Topic: Social Security benefits

Desperate for Social Security Disability Benefits? Get a Hobby!

March 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries (or want-to-be beneficiaries) can learn a lot from Rock ‘n’ Roll lyrics–specifically from 38 Special’s famous song “Hold on Loosely” which warned “Just hold on loosely, but don’t let go… if you cling too tightly, you’re going to lose control.”

Those are true words–particularly if you’ve been struggling with your Social Security Disability situation. Whether you caught a nasty case of pneumonia that’s kept you bedridden for months, or you wrecked your back in a construction accident in Raleigh, you need assistance and stat.

Unfortunately, life deals out unfair results, all the time. The more you strive to achieve a certain result, the more elusive that goal often seems to become. Ask any teenage boy (or girl) who’s ever been desperate for a date to a dance. When you act out of a desperate energy–as if your life depended on a particular outcome happening (or not happening)–you cede control over your destiny.

That loss of control, in and of itself, can cripple you.

We’ve discussed this theme dozens of times in dozens of ways on this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog, but it always bears repeating.

To break free from dependency on outcome, consider getting a hobby.

That might sound strange–perhaps even a bit insulting. But don’t take it the wrong way! Hobbies can be remarkably refreshing and invigorating. Whether you knit, play chess, participate in a Rotisserie Baseball League or whatever–a hobby gives you an outlet for your talents and energies. A great hobby can get you into a “flow state” and boost your mood. It can get you socialized and build your network, which can be important if you feel isolated and alone. When you get to work at something you’re good at, you will feel more engaged with life. You will be less likely to “dread the day” and more flexible and open.

If you have no hobbies, go on a hunt for at least one–preferably one that you can do without physical taxing yourself and one that involves being with other people.

If you already have a hobby that you love, brainstorm ways to get back to doing your hobby on a regular basis.

After Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Victory…

March 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a simple exercise that, dollars to donuts, you haven’t considered doing, one that can greatly enhance your quest for Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina or elsewhere.

Open up a Word processing document (or get out your trusty Moleskine notebook) and journal on the following topic: “What would my life be like, after I’ve locked down benefits and decisively gotten on the road to healing from my injury/illness?”

It sounds like a pedantic exercise–perhaps a little boring.

But you might be surprised by how powerful this type of journaling can be. When we struggle with vexing problems, such as how to make the Social Security Disability system work, we tend to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive (to pun on the classic song). That’s just human nature. When we get in this negative mindset, we tend to explain it away as “just being realistic.” But as elite theoretical physicists tell us, our understanding of “reality” depends sensitively on how we observe nature. Ask any serious student of Einstein’s Relativity or of the theories of quantum mechanics, and he or she will confirm: our intuitions about how Nature works are often WAY off the mark.

The point is this. When you focus on positive feelings, events, habits, and behaviors–what you would love to have in your life in the coming months and years–you can enjoy fresh energy and inspiration. This is not magic. It’s not as easy as closing your eyes and wishing your cancer or obesity into remission. But when you focus productively and proactively on good outcomes, don’t be surprised to see your behavior change and your roster of resources expand.

To that end, if you have yet to connect with a Social Security Disability law firm in Charlotte or elsewhere, please consider calling or emailing the DeMayo Law team today to set up a free consultation. We have excellent processes to help claimants like you succeed. Find out more about us online today, or call us for a free consultation at 1.877.529.1222.

When Should You “Break the Rules” and Deviate from Best Practices for Social Security Disability?

March 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

The average person who needs help with a North Carolina Social Security Disability claim should follow a standard set of strategies and principles — “best practices” — to maximize chances of success.

But when is it okay to deviate from these best practices? When is it more useful than not to “break the rules”? (When we say “break the rules,” we of course mean that in a metaphorical sense — you always need to follow the law or risk serious punishments!)

Different circumstances call for different strategies.

For instance, most claimants benefit from discussing their claims with Social Security Disability law firms. But some people may not need legal help. Maybe you have a gift for navigating bureaucracies. Or maybe you qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program — a special “fast track” system that allows certain very sick SSD applicants to jump the line.

Likewise, the average sick or injured person probably should sleep a lot, refrain from unhealthful behaviors, etc. But if you only have six months to live, you might decide that living without cigarettes (for example) is no longer worth the health benefits. So you start smoking. (Again, we are not advocating that anyone do that!)

The point is that you may want to modify or even throw out certain best practices based on the peculiarities of your situation.

How do you know when to deviate from best practices?

