration (SSA) may soon implement new rules that will help North Carolina Social Security Disability applicants who have heart disease get on the “fast track” to benefits through something called Compassionate Allowance.

Earlier this year, the SSA held a hearing to address whether cardiovascular disease should be added to a list of conditions that the SSA consults when it considers whether or not to fast track workers for benefits. Under normal circumstances, if you want to collect North Carolina Social Security Disability, you need to show that your disability is severe and impedes you from both doing your normal work and taking other work. But if your disease or condition is on the list of Compassionate Allowances, you get to shortcut the typical process.

Thus, people who have heart disease may soon be able to get benefits faster and easier – and focus on dealing with their cardiovascular conditions. Of course, not all cardiovascular disease is equally severe or problematic. Many people who have heart disease – and even people who have suffered heart attacks – can return to work and live long, healthy, productive lives.

This is one of the reasons why heart disease has not yet been added to the Compassionate Allowances list. So there will likely be some logistical and semantic wrangling over who exactly can bypass the traditional SSD route and under what circumstances.

If you are confused about how to move forward, and you want someone to help you develop a clear, step by step, reasonably bulletproof process to eliminate your uncertainties and maximize your chances of success, connect today with an experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm. The SSD/SSDI application process can be surprisingly complicated, and if your energy is already drained because you are fighting a disease, struggling to recover from a devastating injury, or simply just overwhelmed by paperwork, good legal can help you regain balance, control, and perspective.

More Web Resources:

Compassionate Allowances

Compassionate Allowances and heart disease

Don’t Handle Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Appeal This Way…

July 17, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you have been struggling and frustrated with the North Carolina Social Security Disability appeals process, you are not alone.

Some people take rejection, setbacks, and bureaucracy very personally. Indeed, a 49-year-old man in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Mr. Louis Jerome Smith, got so frustrated and fed up with the kinks in his claim that he threatened to assault and murder employees of the Social Security Administration. Unsurprisingly, he was arrested and indicted. In February, he pled guilty to three counts in US District Court. But thanks to help from the office of his local Senator, Thad Cochran, Mr. Smith may soon get a new disability hearing.

According to the Hattiesburg American, a local paper in Mississippi, the 49-year-old had been struggling with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The night before his last scheduled hearing before Judge Lanier Williams, police arrested Smith because he made threats against personnel.

The Hattiesburg American article had some jaw-dropping quotes about the affair: “Smith said his troubles with the Social Security Administration have been going on for some time. ‘I’ve been applying for Social Security ever since I was – gosh, in my 20s… I’ve just had a hard time struggling with working in society.’ Smith has been diagnosed with several disorders at different times by different doctors, including paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and various personality disorders. He said he has had more than 150 jobs in his life.”

The Hattiesburg American article also said that Smith alleged that he was physically and sexually assaulted in prison. He also claimed that he did not intend to threaten SSA personnel – he was actually making veiled suicidal threats, instead! “I didn’t mean like I was going to do anything…I never had any intention to do anything to Social Security.”

If you are just casually reading this article or blog post, you might shrug off Smith’s actions as bizarre, inspired by lunacy and essentially irrelevant to “real” cases of frustration with the North Carolina Social Security Disability application benefits. After all, the article seems to suggest that Smith has serious mental problems as well as a history of clashing with authority figures.

But the SSD and SSI system can often lead to fraught and frustrating decisions and can challenge the tempers of even calm people who have never done a thing wrong in their lives.

One root cause of this frustration is lack of knowledge. When your life is uncertain — when you are not sure whether you will get significant benefits or not — you face challenges planning your life appropriately. In some ways, not knowing is worse than getting a negative decision. If your claim is denied, then so be it. You figure out some other way to manage your finances, and you move on. But when you are in a holding pattern – in limbo – you can literally find yourself paralyzed with inaction.

Fortunately, an experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can explain your rights, options, and possible strategic paths to take.

More Web Resources:

Mr. Louis Jerome Smith’s assault case

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Avoid Getting Scammed Out of Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits

July 14, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Seniors and injured and sick North Carolinians who fight vigorously for their North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits often “let up their guard” after they’ve succeeded with an appeal or succeeded at an ALJ hearing… and the consequences are often devastating.

As sad as the reality is, scam artists and hucksters often explicitly target weak and vulnerable individuals – e.g. people on North Carolina Social Security Disability – because, in their illness and desperation, these individuals are likely to seek random outside help to navigate their perplexing and difficult circumstances.

SSD scams run the gamut. Schemers can be terrifyingly creative in how they go after your wallet or pocketbook. For instance, a fraud artist might try to involve you in a seemingly “bulletproof” annuity investment that turns out to be a scam (e.g. selling a 95-year-old women a 15-year annuity…structured so she will only be able to break even if she makes it to 110!). Other scams are more explicit. Con artists may steal your social security number or credit card. And since you are unwell, you may not have the awareness or strength to stop what’s going on – or to respond effectively once you do find out something bad has happened. In other words, these schemers can make an already stressful and annoying situation worlds worse.

