August 2013

No Response from Social Security? Consider a Tweet.

August 30, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re curious as to why you haven’t received a response to your application for social security disability, the answer may upset you more than the actual wait time.  The Social Security Administration is the administrative agency who determines eligibility and essentially handles requests for benefits.  In recent months, however, the SSA has been getting more publicity for its attempt at TV and social media production. 

The most recent commercial involves a cat and required an exorbitant amount of taxpayer dollars.  Exorbitant?  Yeah—exorbitant, given the fact that the SSA has been rejecting people left and right for benefits they deserve for underlying concerns of funding.  The cat commercial is really just the icing for the cake my friends.  No matter how nauseating or gut wrenching the idea of a cat commercial may be, the attempts at social media may be more disgusting.  There has even been speculation about particular groups who are paid to send out messages and blurbs on behalf of the Social Security Administration at an attempt to ramp up support and confidence. 

Bottom Line.  Are these really the people you want deciding if your medical disability meets their definition?  If you have applied or are considering applying for social security disability benefits in North Carolina don’t leave it to chance.  Call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo at 877-333-1000 for a free case evaluation. 

When I Have No More Appeals…

August 18, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Prior to speaking with an attorney about your application for social security disability people apply, get denied and work tirelessly retrying while exhausting the limited number of possible appeals. Depending on where an applicant is in the process, it is important to understand that you may still be entitled to an appeal in a federal court.

I can assure you, if your continued pursuits of a different decision have proven fruitless, you certainly do not want to request that a federal district court hear your case without being represented by an attorney. It is easy to discredit the importance of an attorney during your appeal process—until it’s too late; however, you only get so many chances.

You may think that an attorney won’t know as much about your medical condition and disability as you do and you’re probably right. The value that a social security disability attorney can add is understanding what information is pertinent and relevant at given times and which information could hurt you. Additionally, like all areas of the law, half the battle is complying with procedure.

The procedural aspect of your social security disability claim can prevent your eligibility as easily as the substantive part of your case. If you’re benefits are that important to your livelihood, don’t leave it up to chance. Qualifying for disability, is not about gambling, like a good afternoon of playin’ the ponies, it’s your livelihood.

If you have considered applying for social security disability contact the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today. We are experienced in helping people in North Carolina get the benefits they deserve. Our number is 877-333-1000. Or you can request a free case evaluation on our website at www.demayolaw.com.

The Power of the Details

August 11, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

When a mental illness prevents you from living your life and doing things you previously enjoyed then you are familiar with one of the most difficult aspects of being effected by a mental illness. People are quick to cast doubt upon a debilitating illness that cannot be seen as readily as a physical illness. For many people who have been denied Social Security Disability this is an unfortunate reality.

For anybody who is applying for SSD meticulous medical records can make or break your case. It’s easier said than done, but you have to keep your doctor completely informed on everything that is happening in your life. Some people find it easy to carry a journal and document their injuries, pains and other parts of your life that are the result of your disability.

I have even heard of people who review old text messages to understand how they felt on a particular day and what caused that. Old messages explain why you slept late, couldn’t sleep, didn’t get to church and so many reminders of how we felt on a particular day. Regardless of how you record your daily feelings, both mental and physical, it is crucial for your doctor to extensively evaluate your medical condition. The more medical information you have, the better your attorney will be prepared to handle your disability claim in North Carolina.

If you have considered applying for social security disability, call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo at 877-333-1000 today.

Surviving the Charlotte Social Security Disability Journey: Doing “The Last Thing You’d Ever Do” to Survive

August 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re facing a seriously desperate financial, medical, and even emotional situation, and you need North Carolina social security disability benefits to help make ends meet, pay doctor’s bills, and provide a buffer against the instabilities of your world. Truth be told, you have so many different and diverse “issues” in your life right now, it’s hard to know where to start. At the same time, you also have standards about what you will and will not do – values and other “rules of thumb” that help you govern your life and organize the chaos.

In times of trouble, it’s more important than ever to stick to your values.

All that being said, if you’re in a situation where you really need social security disability benefits or supplemental security income, you really need to start thinking creatively about how you can meet your needs with minimal resources.

First of all, given the limits on your time and energy, you might find it worthwhile to utilize a North Carolina social security disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, to make the process work for you.

Beyond that, however, you might want to brainstorm ways to more resourcefully meet your challenges. This might mean breaking some of the rules that you’ve set for yourself – either consciously or unconsciously – or at least testing them to see if there is any wiggle room.

For instance, maybe you and your sister had a falling out 20 years ago, and you “swore to yourself” that you would never speak to her again for the rest of your life. Your sister is well off financially, and if you hadn’t ever gotten into that fight, she would likely be a huge support for you right now. She and her husband might even offer you a place to stay while you recover, etc.

If something like that were the case, it would behoove you to test the rule that you made up 20 years ago. Is holding the grudge really worth needlessly putting yourself through extra struggle? Depending on your situation, it might be! But now is the time to go through your problems and examine how you might creatively solve them or get around them.

What the Violence in Syria Can Teach You about Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Crisis

August 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Half a world away, the country of Syria has been torn apart by violent civil unrest, the details of which are almost too gruesome and tragic to publish. What can the Syrian crisis – specifically, the way in which Americans seem to contextualize this crisis – tell us about the Charlotte social security disability benefits journey?

If you are someone who really needs money to pay for medical bills, physical rehab, rent, and other living expenses, you may face challenges like reconsideration, an administrative law judge hearing, or some other constraint in the process. The seemingly very distantly related events in the Middle East can give you perspective on what to expect – how to cut through your challenges.

May sound like a stretch, but please read on.

Before reading this article, how closely were you following the political situation in Syria? Whether you followed it in detail — and you have a strong opinion about what needs to be done — or you really haven’t been paying attention to it because you’ve been so caught up in your own medical, legal, and financial crisis – you recognize that the situation is “way too big” for you to do anything about it. And obviously, the broiling political debate over how (or even whether) to fix our entitlement programs, like social security disability and supplemental security income, is also huge. There is nothing you personally can do to affect that system, either.

Here is another parallel: Even in the midst of the horrific crisis in the Middle East, “life goes on” for most people around the globe.

Likewise, you may personally be in the middle of a horrific medical or financial crisis, but the world around you continues to go on. And that can make the journey quite lonely and alienating — kind of like how it feels to be a kid trapped inside during recess, hearing all of his friends play outside on the jungle gym.

One of the best ways to make progress given the diverse difficulties you face – and the magnitude of those difficulties – is to work with a proven team to get results. The Law Office of Michael A. DeMayo is here to help you unravel your challenges and make progress to get the benefits that you need and deserve. Connect with us online for a free consultation with our North Carolina social security disability law firm.

North Carolina Social Security Disability: Do You Have a “Plan B”?

August 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You have learned, perhaps the hard way, that the quest for Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina (or elsewhere) can be a fraught and uncertain one. We all want clear and easy to follow, guaranteed solutions to our diverse life problems. But — except if you’re baking brownies or something — it’s hard to come up with a recipe that’s guaranteed to work every time.

Part of what holds many Social Security Disability beneficiaries back from greater success is that they come to believe in a fantasy that someone or something will be able to “take care of them and make everything better.”

This isn’t to say that a terrific doctor can’t make an enormous difference, or that a really respected, experienced law firm, like the team at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo, cannot be a crucial resource for you.

But understand that your challenges are too diverse and prolific for a “one size fits all” solution.

Practical Implications of This Message

Most people would accept the argument just offered. But very few understand how to put it into action. The implications are very clear: you need a Plan B when you engage in a task or project of any size and complexity.

In other words, you currently hold a certain vision of how you want your benefits situation to play out. Perhaps you want X amount of money to come your way, starting within one month or two months: that’s your ideal outcome. It’s always better to have a strategic objective then to “fly blind,” since planning your ideal strategy can increase the likelihood that you will achieve what you want. On the other hand, life tends to surprise us with obstacles and opportunities at the least appropriate time. How we pivot to react to those opportunities and obstacles may be a core reason why some people fail and some people succeed.

To put that in more specific terms: say you’re depending on Social Security Disability to pay for your groceries and your at-home care and some medical bills. Your Plan A is to get the disability money and live your life. But you should also have a Plan B waiting in the wings. What would you do if you didn’t achieve your goals within your timeframe? What resources could you draw upon? What alternative arrangements could you make? How could you shortcut solutions to your problems?

Once you have a Plan A and Plan B, you will feel a lot more liberated when it comes to acting and responding to events on the ground. After all, if your Plan A doesn’t work out, you have a Plan B to fall back on: that knowledge can free you up to pivot faster and more effectively to the unknowns that the world is guaranteed to throw your way.

Making Small Changes to Reach Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Goals

August 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Leading a successful life after going on Social Security Disability in Charlotte, NC often requires that you make adjustments in your daily habits, thoughts, and behaviors.

A few simple, incremental improvements – when done repeatedly, over a long period of time – can create magnificent positive change in your life, even if you are struggling with an injury, financial problems, relationship issues, etc.

Understand that there is no one single “big push” that is going to get you towards a successful state of mind or “state of wallet” or what have you. Even if you make a big push – for instance, retain a top caliber Charlotte Social Security Disability law firm, like the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo – your problems will not be evaporated overnight.

Embrace the “small positive changes, done consistently over time, add up to big successes” mentality.

What’s nice about this mentality is that it liberates you from the feeling of “I have to get this done now, or else…” that afflicts all too many people who suffer from pain and discomfort in diverse areas of life. You are not going to get it all done at once. Think about it: your problems didn’t form all at once, did they?

So what incremental steps should you take, starting today?

Everyone’s “recipe” for successfully pursuing the incremental advantage will be different. But you might want to begin simply. Choose one area of your life where you want to improve. Choose one habit, which if you did consistently, would absolutely guarantee improvement in that area. Then simply pursue that one habit. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Just focus on that one thing that you know you need to do — the thing that will give you the most leverage over your problems, whatever they may be.

Then track your results in a daily journal and measure how you do.

For instance, say you are trying to lose weight, and you want to stay away from fattening carbohydrates, like bread and candy and soda. You know you eat way too many carbs. But you are terrified about giving them up all at once. You might try to slowly reduce the bad carbs you eat every day and track your progress. Eventually, ideally, you will get to a better intake, but the transition won’t be as jarring or dramatic for you.

Likewise, if you are trying to rehabilitate the strength in your legs in the wake of a surgery, just strive to make incremental improvement in your strength every week as opposed to turning into superman overnight. The key is twofold: 1) be consistent and 2) pick the right leverage points that will give you maximum utility over the long haul.

What the Search for Exo Planets Can Tell Us about Your Quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability

August 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Twenty years ago, the world’s top astronomers hotly debated whether there were other planets in the Milky Way galaxy outside our own solar system. Today, thanks to new techniques and telescopes, “planet hunters” have documented hundreds of planets outside the solar system planets (“exo planets”). This radical shift forward holds important lessons, if you or someone you care about needs social security disability benefits in North Carolina or elsewhere.

In this article, we will take a brief tour of the exo planet hunting journey… and tie these exciting discoveries back to your quest for benefits.

Finding planets outside of our own solar system is devilishly difficult.

Stars in the sky are so far away that they appear to our eyes like points of light. The closest non-sun star to earth, Proxima Centauri, is over 24 trillion miles away! So trying to find planets revolving around these distant fiery objects requires an unbelievable amount of precision.

But researchers ultimately honed techniques to zero in on these dim planets. One of these involved very carefully measuring the light around distant stars to look for something called occlusion. In other words, the light from a star may dim for several hours or days as an object, such as a nearby planet, passes between the star and our vantage here on earth. Using this method and others, astronomers managed to find planets. In fact, our techniques have gotten so good that we’ve found entire solar systems around other stars – and we’ve even managed to finally take an actual picture of a large exo planet, some 20 odd light years from earth.

What The Scientific Advances Mean For Your Quest For Benefits

The idea that the planets could be found and photographed was dismissed by some of the most respected minds in the institution of astronomy. But slight improvements in technology and processes have led to remarkable results – and a paradigm shift among these experts.

Likewise, your situation might seem financially, physically, or emotionally untenable right now. You might feel overwhelmed and miserable – as if your life will never “get back together.” But with slight improvements in your methods, processes, and resources, you might make surprisingly remarkable progress. For instance, the right rehab specialist and physician can potentially help you recover from your back injury or illness. A powerful law firm, like the team here at DeMayo Law, can help you navigate the Charlotte social security disability bureaucracy better and lock down a fair benefits amount. And so forth.

The moral is: persistence can often pay off, especially when that persistence is linked with a critical focus on a key objective. Strive for incremental improvement and for getting the right people and resources in place.

Watching the London Olympics While Out Sick on Charlotte Social Security Disability

August 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve recently been hurt or diagnosed with a serious illness, you may be on social security disability in North Carolina – or you may be seeking those benefits.

Like many Americans, you’ve probably been glued (at least some of the time) to the XXX Olympics in London, following Michael Phelps’ increasingly preposterous medal count, feeling your heart leap out of your chest as Usain Bolt practically breaks the speed of sound, and pondering with your friends and family and Facebook friends about what the Chinese badminton scandal ultimately means for geopolitics.

But in the midst of all this distraction, you are still very aware of the complicated problems and potential opportunities in your future, at least as far as your North Carolina social security disability benefits are concerned.

Perhaps you are already knee deep in the process: you’ve gone to a million and one doctor’s appointments, had multiple appeals of your case, and read every free internet resource there is about social security disability. Or perhaps you are at the start of your research — you’re still trying to figure out if you are a fit for the program or, if so, how you should best proceed.

In any case, you may find it all too easy to ignore your present personal needs and focus on “stuff” that’s interesting but out of your control, like the Olympics.

While it’s important to relax and de-stress after all that you’ve been though, you also need to keep adequate focus on your goals — on your potential options to collect benefits and make your situation better. Unfortunately, all too many people these days tend to “give up” on their own lives and retreat into virtual worlds. They play video games, cruise the web all day, or veg out to the Olympics or some other distraction on television.

If you’ve been distracted — “putting off” the important stuff in your life — you are not alone.

To break out of that mentality requires a certain degree of activation energy. You cannot be expected to deal with all of your legal problems by yourself. Even if you are healthy and working, you would likely have multiple points of stress in your life. Not only are you not healthy – and possibly not working – but you are also undoubtedly overwhelmed by the complex bureaucracy that is the social security disability or supplemental security income system.

Unfortunately, you might take the complexity at face value – and just assume that you will “never get anywhere” — that you might as well just “deal with your fate.”

This is a tragedy, in that, you may be overlooking simple, easy solutions not only to your social security disability problems but also to other problems in your life.

The challenge is: how do you find the right people and resources to connect you with positive solutions and take some of the burden off? While the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo obviously cannot guarantee success and can’t help you with every facet of your challenges, we have a vast and deep bench of legal talent, and we can examine the elements of your case and help you formulate a strategic blueprint to get what you want.

Is North Carolina Social Security Disability “A Form Of Slavery”??

August 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Florida Congressman Allan West made a bold declaration in middle of July: He called the social security disability insurance system “a form of modern, 21st Century slavery.”

West had been rallying against President Obama’s economic policies — trying to build a case that federal benefits programs, like SSD and supplemental security income (SSI), create economic dependence and disincentive people from finding work and taking responsibility for their own welfare and economic betterment.

The social security disability system has taken a lot of rhetorical punches recently. But West’s hit marked a new kind of escalation.

On the one hand, his position is understandable. His position is sympathetic. Our entitlement system is knotted up. As you likely know from your personal quest to obtain Charlotte social security disability benefits, the queue can be long and complicated and confusing. Also, our programs are running out of money.

So it’s understandable to feel fed up with the process and to start looking for scapegoats, especially as more and more hurt and injured workers join the ranks of those seeking aid.

On the other hand, to denigrate social security disability as a kind of “slavery” seems to be both less than compassionate and less than accurate.

Social security disability is kind of a national insurance: you pay into it when you work. While of course some try to abuse the system – and some do succeed – it’s not at all fair to denigrate those who need the help as contributing to a slave-like system. Are really going to tell a woman who just discovered that she has late stage cancer — and who’s thus been crippled by medical problems and depression — that she is participating in a system of slavery simply by collecting much needed benefits?

Likely, that probably was not West’s intention.

But when you make radical, broad-brush statements like he did, you need to understand that you could be doing harm by accidentally intimidating people who need help.

Ensure that you are treated fairly. To get clear on your rights and responsibilities as a potential beneficiary, talk to the North Carolina social security disability team here at DeMayo Law. We are happy to provide a free, confidential consultation for you.

While Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Quest Has in Common with Michael Phelps’ Quest to be the Most Decorated Olympian Ever

August 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

At first blush, you may not put yourself in the same category as elite Olympian Michael Phelps. After all, you’re struggling to tap North Carolina social security disability benefits and other help to manage your finances, business, medical costs, etc. Meanwhile, Michael Phelps just retired at the age of 27 in tip-top shape as the most decorated Olympian in the history of the world.

However, you and Michael Phelps actually have more in common than you realize.

As a Charlotte social security disability beneficiary (or would-be beneficiary), you face difficult odds on many levels. Your resources are limited. Your time is limited. Your energy is limited. Michael Phelps faced all those constraints, by the way, as he trained for his various Olympic runs. But he managed to overcome them in high style. How?

The answer boils down one word: Focus.

When you have a very, very clear vision of what you want to achieve in mind, you can easily leverage all sorts of resources in your life to help you achieve your ends. Just as important – perhaps even more important – you will have an easy mechanism to screen out “stuff” that might distract you. Getting distracted is a big problem if you lack a powerful focus pulling you towards success. Michael Phelps, for instance, developed a focus – rather, a series of sequential focuses – that helped him to train precisely, pick his battles, husband his resources, etc. He didn’t just dive into an Olympic size pool on day one and beat the pack. He methodically improved over time based on the clarity and intensity of his focus.

So too can you improve your journey towards wellness and financial health.

The problem is that focus does not come naturally to most people. We live in an age where everyone and his brother has advice, even on topics as arcane as North Carolina social security disability. There is too much information for us to sort, even if you had all the time in the world and all the mental and physical energy to make better decisions – which most of us obviously don’t have.

One useful way to shortcut this information overload problem is to find people or resources who have succeeded in the past in the precise quest that you are on right now.

In other words, if you want to be a great Olympic swimmer, you probably want to talk to great Olympic swimmers and the trainers of those swimmers.

If you want to be a great chef, you want to read about the journeys of the great chefs and how they learned and how they trained, etc.

Likewise if you want to be a successful North Carolina social security disability claimant, you want to find and cultivate resources that can help you become that.

So instead of focusing on everything that’s gone wrong in your life, focus on what you want to achieve now. What’s past is past. It cannot be changed. Michael J. Fox’s DeLorean from Back to the Future does not exist. But we can move forward. And the way to move forward is to accept what’s true now in your life, to identify where you want to be, and then to come up with ways to bridge the gap between what’s true now and what you want to be true later.

The social security disability law firm at DeMayo Law is here to help you make progress on all elements of that challenge.

A Magical Fix for Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits Problems?

August 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Search around for help with your social security disability benefits in North Carolina or elsewhere, and you will be inundated with brilliant-sounding advice from highly credentialed people who’ve apparently achieved major success – either for themselves or for their clients.

If you just went off your Google research, you’d almost certainly come to develop a belief that getting benefits is relatively easy – as long as you buy xyz product!

Look: truth be told, there are good systems and bad systems – proven processes and unproven processes – for handling the flotsam and jetsam of your benefits quest.

Your odds would likely increase, for instance, if you retained a good law firm, like DeMayo Law here in Charlotte, to help you navigate the confusion. But understand this. Your problems are complicated. There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for you – or even a one-size-fits-all solution to part of your problems.

An Integrated Approach – Incremental, Goal-Oriented, Purpose-Driven

The average person who needs social security disability is sick, injured, demoralized, bereft of good support, confused, and overwhelmed.

If you fit that mold – or someone you care about fits that mold – your drive to try to “solve it all at once” will no doubt be intense. You want to make the pain go away – now. But understand that your problems likely did not just explode on you over the course of a single day. They developed over time. Even if the “event” that touched off your current crisis was an acute event – i.e., it happened “out of the blue” – odds are some aspects of your financial or physical or emotional foundation were shoddy well before that event occurred.

To extract yourself, play the long game. Focus on the purpose of your social security disability benefits quest as opposed to the specific outcome that you want to achieve. By working from purpose – as opposed to a vision that lacks purpose – you might find shortcuts to satisfy your needs that require less time and effort.

For instance, say what you really need is a guaranteed place to live over the next five years. Maybe you’re facing foreclosure or another financial crisis. Rather than “bet the farm” (perhaps literally) on your ability to collect benefits, you could search for an alternative living arrangement. For instance, maybe a brother or cousin could offer to take you in while you recover. This way, you can still go after your benefits, but you no longer will feel compelled to get them “or else”.  Your more relaxed posture will actually help you be smarter and more strategic (as opposed to desperate and tactical).

Of course, you also do want to vision out an ideal outcome. The clearer the vision you have for success, the better.

Lastly, strive for incremental, measureable progress as opposed to “getting it all done at once” – that way you can give yourself “wins” and work towards a better future methodically.

The Over-spending Problem: How Winning Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Case Can Backfire

August 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

You and your family are in a tough battle to obtain a fair and just North Carolina Social Security Disability settlement. You need SSD money to live, recover, and pay for medical treatments. And the battle for these funds can be vicious, scary, full of setbacks (and missed opportunities), and quite complicated. Even if an effective and thorough North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm helps you, you will still encounter myriad challenges – some of which you don’t even expect to encounter right now.

To prepare best, you need to focus on great outcomes, but also to anticipate traps and possible problems.

One of the key problems that SSD beneficiaries encounter is the over-spending problem.

Basically, some beneficiaries treat their benefits like a cash windfall – like they won the lottery. They adjust their spending levels accordingly to their great detriment. SSD money was designed to be a safety net – a last-ditch effort to help stabilize the finances of someone in desperate need because of medical problems. It’s easy to condemn people who fall victim to the over-spending problem. You can already hear cries from hardcore libertarians to the effect of “look at all of those lazy people on North Carolina Social Security Disability who use their checks to buy Prada handbags and splurge on vacations. How dare they?” The rejoinder is: “Well, easy for you to say, if you are not in that situation.”

People who have been hurt, or are sick, overwhelmed, and scared by other problems often resort to less-than-resourceful tactics and strategies to cope with their situations. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the people who have the over-spending problem are weak-willed or stupid or unaware of the consequences. This simply means that their energies may not be directed appropriately, or they might not have the knowledge, skills, and support to handle the influx of cash.

What’s the Solution?

Part of the solution involves recognizing the problem and finding people, resources, tools, and education to help “dig you out.” On a more philosophical level, you might also want to practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. Cutting-edge research in a variety of fields, including addiction and obesity, suggests that problems people typically blame themselves for – drinking too much alcohol and eating too much food, for instance – may stem not from a lack of willpower but from misguided attempts to empower and take back control.

For instance, Harvard psychiatrist Lance Dodes has posited that addicts engaged in destructive addictive behaviors are simply trying to empower themselves after feeling helpless. And science journalist Gary Taubes has hypothesized that obese people get fat not because they overeat but because they suffer hormonal damage to their fat tissue, not due to a weak will.

More Web Resources:

Cause of Over Spending?

Dodes addiction

Uh, Oh. North Carolina Social Security Disability on the Verge of Vanishing?

August 29, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

On August 27, an AP article about the near insolvency of the Social Security Disability program raised red flags among policy analysts and beneficiaries who study (and rely on) the North Carolina Social Security Disability system.

The AP article reports that the graying of the baby boomer generation – coupled with the increase in unemployment nationwide – may be pushing the SSD program to the brink of financial collapse. “Applications (for SSD) are up nearly 50% over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can’t find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs. The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants…and worsening the financial problems for a program that’s been running in the red for years.”

SSD will run out of cash by 2017 unless Congress steps in. Two decades after that, the entire social security fund will dry up as well.

With over nearly 3.5 million people this year projected to apply for some kind of federal disability benefits, you and your family are likely feeling a bit of panic about whether you will be able to obtain needed North Carolina Social Security Disability funds to pay for things like your rent, utilities, medical care, therapy, and other living expenses.

It’s a difficult and scary time, and easy solutions aren’t forthcoming. Indeed, for every article that blames problems like SSD insolvency on bad fiscal policy, you can find another article blaming the problem on something totally different. The Republicans are to blame. No, the Democrats are to blame. No, the American people are to blame. No, Europe is to blame. Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

In this frustrating, raucous environment – where a point is responded to with a counterpoint, and millions of beneficiaries have trouble keeping score, let alone understanding the deep tactical, strategic, and technical implications for their recovery – what can you do?

You face real and urgent monetary problems, medical crises, emotional/personal struggles, possible family issues, and long- term challenges. This may seem overwhelming. But first of all, recognize that you are not in this alone. It’s easy to blame yourself for your current financial, physical, budget, or work problems. But that kind of self-flagellation is not resourceful or, probably, accurate. Instead, it might be wise to assess your objective, on-the-ground reality now – what’s true for you, your family, your health, and your finances – and find resources to help you make the best of your situation.

A great resource is a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm. Good attorneys can help you objectively analyze your needs and come up with a blueprint to move forward.

More Web Resources:

“Applications (for SSD) are up nearly 50% over a decade ago”


What is true for you NOW?

Renewing Hope Part 1: Why North Carolina Social Security Disability Hopefuls Need Not Despair

August 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you or a sick or ill family member desperately wants North Carolina Social Security Disability to help manage seemingly uncontrollable costs, such as medical care, surgical bills, living expenses, rent, food bills, etc., you may feel terrified, hopeless, and disempowered.

This is only natural.

Whenever we experience setbacks – health problems, financial struggles, fights against large, faceless bureaucracies (e.g. the North Carolina social security disability system), our analytical minds begin worrying us with catastrophic thinking about worst-case outcomes. You might have thoughts like: What if the benefits don’t come through? How will I pay my rent? What if I don’t recover from this illness? This is all so unfair. How did this happen to me? What am I supposed to do with all this conflicting information about my disease, my benefits, my life that I am getting from all corners, including my doctor, my friends, the internet, etc?

These dilemmas plague almost anyone who is forced by circumstances to rely on government assistance to get by. And they don’t even take into account struggles many of us feel regarding our egos, our need for autonomy and independence, our need to be respected, and our need to take care of others.

But all that notwithstanding, hope may still abound.

In our series, we will address some ways to identify strategies and tactics to reboot your hope; make sense of the panic and chaos in your life; and deal with things like the unflinchingly cold Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) bureaucracy, uncaring judges, friends, family members, and co-workers who don’t understand; and the self doubts that plague you constantly about what you should or should not being doing to maximize your benefits, heal quickly, and so forth.

This four-part series can only scratch the surface, but, hopefully, it will clue you into a more productive and resourceful way of thinking and allow you to regenerate your own sense of hope, so you can face hardships thrown your way – whatever they may be – with grounded and purposeful action that is optimistic and free from pointless and destructive catastrophic thinking.

Stay tuned for our next post in the series, in which we take a look at constrains that prevent SSD and SSI beneficiaries (or wannabe beneficiaries) from feeling more hopeful. If you have an urgent or critical question about how to get started with your benefits, how to deal with an upcoming ALJ hearing, or anything else, connect with a quality, experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

catastrophic thinking

quantifiable power of hope

Will The Debt Ceiling Deal Destroy My North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits?

August 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries, along with others who depend on government programs such as unemployment, Medicare, Medicaid, and workers’ comp. to pay for expenses like rent, food, heat, electricity, and medication are sounding the alarm. The Sunday before last, President Obama and Congressional leaders broke through an impasse, carving out a plan to reduce government spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. tend to not to raising Americas credit card limit.

Some commentators say this is a good thing, while others claim it’s bad. But North Carolina social security disability recipients are wondering how this colossal policy change will ultimately impact them. Will the slashing of benefits mean that they will have to make do with less? Will the policy change the economy, and will other macroeconomic factors indirectly impact the social security disability policy? How long will all this take? Who can tell them what they need to do, when, and why?

It’s normal to have these fears and concerns. In fact, even the most deeply informed policy analysts and economists are still wrestling with these and other questions, and it may take a long time before anyone understands the full implications of the agreement made between the President and Congress.

This is the unpleasant reality: we are simply going to have to live with some amount of uncertainty for the time being. On the other hand, these macro changes may be less important to your own path forward than you may believe. Changes in how and why people can access government benefits can have real and substantial impact on beneficiaries. But the sick, ill, and incapacitated have surprising flexibility. In other words, the right strategy can make all the difference. Even if your current benefit, medical, or even financial situation looks bleak, now is not the time to give up hope. There will always be a certain amount of irreducible uncertainty regarding your benefits, your medical prognosis, and the SSD system in general. But that doesn’t mean that uncertainty should make you freeze, leaving you with “analysis paralysis.” Start by identifying exactly what you need, and then take stock of where you are now. Once you have a definite goal in mind, you can progress toward achieving that goal. Then, talk to a North Carolina social security disability law firm for help with attaining your goal.

More Web Resources:

Debt ceiling debate

Breakthrough on debt ceiling

Are They Going to Take Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits Away?

August 18, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The cable news networks have been ringing the alarm. Our country is in debt. Our state is in sore economic shape. Are your North Carolina social security benefits be next in the chopping block? In today’s political environment – where the stock market can drop over 500 points, zip up more than 400 points next day, and then plunge again more than 500 points a day after that – anything is possible. We are living through a top teach every time, economically speaking, and many pundits, economic leaders, and entitlement theoreticians – from both sides of the political spectrum – are talking about reforming our national entitlement system.

Whether you need North Carolina social security disability or supplemental security income (SSI) to pay your bills while you fight a bitterly difficult illness, or you need those benefits to feed your family while you recover from a horrific workplace accident that left you permanently disabled and partially paralyzed, you crave real, actionable, creditable advice about how to protect your benefits and make strategic choices going forward. First of all, the catastrophic economic scenarios bandied about on the cable news talk shows and blogosphere have a relatively small likelihood of coming true. The United States is not going to transform into Greece overnight, in other words. And even if it did, you and your family would likely find a way to manage the changes and adjust accordingly.

But the fear itself of economic catastrophes is its own animal – its own problem. To address that fear, you need to look it in the eye. You need to understand its root causes. Why are you so concerned about losing your benefits? What would the most positive outcome be to your entitlement problem? Far too few beneficiaries take the time to sit down and think through these issues. But if you never take responsibility for identifying a best path forward, you may fail to take advantage of the resources and tools at your disposal.

That’s all a little abstract. So let’s make it concrete it with an example. Say you are an elderly woman in her 70s who suffers from diabetes and needs social security disability pay for a modest apartment and prescription medications. You watch the cable news shows and develop a paralyzing terror about the economy. But this doesn’t do anything positive for you except keep you awake at night and allow you to watch you your favorite reality TV shows. If you focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t control, you might make far more progress than you realize is even possible. For instance, connecting with an experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm is a great first step toward dealing with benefits issues and minimizing the effects that the state and national economy will have on your pocketbook.

More Web Resources:

August 2011 Stock Market Swings

Social Security on the chopping block?

Finding Meaning When You Are on North Carolina Social Security Disability: A Fun, Useful Exercise

August 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Let’s flash forward two months from now. Thanks to the help of a North Carolina social security disability law firm, you’ve managed to secure the benefits you need to pay for your therapy, medical bills, lost wages, future time off work, and a battery of other costs. This is a best scenario outcome. But now what? While you are not actively recovering from your accident/illness in physical therapy or at a doctor’s office, you likely will have more down time. How can you make use of that time to improve your circumstances?

There are obviously an infinite number ways to go. But now might be the perfect time to take a breather and reflect on the bigger picture of your life. For instance, you might want to ask yourself what the most important things in your life are. Because whether you have six months to live or 60 years to live, you’d like to, ideally, maximize your time doing meaningful activities.

This may seem like a dumb exercise – obviously you already know what the most important things in your life are, don’t you? Perhaps you do. But perhaps you don’t. And even if you do, these important things are likely hazily constructed. Writing them down on a piece of paper and focusing on them every morning and every night can be a useful way to strengthen your appreciation of them. For instance, say your children are very important to you. That’s all well and good in the abstract. But when it comes time to choosing between watching a rerun of “Swamp People” on the History Channel and phoning your 43-year-old son for a heart-to-heart, you might default to vegging out in front of the TV instead of doing what’s truly important to you.

To identify these meaningful things in your life while you are out on North Carolina social security disability, ask yourself a series of “why?” questions. For instance, say you think that building a relationship with your son is important. Ask yourself why that is important. Write down the answer. For instance, you might write “because family is important to me.” Then you would ask the why question again – why is family important to you. And you might write: “Because I love being connected with the people I love.” Ask why again: Why is it important to show the people that you love them? And your answer might be something to the effect of: “Because this is a fundamental value that I hold.” Once you drill down to these fundamental values, you can stop. If you repeat these exercise with everything that you name as “meaningful,” you will come up with a list of critical values – your core values that motivate you – and you can use these to focus on while you mend and heal.

More Web Resources:

Swamp People

Asking the 5 Whys

Help for People Who Help North Carolina Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: Challenge #1: The Uncertainty Problem

August 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

We are going to launch a four-part series on the challenges faced by caretakers who help those sick and hurt individuals on North Carolina Social Security Disability. As a friend, relative, or for-hire caretaker, you have a tremendous responsibility. Sometimes, you might be confused, angry, overwhelmed, and overloaded. This four-part series is meant to address some of the concerns that you face.

The first key challenge involves uncertainty.

As a caretaker, you must manage not only the uncertainty of the North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiary whom you care for, but you also must find your own internal equilibrium and peace. How do you that? First of all, let’s consider some of the symptoms of this uncertainty:

• Your beneficiary’s health, condition and mood may change dramatically from day to day with little or no short-term notice.
• By putting someone else’s needs in front of yours, you may neglect critical signals that your subconscious is telling you, and thus neglect your own needs.
• It’s easy to get excited about the “ups” and depressed about the “downs” and difficult to navigate the middle ground. You may not know how long your obligation as a caretaker will last – weeks, months, years?
• You might have doubts and fears about your own abilities as a caretaker.
• You and the beneficiary might be frustrated about setbacks or frustrated with the case, such as an ALJ ruling, denial of an appeal, etc.

Dealing with the Uncertainty and Frustration Strategically

Step one is to accept and acknowledge what’s true for you and the beneficiary right now. What’s the medical situation? What’s the legal situation? What’s the financial situation? What’s the logistical situation? Until you have clear and credible answers to these questions, you may find it difficult to figure out what to do next.

Likewise, you should identify “best case scenario” outcomes for the caretaking. In an ideal world, how long would you be a caretaker? How much money and time would you and the beneficiary expend? What would be the optimal results of any legal actions you take? Take the time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write these answers down. The more specifically you articulate your “start line” and “finish line” of your caretaking challenge, the easier it will be to find shortcuts to achieve your goals and to avoid wasting time with useless solutions.

If you need help on this journey, connect with a compassionate, aggressive North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm that will deal with any legal/logistical issues.

More Web Resources:

Caregiver emotions

uncertainty causes stress

Caretaker Challenge #2: Loneliness – A Primer for People Who Help Others on North Carolina Social Security Disability

August 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Caregivers who administer to beneficiaries (or hurt or sick people on North Carolina Social Security Disability) often put the needs of the hurt/sick person ahead of their own needs.

This can be dangerous, not only for your mental and physical health, but also for the beneficiary’s mental and physical health. You must pay attention to and attend to your needs to maximize your utility as a caregiver. To that end, this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog is highlighting some fundamental challenges that caregivers face in a four-part series that provides tips, tools, and resources.

Our Second Main Challenge: Loneliness

No matter how much you love and care about the person who is sick and/or ill, when you are a caregiver – even in an intimate situation – you feel a certain degree of loneliness and isolation. This is natural. When another person needs you so much all the time, every day, you may forget to take time off for yourself, forget that you also have needs and even actively suppress your desire for companionship and understanding “because you have a job to do.”

This is all very understandable. It’s all very human. But it’s dangerous. When you operate in a vacuum and take the weight of the world on your shoulders, you may develop an inflated sense of responsibility for the beneficiary’s mental and even physical health. And this can be bad because there are certain things over which you have little to no control.

For instance, say you are a caretaker for an elderly woman who has broken her hip and who needs Social Security Disability to pay for her rent, food, and medical care. The woman might feel extremely depressed about her situation. While you can help with the logistical and physical aspects of care – and also be an empathetic and compassionate caregiver – you can’t take away her depression. And if you operate from the perspective of “I can do it all if only if I try hard enough,” you may run yourself ragged.

All this is to say that you might want to avail yourself of resources such as:

• Talk to an experienced, highly-esteemed North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to help manage the beneficiary’s legal issues;
• Find support groups of other caregivers;
• Identify people and resources who can help you and listen to you when the caregiving becomes “too much”;
• Give yourself breaks throughout the day – indulge yourself with nice meals, a warm bath, exercise and meditation, healthy food, etc.;
• Practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. You are only human, and you are doing your best – that’s what’s important.

More Web Resources:

caretaker loneliness

importance of social support

North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregiver Challenge #3: Anger

August 5, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s the dark side of being a caregiver for someone who needs North Carolina Social Security Disability. You feel angry about your obligations.

You wouldn’t necessarily admit this anger to anyone. Maybe you even have a tough time admitting the anger to yourself. But it’s there, lurking, and you can pick up on it from time to time as you go about your duties. Where does this anger come from? What does it mean? What can you do about it? And how might the answers to those questions impact your ability to provide good, compassionate, voluntary care for someone who needs North Carolina Social Security Disability?

Everyone’s answers to those questions will be different. Anger is often a mechanism by which the subconscious mind alerts you to the fact that certain fundamental needs are not being met.

For instance, let’s say that you are the caretaker for an 83-year-old man who has chronic kidney disease. One day, after his dialysis, he snaps at you for taking off a bandage too rapidly. He is not overly aggressive about it. But for whatever reason, this makes you literally seethe and boil with anger. What’s going on under the surface? Well, look deeper. Look inside you. Are you really angry about the request – or about the fact that he chastised you? What is the “thought behind the thought”?

Pay attention to your thought process, and draw it out. Maybe you had a reaction to the effect of, “I do so much for this guy already, and now he is yelling at me because I pulled his bandage! What is wrong with him? Can’t he see how hard I am working and how much I am trying to help him?” So that might be the thought behind the thought. Then ask yourself: What fundamental human need is going unmet?

In this case, maybe you need to relax or need to be appreciated or understood. All three of those needs are fundamental. So the anger really isn’t about a comment he made – it’s about the fact that you have these key needs that are not being met, because you are too busy performing your role as a caregiver.

Once you begin to think in terms of your underlying feelings and needs, you can begin to handle the anger that arises in your day to day care. First of all, this allows you to communicate your anger without putting blame, guilt, or shame someone else. For instance, you could say, “When you chastised me about the bandage, I felt angry, because my need for respect and appreciation was not met.” Instead of, “Can’t you see how hard I am working for you? What’s wrong with you???”

In other words, you take responsibility for your own feelings and needs. This way of approaching anger is empowering and resourceful, as opposed to disempowering and depressing.

If this philosophical approach to anger management resonates with you, consider exploring the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of a school of thought called Nonviolent Communication. You also might want to tap into the resources of a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to help you deal with legal crises in your life or the life of the beneficiary for whom you are providing care.

More Web Resources:

Caretaker Anger

Marshall Rosenberg

North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregiver Challenge #4: Your Own Life is Falling to Pieces: What do you do?

August 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The last in this four-part series on the challenges facing caregivers for North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries addresses a relatively universal phenomenon. We have talked about how caregivers ignore their own mental and emotional needs when caring for the sick. And we’ve discussed various ways to manage problems like anger, uncertainty, and loneliness.

But the challenges are not all mental or emotional. There are logistical frustrations as well.

In particular, when you take “time out of your life” to care for a North Carolina Social Security Disability recipient, you are not simply taking time away from hobbies or idle time in front of the TV. You are taking time and resources away from key activities like paying the bills, spending time with your spouse or friends or family, your job, and so forth.

Many caregivers do not have the luxury to sacrifice these essentials. But they do anyway because they know how much the SSD recipient depends on them. Is there a way to meet everyone’s needs? Can you be an active, compassionate, present caregiver – often more than a full-time job – while simultaneously attending to the rest of your life? What should you do if you have fallen behind on your bills, gotten in trouble at your job, or suffered health consequences of your own?

Again, there are no easy or clear answers. The answer is always dependent on the situation. But caregivers can make some progress simply by noting what they need to get done and when they need to get it done. In other words, being organized in of itself will release some of the strain. What activities are essential and should not be delayed except under the most direst emergency (e.g. going to work, paying your bills) and what activities or goals can be put off, delayed, or eliminated altogether (e.g. TV watching, vacation plans, etc.)?

Avoid giving yourself too much to do. Focus on what really matters.

As human beings, our basic needs are pretty simple. We need food, shelter, health, good companionship, rest, exercise, and few other key components. Go through your life and figure out how you can meet all of your fundamental needs.

That’s the key: thinking.

Brainstorm creative ways to meet your needs without sacrificing your caregiver duties. You might be surprised. Once you have a very clear idea about what needs to be done, you might be surprised at how many different, creative, “shortcut” ways you can find to deal with your life and solve your problems.

Of course, you don’t have to do this all on your own. A qualified, high-caliber North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can help you not only with the legal issues facing SSD and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries, but a good law firm will also connect you with tools and resources to help in the other parts of your life as well.

More Web Resources:

Caregiver overwhelm

the genius of K.I.S.S.

Weaning Yourself Off of North Carolina Social Security Disability

August 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Even if you haven’t yet won your North Carolina Social Security Disability case, you should almost certainly be planning for the time where you no longer need the benefits.

This may seem like a bit of “putting the cart before the horse.” In some ways, it is. But as productivity guru Steven Covey has suggested, you should always begin projects “with the end in mind.” In other words, when you focus on positive outcomes – for instance, you are completely healed, back to work, and no longer in need of North Carolina Social Security Disability money to pay for your living expenses and other costs – then you can search for “shortcuts” to help you reach your end goals faster.

What kind of shortcuts are we talking about?

Here are a few ideas: If your goal is simply to speed up your retirement process – that is, to chip away at your expenses and collect new sources of income (such as SSD or Supplemental Security Income) to bridge the gap – then you can source a whole gamut of tools and resources to make that goal happen faster.

In other words, don’t just sit around and collect benefits in the hope that some magical solution will appear once the money runs out. You want to be analyzing and thinking about other ways you can either bring in more income or reduce your expenses or both – or maybe change your standard of living so you can afford a better life easier. For instance, instead of maintaining an expensive property, you may want to think about selling that property and moving in with a relative or moving to a part of the state where it’s cheaper to live.

The moral here is: It’s ultimately up to you to take action to change your life and shape it for the better. While a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can certainly help you manage the logistics and complications of your claim, you ultimately must “walk the walk.” The clearer you can see the “end game” and the more time you can spend coming up with various plans and approaches to achieve that goal (or goals), the more resourceful your law firm – or anyone else who wants to help you – can be for you.

More Web Resources:

Begin with the end in mind

 
 

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