In the abstract, no one can really say.

One way to analyze this is to track your progress through metrics, somehow. For instance, maybe you want to eat a lot of junk food, even though you’re 30 lbs overweight. Ultimately, that’s your decision, even though it might not be the most healthful one. But you might hedge by tracking important metrics, such as your BMI, your triglyceride levels, and so forth, to determine how your “non-best practice behaviors” impact you.

It’s a lot easier to make decisions about what to do (and what to give up — or what to do more of!) when you understand your Social Security Disability problems in context. Let the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo educate you about your remedies, rights, and resources. Call us today for help at 1.877.529.1222.

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.

Overweight and Metabolically “Screwed Up” and in Need of Social Security Disability? Read this!

March 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Something like two-thirds of Americans currently suffer from obesity or overweight. Being overweight puts you at higher risk for metabolic syndrome and as well as for problems ranging from obesity to cancer to diabetes. If you’re in this group, you may be so metabolically damaged that you need to apply for Social Security disability in North Carolina to pay your bills, because you’re too sick and fatigued to support yourself through work.

Obesity and the diseases that coincide with it constitute the most epic challenge facing our state and our country. Yet the conventional treatment for this problem — “just stop eating so much” — in some ways treats all obese people the same way. This one-size-fits-all solution may not be the right approach — at least for a lot of people.

According to an alternative point of view, advocated by the so-called low carbohydrate diet research community, the quality of the calories we consume matters as well as the quantity of those calories. Certain types of calories (e.g. soda calories) cause our bodies to store fat, while other calories (e.g. broccoli calories) are somehow fundamentally healthier.

The debate over the viability of this second perspective — i.e. that some calories are inherently worse than others — can get heated. Groups like the Nutrition Science Initiative (a new non-profit based out of San Diego) are trying to help us better understand what causes and perpetuates problems like metabolic syndrome and obesity.

There are several important takeaways here.

First of all, if you’ve been struggling not only with your Social Security disability benefits, but also with metabolic problems, don’t give up hope. You might still find surprising resources that can help you bust through obstacles and get results faster and more effectively than you realize.

Secondly, and to that end, if you’ve been struggling with your case — or if you’re about to confront a serious challenge to your claim at Administrative Law Judge Hearing or Reconsideration, call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation.

Surviving the Social Security Disability Journey: The Art of Creative Improvisation

February 28, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As you move forward on your journey through the Social Security Disability process, you will encounter surprising obstacles, and, more hopefully, serendipitous opportunities to possibly improve your fortune and speed up your recovery from illness.

So how should you find these opportunities and surface these obstacles? What can you do to gain clarity on your situation and feel more in control?

One tool to use is creative improvisation.

Most Social Security Disability beneficiaries believe that their problems flow from a lack of resources — physical resources (e.g. you are too sick and tired); relationship resources (e.g. you don’t have enough of a social support network); or financial resources (e.g. you don’t have money to pay for your bills, house, medical care, etc.)

No doubt, you may have extremely limited resources. However, by cultivating your inner resourcefulness, you can often find solutions to challenges that currently seem intractable — perhaps impossible to break through.

Let’s talk through an example.

Let’s say you only have $200 a month to spend on food.

Until you get Social Security Disability benefits (if you can get them), you are strapped. You can’t afford to eat out, and you might feel compelled by your lack of resources to eat really low quality food because that’s the only stuff that you can afford.

However, if you get really resourceful and creative, you can find solutions. For instance, if your monthly budget for food is just $200 a month, that means you have just a little over $6 a day to spend on food. That’s not much, and the unresourceful person might be tempted to eat a lot of empty calories, like soda pop or boxed pasta and rice. Those foods aren’t very nutritious.

But you could get creative! For instance, maybe you could find a great all-you-can restaurant and make a regular habit of eating one very, very, very big meal a day — healthy foods, of course! (An added benefit: so-called “intermittent fasting” may have certain health benefits, especially with respect to insulin sensitivity).

Or… you could pitch a local restaurant owner on an arrangement, wherein your write very positive (but ethical) reviews of their cuisine in exchange for discounts on meals or something along those lines.

You can also tap into local food pantry programs… and on and on.

The point is that your inner resourcefulness is a powerful tool, and the more you cultivate this resourcefulness, the more you will feel back in control of your life and destiny, irrespective of what happens regarding your benefits. All that said, you probably do want to find a good Social Security Disability law firm. Please connect with the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation by calling us at (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.

Social Security Disability Theft of $62,000 Suggests Desperate and Sad Situation…

February 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many stories about Social Security Disability in North Carolina and beyond focus on grand problems (e.g. will the trust fund start to run dry as early as 2016, as some Republicans now argue?). Other stories focus on the painful and horrific elements (e.g. the Compassionate Allowances program just added 35 new conditions to its list — a “who’s who” of diseases that you would never wish on your worst enemy, including an array of scary sounding neurological diseases).

But sometimes it’s the minor sounding, almost “work a day” cases, that provide the most insight.

Gavin Fowkes, a 40-year-old mechanic from Delmont, Pennsylvania, has been ordered to pay over $62,000 in restitution to his father (and serve six months’ detention) for stealing his dad’s SSD benefits. U.S. District Judge Diamond also sentenced Fowkes to five years of probation for pilfering the benefits. Per the Tribune Review, Fowkes somehow arranged it so that his father’s checks got deposited into his account. He engaged in this low level thievery for seven years, until authorities figured out what was happening last September.

Judge Diamond applauded Fowkes’ “acceptance of responsibility” and cited his “lack of a criminal history” in the relatively light sentencing.

As much as the story reveals, it also leaves so much unsaid. Why would this man steal his own father’s Social Security Disability benefits? What kind of pressures or stresses might lead someone to do that? What was the relationship like? What’s the relationship like now, if it exists? And so forth.

The broader point is that fights over Social Security Disability benefits can often lead to all sorts of very fraught interactions with close friends and family members — and damage even close, trusting relationships. To protect yourself from these financial-stress-induced problems in your life, first you need clarity with respect to your claim. With more knowledge, you can make more accurate decisions and plan your finances more mindfully — so you can avoid having to make spontaneous and potentially dumb (even illegal) decisions regarding your income needs.

Call DeMayo Law at (877) 529-1222 now to set up a free, confidential consultation with us regarding your benefits situation.

Private Detective Indicted on Social Security Disability Fraud Charges

February 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s all too easy to judge Social Security Disability fraud defendants from afar.

If you are sick, and you desperately need benefits yourself, you may bitterly resent anyone who “cheats the system,” while you struggle to make ends meet while following the rules.

But many fraud cases are subtle. Studying them can help you understand what to do better (potentially) with respect to your North Carolina Social Security Disability claims process.

Consider the complex and sad case of 45-year-old David M. Disney (no relationship, it appears, to Walt Disney or the Disney Entertainment Company), who was indicted in January by a Federal Grand Jury for conspiracy to commit Social Security Disability fraud. Mr. Disney is a private detective who suffered a head injury back in 2003. He applied for Social Security Disability shortly thereafter. He succeeded with the claim and started collecting monthly payments. In spite of his ailment, however, he returned to work at his old company, DM Disney & Associates. He continued to work in violation of his arrangement — he was paid for doing surveillance for clients and for testifying before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board for a different client.

Disney wasn’t exactly raking in tons of money. And starting in 2007, he told the Social Security Administration what he was doing — that he was working again for $10 an hour, working 20 hours a week. All told, he logged 150 hours and earned just under $20,000 for doing so. Nevertheless, his acceptance of $140,000+ in benefits over the years  may have constituted fraud, and now he faces a possible battery of punishments, including but not limited to forced restitution, jail time, probation, and so forth.

The point of the sad story is that, as a potential beneficiary, you really need to play by the rules and to understand both your rights AND your responsibilities. Even seemingly innocent — or totally unconscious — mistakes can create problems for you, years down the line. These subtle issues can throw off your financial planning, endanger your profession, elevate your stress levels, and cause embarrassment and injury to your reputation.

Go through the process correctly. Get the help you need by connecting with the DeMayo Law Social Security Disability law team today at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation.

How Can You Make the North Carolina Social Security Disability Experience Slightly Less Dreadful?

February 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Your injury would be horrific enough in its own right. But now you also need to jump through hoops to collect minimal Social Security disability benefits? It all seems downright cruel. Given your extremely limited strength, time, attention and resources, what can you do to make a positive difference, both in your life generally and in your quest for benefits?

First off, if you haven’t yet connected with an attorney or Social Security disability law firm in Charlotte, please consider doing so to protect your rights and to identify potential problem areas with your claim. The team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo is available for free and confidential case consultations — call us now at (877) 529-1222.

Beyond that, you can also adopt changes to your lifestyle and diet to fix your metabolic issues and help you manage seemingly indirectly related problems, such as stress, depression, and so forth.

Cutting out junk food — and focusing on food quality

You’re sick, injured, and financially hard up. Right now, you’re just “trying to get by.” The idea of improving your diet somehow may not even be on your radar screen. But if you’re eating a lot of junk food — especially sugary stuff like cola, desserts, and other snacks that have a lot of easily digestible grains and starches — you might really give consideration to improving the quality of your food, not only to boost your metabolism, but also to improve your attention span, mood, blood sugar control, and beyond.

Determining what foods are “healthy” and what foods are “junk foods” is not necessarily so simple!

Even if you commit to eating a diet that’s “healthier,” you must wade through a lot of conflicting information. A new non-profit organization, the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), is funding research to help answer these questions in a more definitive fashion. But you might be surprised to learn that bacon — one of the most stereotypically “sinful” foods — is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as stearic acid and essential amino acids. One can perhaps build the case that bacon is actually a health food, believe it or not.

Conversely, other research suggests that soda pop might be more than just a source of empty calories. It could actually be a cause and perpetuator of insulin resistance in liver — the starting point of a cascade of metabolic issues, including diabetes and obesity.

Different people have different needs, regarding both their health and their Social Security Disability concerns. Talk to your physician before making any kind of changes to your diet and exercise regimen. And take time to research the true nature of a healthy diet.

3 Tragic Mistakes Many North Carolina Social Security Disability Applicants Make

February 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Applying for Social Security Disability should not be rocket science.

Unfortunately, all too many mental and physically ill people in North Carolina and beyond make basic mistakes that vastly complicate their claims and lead to lots of stress and frustration. Here are three very common ones.

Mistake #1: Based on incorrect assumptions about your health and/or income generation capacity, you fail to investigate your claim at all.

If you make $700 or more per month, you will generally have a hard time collecting benefits. Likewise, if you haven’t paid much into Social Security, and if you don’t have much of a work history, your road to benefits gets harder.

All that said, odds are high that you are overlooking important details about your claim. Furthermore, even if Social Security Disability benefits remain out of reach, you may be able to tap into other resources or programs to solve your problems.

Mistake #2: You get discouraged by your first rejection and fail to appeal vigorously.

The Social Security Disability process is multi-tiered. In an ideal world, your claim would go through seamlessly and rapidly on the first try. But you can still win on appeal, and any money you collect will still be good legal tender in the United States! Please read more about the various types of appeals, including Reconsideration and the Administrative Law Judge hearing, here on our website.

Mistake #3: You wait far too long before getting legal representation.

Since you’re already financially bereft, you may believe that you should just “represent yourself” to maximize how much you’ll collect. This calculus intuitively appeals. But — statistically speaking, at least — it’s wrong. Claimants tend to do better — i.e. collect more money overall and feel more certain and satisfied with their outcomes — when they find good legal representation.

Of course, not all Charlotte Social Security Disability law firms are equally up to the task of helping you succeed. Please consider calling the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a consultation with our experienced and helpful people.

Rebounding After Your Social Security Disability Claim Gets Rejected

January 31, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

That hurts on a number of fronts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 29, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 24, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

What’s a “Plan B”?

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

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

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

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

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

January 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Done? Okay, great!

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

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

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

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

Succeeding with Your Social Security Disability Claim in 2013

January 15, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a subtle distinction!

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

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

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

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

January 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 8, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 1, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

Here are three pretty cool ideas.

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

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

2. Get enough sunlight.

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

3. Journal – a lot – about diverse topics.

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

Regaining Autonomy in an Out of Control Environment

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

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

A Shortcut to Solving Your Social Security Disability Claims Crisis: Surfacing Your Obstacles!

December 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

What’s holding you back from collecting your North Carolina Social Security Disability claim? Why aren’t you leading the life you want?

Odds are, if you dwell on those questions for 10 minutes and brainstorm answers, you’ll come up with reasons along the lines with the following:

•    The queue for Social Security Disability is too long;
•    I can’t find a law firm to help me understand my rights and figure out what to do next;
•    I’m not feeling good, and the doctors keep changing their minds about my diagnosis;
•    My friend/relatives/co-workers are far less sympathetic than I thought they would be;
•    I’m feeling depressed and confused.

These concerns all might need to be addressed. However, before you start to plough forward and try to “solve” these problems, you might benefit from thinking in a different way.

Formulating a Positive Vision: And Finding the Constraint Preventing You from Achieving It

The first step is to imagine an idealized future, one in which your Charlotte Social Security Disability crisis has been handled, and you’re in a “great place.” Get expansive here! Don’t just imagine returning to the status quo — before you got sick, hurt, or financially entangled. Picture a wonderful outcome for your life, finances, health, et cetera. For instance, you might imagine living debt-free, in a nice house, and feeling good about your body and your health. Get very specific about what you would like your future to hold. Avoid constraining yourself with analytical thinking. That can come later.

Next, give yourself some time away from the process — a few hours or days. Then come back and refine the vision with analytical thinking: build a realistic but optimistic portrayal of how you want your life to be in, say, two years from now. For instance, one prerogative might be: “I have enough money from Social Security Disability and other sources to live comfortably.”

The next stage is key. Imagine all the obstacles in your way right now. Tap into your inner pessimist. What’s the disconnect between your present life and your idealized future. Name that disconnect — specifically! What’s “stuff” — if you had it, tomorrow — would transform your present situation into that great future?

For instance, one obstacle might be the in-limbo status of your Social Security Disability claim. Once you’ve listed your obstacles, brainstorm solutions. You need not “blow through” the obstacle. You can find shortcuts around it or search for ways to alter your goal, so that the obstacle becomes irrelevant.

For instance, if your ultimate goal is financial security, and you’re constrained by your inability to collect Social Security Disability benefits, perhaps you can find a proxy for that security. Perhaps a dear relative can lend you money, or you can try to qualify for other types of benefits.

Kickstart your journey towards getting fair, accurate benefits: connect with the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo now for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.

Accepting the Uncertainty of Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Claim

December 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You want a resolution regarding your North Carolina Social Security Disability case – ASAP, if not sooner.

Although you’d really like to collect money, you’d almost (in a sense) welcome even a rejection of your claim, because at least then you’d have some clarity about your future. If you knew that you’d never collect benefits, for instance, you’d be forced to come up with a “Plan B” to pay for your living expenses, care, and so forth.

People hate to live in limbo. We want clarity. Without clarity and constraints, we find it hard to function. This is why we build guardrails on our roads and why we discipline our kids. Structure that confines us, appropriately, in some sense also frees us.

On the other hand, uncertainty is a fact of life: it’s fundamental to the human condition. Your life can be ordered and organized to the maximum, but a strange diagnosis, car crash, or even an asteroid landing on your house can destroy the game plan and force you to reassess everything.

The notion that we can “plan everything” is just not supported by reality. This isn’t to say that people should not strive for clarity — or take advantage of knowledgeable resources, like the law firm of Michael A. DeMayo. Quite to the contrary! Indeed, the quest for clarity, itself, can yield immense benefits. You can’t just sit there and let the forces of chaos bother you.

Ultimately, we need balance — we must embrace chaos and order simultaneously. Most people are far less comfortable with uncertainty than they could be. The degree to which you can find inner peace and balance — even as your quest for Social Security Disability remains in limbo — in many respects represents the degree to which you’ll be happy, no matter what happens.

For help understanding how to maximize your benefits, get in touch with the team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo now for a confidential evaluation of your case.

The Connecticut School Shootings: Forcing Us to Put Our Problems in Perspective

December 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last week’s unbelievably repulsive school shooting in Connecticut left over two dozen people dead, many of whom were children. The national horror has forced all of us introspect and put our own problems in perspective.

If you’re struggling to get Social Security disability benefits in North Carolina, for instance, or striving to compel a reckless or a negligent corporation to compensate you or your family for serious harm done, the shootings obviously don’t “take away” your problems or make your struggles any less real. However, they do drive home the point that our time on this planet is short, and the forces that work on us are often unpredictable and malevolent.

All of us are on a mutual quest for clarity. We need help from other people to understand the rules for filing a Social Security disability claim, for instance. We also need less technical and more emotional help with issues like how to deal with one’s sense of guilt and shame following a workplace injury or how to deal with tragic, epic losses that seem purposeless and just so sad.

It’s the American way to “try to fix things” by engaging in tactics — to process towards a resolution or at least towards some clarity with respect to our problems. There is definitely a time and place for action and for planning. However, there is also time for reflection. There is a time to sit back and just appreciate your blessings. Yes, you’re struggling. Yes, life has been difficult and perhaps ferociously unfair and tragic.

Yet the human spirit is surprisingly resilient.

People can bounce back from the most epic of tragedies. Witness the heroic work of people like Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, or anti-apartheid champion, Nelson Mandela, in South Africa.