So, given all of these hostile and frustrating factors, how do you make progress?

First of all, begin by acknowledging your reality. It doesn’t help matters if you recede into denial – either denial about your health or about the financial damage that’s already been done. Accepting reality is progress in and of itself. Next, based on where you are, identify your goals.

Maybe your goal should be to clean up your credit. Or maybe it’s to retrieve money or hold the wrongdoer responsible… or all of that and more. The clearer you are about what you want, the more that friendly and trustworthy resources, like your North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, can come to your rescue and help you grapple with your challenges.

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common senior scams

common SSD scams

Debt Debate Has Real and Direct Impact on North Carolina Social Security Disability

July 11, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Will North Carolina Social Security Disability go the way of the dodo, if President Obama and the U.S. Congress fail to get their acts together regarding the debt limit?

Perhaps…but not likely.

According to official government statistics, approximately 70 million Americans – many of them North Carolinians – receive government benefits, such as veterans checks, disability payments, and social security, every month. President Obama warned that many of these benefits may be cut off on August 2nd if Congressional leaders and the President fail to strike a deal to raise the debt limit once again. In an interview with CBS News, President Obama wryly noted: “There may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”

Unless the doomsday-sayers are correct, chances are that the government will cave and raise the debt limit and avert catastrophe. So North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries will continue to be able to collect their checks. But the imminent catastrophe is not what worries most serious analysts. Policy wonks are far more concerned about the long-term viability of programs like Social Security Disability.

With the baby boomer generation of Americans “graying” and unemployment numbers and other economic indicators suggesting that we might be mired in a long-term economically problematic environment, beneficiaries might expect some benefit cuts, at a time and place to be decided. And that’s what’s perhaps most disturbing – no one is sure exactly when or how the hammer blow will fall and what will follow. To protect yourself, educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities by connecting with a high caliber North Carolina Social Security Disability firm.

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“There may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it”

70 million Americans receive government benefits… or more??

North Carolina Social Security Disability Quandary: How much does your ALJ matter?

July 7, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina social security disability applicants who take their cases to Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) might like to think that all judges are essentially equal — that all judges use a similar standard for accepting or denying appeals.

But a recent expose in USA Today reveals that your choice of judge can profoundly influence your results. The Social Security Administration – which supports 1,400 Administrative Law Judges around the country – only recently allowed the judges’ numbers to be posted on the official government website. The USA Today story says that both the Inspector General at the SSA and the U.S. Congress have noted a huge discrepancy – some ALJs accept WAY more appeals than others. But both authorities are loathe to interfere with the independence of judges.

According to the USA Today article, two outlier judges include:

• Judith Showalter, an ALJ from Dover, Delaware, who denied 82% of her nearly 300 claims this year.

• Huntington West Virginia judge, David Daugherty, who denied just 119 out of nearly 8,400 claims since October 2004. (Incidentally, his radically low rate, combined with an inappropriately cozy relationship with an attorney, led the SSA to put him on indefinite leave).

The whimsical and arbitrary nature of these ALJ statistics create an extra layer of uncertainty for hurt workers who desperately need North Carolina social security disability to pay bills, fund medical treatment, and strive for rehabilitation amid tough circumstances.

If you or a family member you care about has been struggling with how to approach an ALJ hearing or any other aspect of an SSD or SSI claim, a well respected North Carolina social security disability law firm can provide the guidance, resources, and strategic knowledge you need to make the progress you want to make.

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Administrative Law Judges (ALJs)

Huntington West Virginia judge, David Daugherty

Longer Wait Times for North Carolina Social Security Disability Appeals?

July 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A June 23 story in USA Today has many North Carolina social security disability applicants really worried.

A 5% jump in SSD appeals cases over last year may create a horrific backlog (think L.A.’s “Carmaggedon” but with SSD applications) that likely will increase wait times, stress administrators, and compel injured/sick applicants to wait longer in limbo. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) – a data mining organization based in Syracuse University – examined SSD appeal hearing data and found that, as of May 27, the queue of pending appeals had reached nearly 750,000.

The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Michael Astrue, responded to the TRAC data by trying to quell concerns about wait times. According to Astrue, the data do not necessarily suggest that the agency won’t meet its goal of reducing waiting time for benefits. More specifically: the wait time from October 2010 through April 2011 was just about a year – 367 days. That’s way down from 514 days (the all time maximum), which hit applicants back in fiscal year 2008. The SSA wants to get that wait time down to 270 days by 2013, irrespective of the “growth” in number of appeals.

If you are an SSD applicant – or if you are friends or family members with someone who is sick and injured and who needs answers about benefit questions — all of these statistics may just seem like confusing nonsense. What you need and want is someone to patiently listen to your concerns, answer urgent questions you have about the process, and tell you exactly what to expect and when to expect it.

Your best avenue for developing this kind of support is to connect with a creditable and ethical North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse