Topic: Help for caregivers

No “Easy Button” for Social Security Disability Benefits Problems

March 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a Social Security Disability beneficiary — or perhaps more accurately, ‘would-be’ beneficiary — you’re hoping for easy answers.

You would like some person or entity to eliminate all the myriad stresses and make your life simpler. Unfortunately, because everything in your life feels so chaotic right now, you’re likely far more vulnerable to look for “easy buttons” — dangerous quick fixes.

You’re in a precarious position because of this yearning. Just peruse the web for countless examples of senior citizens — and sick and injured people — who’ve fallen victim to despicable “investment schemes” and other con games because they wanted to believe that someone, somewhere had “all the answers.”

So what can you do about your heightened vulnerability?

Unfortunately, you may not be able to eliminate all — or even most — of the uncertainty in your life. Certainly, no single blog post or even consultation with a qualified North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm will take care of all your problems.

But just being aware of your vulnerability can help. The awareness can inoculate you against false hopes, scam artists, and nonstrategic behavior.

By becoming aware, you can not only guard yourself better but also regain a sense of control. That’s very important. When you’re hurt and sick and without substantial financial means, you can easily feel at the mercy of forces beyond your control. When your primal need to exert influence on your environment does not get met, your life can feel pretty awful.

The point here is two-fold:

1. Your vulnerability can put you at risk for problems with your Social Security Disability case. Protect yourself by becoming aware of when and how you exhibit this vulnerability.

2. Your lack of control, in and of itself, can create stress and emotional problems. The more you can reassert control over your situation — even if only by minute actions — the better you’ll feel.

For a thorough consultation with an experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, connect with DeMayo Law team today at 1.877.529.1222.

Big Update to Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowance Program — 35 Additional Components Approved

February 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Big breaking news in the world of Social Security Disability law: the Social Security Administration (SSA) has expanded its popular Compassionate Allowances Program (CAL) to include 35 more conditions, bringing the total number of conditions to 200.

Depending on the nature of your ailment and its severity, you may qualify for benefits within just days as opposed to months or longer. If you qualify for the CAL program, you can bypass the typical detailed investigative process that the typical claims applicant needs to go through.

The CAL program dates back to 2008. At first, only 50 ailments qualified for this fast track approval. The initiative has been updated multiple times since then — last April, administrators added over 50 new conditions to the short list. The collaborative process that updates this program draws upon knowledge from medical professionals, scientists, and Social Security Disability beneficiaries themselves, along with research from the National Institutes of Health.

The new disease additions include Roberts Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, aplastic anemia, adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and other serious cancers and neurological conditions. For a full catalog of conditions covered under the Compassionate Allowances program, please visit the CAL’s official website.

If you’re confused about whether you might qualify either for the CAL program or for Social Security Disability in general, connect with us for clearheaded and thorough insight into your case. The team here at The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to provide a smart, complete and strategic evaluation of your case and give you good guidance about what to do (and what not to do) to maximize your chances for getting your claim accepted and minimizing the stresses and often needless hassles. Call us now for assistance at (877) 529-1222.

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

January 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Done? Okay, great!

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

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

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

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

Metastasized Breast Cancer? It Could Still Take a Year Before an Administrative Law Judge Hears the Case!

December 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

11 million people collect Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina and elsewhere every year.

The queue is long.

The process of securing success is littered with obstacles, both visible and invisible. We’d like to think that our benefits system is fair – that the most needy and sick get attended to first. However, that’s sometimes not the case. A recent Arizona Republic news piece highlights just how unfair the process can sometimes be.

A mother of two, Adria Howard, was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer. The illness stopped her from being able to work. So she applied for Social Security Disability. Her application got rejected without an explanation. She sought an appeal, only to discover that she might need to wait up to a year before the Administrative Law Judge hears her case. Meanwhile, her chemotherapy has caused constant pain, and her bills continue to stack up and cause stress.

The Baby Boomers are graying. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, and heart trouble. These two issues have stoked the horrifically long queue. Although the SSD program’s administrators have taken steps to expedite the claims process, many people still struggle. Part of the problem is, of course, the paperwork. You need to be super accurate. Even small errors, or lack of sufficient documentation of your disability, can lead to your claim getting stuck or rejected.

Getting Help Early in the Process Is the Key

Talk to an experienced Charlotte social security disability law firm about your options. A little accurate knowledge can inoculate you against problems that affect all too many beneficiaries. Getting clarity on your situation can reduce your stress. When we don’t understand what our future might hold – when we operate from a knowledge deficit – we stress more and make rash decisions that doom our quest. Clarity is the key to handling your claim and managing the diverse problems associated with your injury/illness.

How Can You Spend Money on Christmas Gifts When You Haven’t Even Collected Your Social Security Disability Benefits?

December 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Christmas time approaches, and it can be a challenging time for injured and sick people who are in need of North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits.

On the one hand, you want to exhibit your custom generosity and purchase gifts for friends and loved ones (and possibly for yourself!) On the other hand, you need to maintain a strict budget, especially if you have yet to learn whether you’ll qualify for benefits.

So you need to be frugal. But you also don’t want to be a scrooge, and giving gifts makes you feel good.

Substantial scientific research suggests that altruism – so-called “giving from the heart” – can have medically salutary effects. Altruism can boost immune function, lead to more clearheaded decision making, and improve perceived quality of life.

It may be possible to achieve both goals – to give generously AND maintain a strict leash on your spending. You’re just going to need to be a little more creative this year.

For instance, instead of buying presents for people, consider writing handwritten thoughtful cards or poems. If that’s too challenging, consider just volunteering your time. You don’t need to lift anything or “do work” for other people – just lending an empathetic ear can be an incredibly powerful gift, for instance, if you’re too weak to get out of your bed or leave your house/apartment.

Searching for ways to satisfy both your need to give generously and your need to conserve your money constitutes an example of what business thinker Jim Collins would call “The Genius of the AND.” Collins writes books for “corporate types” and business builders, but many of his principles apply broadly to diverse areas of life.

If you need North Carolina social security disability, you might benefit a lot from thinking deeply about his “Genius of the AND” idea – which, simply put, suggests that successful people often embrace paradoxically optimistic points of view to help them through life’s challenges.

All that said, odds are that you are in a difficult place right now, and you just want the simplest, most proven path to success regarding your benefits. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you. Our well-trained, battle-tested team will be happy to answer your questions and provide a free, powerful evaluation of your SSD or supplemental security income case.

How Well Are You Keeping Track of Your Quest for Social Security Disability in North Carolina?

November 29, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a North Carolina Social Security Disability claimant — or someone else who wants or needs government assistance, like Supplemental Security Income, to balance your budget and meet your financial needs in the wake of a serious injury or illness — you face a curious problem.

You are being ‘fed’ a lot of information from diverse sources about your Social Security Disability situation: you’re not quite sure how to process it all. Emotions like overwhelm, anxiety, frustration, and even depression may be clouding your thinking about your claims situation. These feelings likely have their roots in this “info processing” problem.

So how can you meet this challenge?

How can you process the competing sources of information about Social Security Disability to make better choices and feel more in command of your life? There are lot of ‘mental tools’ you can use. We’ve talked before about some of these thinking tools, such as author David Allen’s (Getting Things Done, Make It All Work) techniques as well as the “Five Whys” analysis. Rather than run through those models again; in this post, we’ll examine another method to help you clean out and clear up the informational chaos clogging your life.

This technique is called ‘Swallow the Frog.’

Every morning, do the hardest task of the day first. That’s it.

Say you’re urgently seeking a qualified Social Security Disability law firm — and you know you need to make calls and analyze your findings. That might be your top priority. So first thing in the morning — before you make breakfast, read the paper, surf the web, or do another ‘easier’ work task — you would ‘swallow the frog’ and make measurable progress on your law firm research.

When you swallow the frog first thing in the morning, you gain confidence and ‘productivity steam’ for the tasks ahead. Even if you accomplish nothing else for the rest of the day, you will still have gotten a big important task out of the way.

Stay tuned in two days for our next post, during which we’ll reveal another hugely helpful productivity tip to help you get clarity on your “information processing” dilemma.

Understand that you will not “fix your life” in one day or untangle the mess that’s been building in your life for years by following “one simple trick” or something hokey like that. The key to success is to understand and develop a toolbox of info-processing tools and then leverage those tools more and more over time.

How to Solve a Terrifying Social Security Disability Benefits Dilemma? (‘Sell Yourself’ An Hour A Day)

November 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As someone who has been injured or diagnosed with a serious illness, you’re desperate for help with your Social Security Disability claim. You may need outside resources, like an experienced law firm, such as DeMayo Law, to help you navigate the shoals of the SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) system. You may also need to call in favors from your spouse, your family, your employer, and even peripheral friends and loved ones to get through the challenging months (perhaps years) ahead.

Unfortunately, all too many Social Security Disability claimants develop a pathological mentality about their situations. This ‘victim mentality’ can lead them not only to make bad decisions but also to suffer depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues.

The reality is this: you may be sick and low energy. You may not have many resources at hand. But you can still leverage your own insights, over time, in a systematic way, to improve your life and deal with your problems.

This isn’t to say that you should (or can) figure out your problems on your own. However, you will likely see a world of difference if you adopt just the following powerful self-improvement habit:

Sell yourself one hour every day to think, reflect, and create a better life.

This trick is used by the most brilliant high performers in all types of human endeavor, from Olympics sports to high stakes business to politics. Great performers take responsibility for their fates and invest in knowledge, introspection, coaching, etc., to “problem-solve” themselves.

Now, you may be so enfeebled or depressed or time-strapped that you may only have 2-3 hours a day during which you can function productively. If that’s the case, maybe you will need to ‘sell yourself’ only 15 or 20 minutes a day. But just make sure you ‘hoard’ some time and energy to give to yourself, so that you can do things like: write in a journal; reflect on where you want your life to be five years from now; and analyze your recurring problems better.

You likely won’t see instant results with this kind of technique. But if you persist will selling yourself an hour a day, over months or years, you will develop deeper and deeper insights into your own yearnings, fears, hopes and habits. And this self knowledge will in turn allow you to make far better decisions not only with respect to your Social Security Disability case but also with respect other diverse problems you encounter in life.

Social Security Disability Nightmare: Collection Agency Tells Paralyzed Vet That He “Should Have Died” — All While Illegally Seizing His Wife’s Benefits!

October 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Every once in a while, you come across a story about a North Carolina Social Security disability situation that’s so blood boiling that it makes you question what’s become of our society.

Such is the case of Michael Collier, a U.S. veteran who suffered massive head and spinal trauma while defending our country – trauma that left him 100% disabled. Adding insult to surgery, a debt collection agency, Gurstel Chargo, recently froze Collier’s wife’s credit union account and then seized $6,000 from the account over Michael’s defaulted college loan – a loan that he had not been able to keep paying because of his 100% disability.

As any North Carolina Social Security disability law firm will tell you, collection agencies cannot seize disability benefits. When alerted to this at a hearing, the lawyer for the collection agency acknowledged that the money would be returned to the Colliers “right away” — but then the agency allegedly did something so horrifically misanthropic that it’s painful even to rewrite the words in this blog.

Allegedly, right after that hearing – the lawyer called up Mr. Collier and sneered that he would have to file a lawsuit to get the money back, knowing full well that the debtor and his wife lacked means to retain an attorney. In a later conversation with an employee of Gurstel Chargo, an employee told the Army veteran “F— you! Pay us your money! You can’t afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces your a– if you would have served our country better, you would have not been a disabled veteran living off Social Security while the rest of us honest Americans work our a– off. Too bad; you should have died.”

Although the Gurstel Chargo has said that such statements, if uttered, would have been “contrary to the policies, practices and values” of the company — and that they would take urgent disciplinary/corrective action — that may not be enough. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collection agency cannot use harassing/abusive language during an attempt to collect a debt. It’s illegal, not to mention unethical and, quite frankly, disgusting.

Even if your situation is not as dramatic and heartbreaking as Mr. Collier’s, you likely have a tremendously difficult road ahead. Fortunately, you do not need to fight your legal battles on your own. Connect immediately with the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo to schedule a free consultation withae member of our team. We can help you understand your options and make sensible, strategic choices to shield your rights and get fair treatment.

Where Is the Constraint That’s Preventing You from Getting North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits?

September 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Right now, you are in desperate straits; you want North Carolina social security disability benefits – and ideally, a lot more help – to manage your financial, medical, logistical, and emotional problems.

Given the chaos currently in your world, you might be tempted to “try a lot of things at once” to improve your situation. For instance:

•    You might invest dozens of hours reading about the social security disability system online.
•    You might talk to half a dozen Charlotte social security disability law firms (such as DeMayo Law) for help/insight into your issues.
•    You might hire a financial counselor to help you plan.
•    You might call in help from friends and relatives to assist you with adjusting to the chaos and coming up with a strategic life plan.

Any one of these approaches might be appropriate, at this time. But if you diversify your energy too much, you could wind up doing the equivalent of “being a jack of all trades and master of none” – in other words, in your diversification, you may inadvertently become inefficient, slow, and unsuccessful.

How to find the biggest leverage point that’s going to help you make the most progress: an uncommon approach

Preeminent author and business thinker Eliyahu Goldratt developed a school of management called the Theory of Constraints — a very useful set of ideas about how to manage complexity in the business world. One of Goldratt’s theses is pretty simple — it basically riffs on the old adage that a chain is only as strongest as its weakest link.

Picture a metal chain in your mind. Maybe one link is strong enough to hold 100 pounds and another link is strong enough to hold 200 pounds. But a third link can only hold 50 pounds – due to its shape or the alloys used in it or whatever.

If you spend your time and energy supporting and strengthening the other links on the chain, the chain itself will still break down at that third link (the 50 pound tolerance). Thus, you could invest massive amounts of resources and not get any more results.

The key, according to Goldratt and thinkers who agree with him, is to identify and support the constraint in the system. If you add 50 pounds of support to the weakest link, you’ve added 50 pounds of support to the entire chain – with a fraction of the investment and resources that you might otherwise invest.

Identifying Your Constraint Is Massively Important

The key in this model is to identify where your weakest link is now and to do something about that. Your constraint depends on the intimate details of your system. So if your system is designed to try to get you maximum social security disability benefits – as quickly and easily as possible – you need to figure out why you are not yet at your goal. That takes a certain kind of creative experience-based thinking.

The team at DeMayo Law can help you – and we provide free confidential consultations – but you can also just use this model to start thinking about your benefits quest more efficiently.

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 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.

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.

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

June 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to North Carolina social security disability benefits.

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

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

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

June 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flaws with the Social Security Disability Insurance Program Are Way Beyond Your Control

May 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you are a young, sick worker, who needs social security disability in North Carolina to pay for your rent and blossoming medical bills; or you are a baby boomer who needs supplemental security income due to a diverse basket of health problems (and their attendant medical bills!), you can be easily discouraged by news about the government’s benefits programs.

For instance, a recent report on social security disability insurance found that 10.6 million disabled Americans collected nearly $130 billion last year. This figure is astonishing. To put it into some context for you, the workers and their families were paid 25% more than the federal government collected through taxes on payroll. Why is this concerning? It’s concerning because, if we keep this behavior up, collectively, it will cause serious global financial ramifications. The spiking cost of disability insurance already sucks away nearly 20% of all the social security budget – that’s nearly 20 cents out of every dollar.

It’s an amazing amount. And that high figure combined with the fact that this figure is trending upwards has scared a lot of pundits and policy people. But while it’s good to have conversations about how to deal with this situation, if you or someone is sick or disabled or ill, there is really not much you can do by yourself to handle the social security disability crisis!

So when you do start getting distracted by it – reading news reports, blog entries, editorials, or what have you – know that you are ultimately stealing focus from more productive uses of your time.

We live in an attention deficit age – our attention is stressed and stretched more so than ever before in American history. Even healthy, “I can work easily” type people often find themselves spinning way too many plates. And if you are sick in need of disability benefits, you likely have even fewer productive hours in your day. Thus, you have a reduced ability to concentrate on the vital stuff that you need: to heal yourself, to deal with your bills, to manage the different problems in your life, and so forth.

The point here is not to tell you that we should ignore the grander problems of social security. Rather, the point is to get you to focus correctly! You need help. You need granular, “specific to you” help about how to get benefits, how to deal with a confusing system, how to ensure that you get paid on time, how to manage your out of control bills, how to get the appropriate medical care, and so on and so forth.

The focus has to be on you. (Or, if you are caring for someone else, it has to be on that person.)

Let the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo help you understand what you might be up against and develop strategies and tools to get the maximum results from your benefits quest.

Wishing You Were Sicker, So You Could Get North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits Easier?

May 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are desperate to resolve your North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits problems. You want/need money to run your life, pay for care, and support your family during these trying times.

In your yearning, you may become surprisingly jealous of people who are sicker/more injured than you are. As we discussed in a recent post on the Compassionate Allowances program, 5% to 6% of the approximately 3 million people who apply for a Social Security Disability every year in United States get “fast tracked” to benefits because of the severity of their conditions.

Obviously, on some level, you are glad that you are not as sick as someone who has a terminal cancer or some other horribly serious ailment – who can be fast tracked to Social Security Disability benefits. On the other hand, you are dealing with a serious issue, yourself. You would like a little more respect for the pain you are in and the financial stress you are under. It’s no fun to wait in line, no matter who you are or how healthy you feel. It’s even less “fun” to wait in a queue if you are extremely financially pressed and also sick and confused.

Part of what might be motivating your jealousy of these other beneficiaries is the chronic uncertainty in your life. Without better information or a “yes or no” verdict on your benefits question, you are left in a kind of permanent limbo. This uncertainty bleeds into every aspect of your life, work, rehab, and relationships.

So what do you do? How do you make some sense out of your situation? Are you just simply going to have to let the process play itself out?

You need not fight the system alone. A Social Security Disability law firm in North Carolina, for instance, can help you understand your needs, your options, and your potentially surprising resources. Avoid getting sucked into destructive emotions like jealousy, overwhelm, frustration, and fatigue, and then take positive, directed action to get you to your goals faster.

Connect with Michael A DeMayo and his team today for free help.

More Web Resources:

The Compassionate Allowances Program

When you are Being Jealous of Someone Who is Sick

The Numbness Problem and the Challenges of North Carolina Social Security Disability

March 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’ve been chasing North Carolina social security disability benefits for some time now. Perhaps you’ve tried to get help from programs, people, or institutions. No luck. You’re feeling frustrated and possibly angry. And the weeks, months, or even years of fruitless searching have led to a different level of emotional resistance. You are beginning to feel numb. This is a bad sign. But it’s understandable.

The Roots of the Numbness

We were all raised to believe in the American myth – that if you work hard enough, play by the rules, and show discipline, inventiveness, and passion, then you will be rewarded richly. But your struggles with the bureaucracy of social security disability in North Carolina have demonstrated that the system does not always “play fair.”

•    Maybe you got sick or injured because you received bad advice about how to take care of your body or protect yourself at work.
•    Maybe you got completely overwhelmed by insurance regulations or other bureaucratic rules and missed out on your chance to obtain benefits easily.
•    Perhaps you did everything right but still suffered because an insurance company or uncaring bureaucracy erred or even broke the law somehow.

In short, you tried to be a good citizen, but you encountered brick wall after brick wall. Who wouldn’t grow a bit “numb” in that environment? The numbness is a protective mechanism, psychologically speaking. If you cannot face your anger, fear, and frustration appropriately, you repress those feelings. Repression isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if it prevents you from making functional choices, obtaining help, and moving toward positive action, than it certainly is.

Escape from the Numbness Cycle

Moving beyond the numbness is more difficult than the typical cheery advice would have you believe. It requires sustained and progressive practice. You did not arrive at this state spontaneously after one set back. This numb state resulted from accumulated setbacks. So, step one is to appreciate that there is no magic bullet. Step two is to appreciate that your current view on your situation – your potential to recover, medically, financially, and psychologically – may not be accurate. With the right mindset, right resources, and right actions, you can recover more than you realize.

At the same time, do protect yourself. There are unethical people and companies that may try to take advantage of your vulnerable state and send you further down the numbness spiral. Ensure that whatever resources you use are trusted, vetted, credentialed, and appropriate for the kind of help that you need.

The Fight for North Carolina Social Security Disability Reform: Does It All Hinge on the Hormone Insulin?

March 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent post, we discussed how the challenges of North Carolina social security disability reform can only be met if and when we effectively manage the obesity/diabetes epidemic that’s currently plaguing North Carolina and the rest of the U.S.

But how can we stop the obesity epidemic in its tracks? We’ve been trying pretty hard for quite some time. But the problem seems to be getting worse and worse.

Perhaps we are looking at the problem incorrectly. Almost all obesity researchers, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, policy makers, and science journalists believe that obesity is caused by something called a “positive energy balance.” In less technical language, we believe that people get fat because they “eat too much” and fail to “burn off” enough energy. Sounds reasonable. Likewise, we believe that the cure to obesity must be a “negative energy balance.” In other words, someone who is obese needs to burn off more calories than he expends by eating less and/or exercising more. So we take these two basic assumptions about obesity and run with them. These precepts are ubiquitously accepted.

But are they valid?

Enter science journalist Gary Taubes. In his books Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, Mr. Taubes builds an impressive case that refutes these two basic building blocks of our understanding about obesity. Mr. Taubes suggests that thinking in terms of energy balance is silly and misleading. After all, in order to get fat, you need to store that fat in your body. In order to store fat, you need to have the help of hormones and enzymes. The main fat storage hormone is the hormone insulin. Without insulin, it can be very difficult, if not flat out impossible to store fat – ask any type one diabetic.

Conversely, ample evidence abounds to suggest that obesity is a disorder of “insulin resistance” – a metabolic problem, not an “energy balance” problem. If Mr. Taubes is correct, then the solution to the obesity epidemic is not to convince people to “eat less and exercise more” as people like Michelle Obama often importune. Instead, it’s to use dietary therapies and other therapies to help obese and overweight individuals normalize the hormonal/metabolic environment of the fat itself – mainly by controlling and normalizing insulin levels.

If Taubes’ theory is correct, not only might obese and overweight individuals enjoy substantial new hope (evidence suggests that controlling insulin is a more effective long-term therapy for weight loss than controlling calories). It also suggests that we may be able to use this new perspective to solve the seemingly intractable obesity epidemic – and thus ultimately to reform North Carolina social security disability and other programs like it that have been challenged by the obesity epidemic.

More Web Resources:

Is the “Calorie Counting” Approach to Weight Loss Flawed?

The War on Insulin

Four Books to Help North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregivers – Book One: Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

February 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Caregivers responsible for attending to North Carolina social security disability recipients are often put through the ringer.

You give love, kind attention, and physical and logistical support to someone who is extremely debilitated or even fatally ill. This effort consumes tremendous energy and spirit. Even if you are committed to helping the North Carolina social security disability beneficiary, and you are fueled by love and passion, you may find your motivation as a caregiver begin to flag.

To that end, this blog will introduce you to four exciting resources to help you understand new ways of thinking about your problems and deal with the challenges that caregivers all too often face on a daily basis.

Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

Ricard was trained as a scientist in France. In his early adult hood, he became fascinated with mindfulness meditation, and he traveled to Asia to study with Tibetan monks and other mystics. In Happiness, Ricard discusses his journey of overcoming his own inner demons and finding happiness. He also explores the scientific underpinnings of how regular (non-denominational) meditation structurally changes the brain and, quite literally, makes people happier.

For instance, Ricard participated in a brain scan study that highlighted the awesome effects of meditating regularly for decades (or for 10,000 plus hours in a lifetime). These brain scan studies demonstrated that the long-term meditators were “objectively” happier than the rest of us.

If Ricard and his colleagues are correct, then meditation can help people suffering in all sorts of situations – including suffering difficult work as a caregiver.

For more grounded and actionable advice about how to deal with financial troubles, such as a social security disability appeal, connect with an experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Amazon review of Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness

Instruction on the science and practice of meditation

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

January 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

In fact, they do the opposite.

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

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

More Web Resources:

Barry Schwartz’ The Paradox of Choice

Being a caregiver can be overwhelming

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

January 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone

How other people can help you solve deep and abiding problems

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

January 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Ask yourself if these statements resonate with you:

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

Renewing Your Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Finding inspiration when you feel lost and tired

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

January 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

The “Angry Birds” Problem

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

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

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

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

More web resources:

Addicted to Angry Birds?

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

 
 

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