It’s a sad beautiful fact of the human condition that we cannot “rewind the clock” and get back time, energy, and physical stamina that we once had. However, if we can appreciate the blessings of the present and focus on what is possible not what “once was,” then maybe we can all begin to reclaim our humanity a little bit.

If you want to talk about your Social Security disability case, please call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a free consultation.

The Crazy Chaos of the North Carolina Social Security Disability System

December 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

When you read statistics about the Social Security disability system, they sometimes seem “dry.”

What does it mean that hundreds of thousands of people are “in the queue” to try to obtain benefits? We’ve never seen an actual line of human beings stretching hundreds of thousands of people long and taking months, if not years, to process. So we have no real world metaphor to understand the diversity and depth of the chaos of the current process.

When you “toss in” other disconcerting aspects of the process – insurance company headaches, struggles with diagnoses and treatment, secondary effects from drug therapies, relationship-related struggles caused/worsened by your illness – the situation can seem absolutely pell-mell. Where do you start? How do you even begin to formulate a plan of action, given that you’re not just dealing with the “known” problems associated with your illness/injury, but also with what ex-Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, cheekily once called the “known unknowns and the unknown unknowns”?

First of all, before you get overwhelmed by the chaos, consider the following piece of good news. Many people in situations very similar to yours have been able to get benefits, work through their medical issues, and get their lives back in order. Secondly, rest assured that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. You’re not the first person to struggle with your Social Security disability claim, and you won’t be the last. Solid law firms, like DeMayo Law here in Charlotte, have tremendous experience helping claimants strategize to get best results and deal with all the “known unknowns and unknown unknowns” that crop up along the way. Finally, appreciate that, for all the uncertainty around your claim, life also often offers possibility of serendipity. For instance, an old friend or family member may come forward to provide logistical help, financial assistance, or even moral support out of the blue. Even during our darkest times, positive serendipities can arise.

For help understanding what to do next about your North Carolina Social Security disability situation, get in touch with the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo today for a consultation.

What If Your Only Income Was North Carolina Social Security Disability… And You Had No Arms? How Would You Survive?

December 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re exploring or fighting for social security disability benefits in North Carolina. Your situation is hard, complicated, and confusing. You’re stressed about what might happen if you fail to collect benefits (or enough benefits), an agitation compounded by your medical woes, overall financial problems, and the emotional strain.

Believe it or not, some people have it worse!

Consider the case of Ty Williams, a North Carolina social security disability beneficiary who collects $962 a month. That’s Mr. Williams’ only income. Oh, and he is a double amputee.

His base line situation could be no metric be considered “easy.”

Yet forces beyond his control have conspired to make his problems even worse. Social Security gave him a raise earlier this year – ostensibly a good thing – but the 3% raise bumped him over North Carolina’s Medicaid cap, which legally compels Mr. Williams to pay a $700 per month deductible to keep his (obviously very necessary) in-home care. In an interview with NBC Charlotte, Williams admitted that this added burden would essentially forced him into a nursing home.

The state ostensibly solved this issue earlier in the year, by untethering Medicaid caps from federal cost of living adjustments (COLAs). Problem solved? Not so fast. The firm that pays for Williams’ caregivers slapped him with a past due bill for over $1000 and informed him that if he failed to pay the balance by the end of November, “his contract … and care … would be terminated.”

Fortunately, there may be a happy ending yet to Mr. Williams’ North Carolina social security disability odyssey. NBC’s Charlotte I team has goaded both Mecklenburg County Commissioners and North Carolina Legislators to deal with this issue, so that Mr. Williams and others who are similarly positioned won’t be disastrously afflicted.

Williams’ situation illustrates how fights over SSD or SSI income can easily lead to dire outcomes. When your finances are literally hanging by a thread – and you are dependent on federal government largess for support – you lose agency, and small problems (such as an overdue bill for $1000) can metastasize into enormous, life changing events.

If you’ve been confused and scared about what might happen to your benefits, get in touch with the DeMayo law team today to explore possible avenues toward success.

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.

The Importance of Considering Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Case from Multiple, Novel Angles

December 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re vexed by a problem regarding your Social Security Disability benefits.

Maybe you’ve tried and failed to get on the Compassionate Allowances list. Perhaps your benefits have been denied – or they are on the verge of being denied. Alternatively, perhaps you have been able to collect some money, but you’re unsure how to protect those benefits and carefully follow all the rules, so that you maintain your safety net.

Most beneficiaries (or would-be beneficiaries) lack perspective on the depth and breadth of their medical and financial challenges. They also lack the time and energy to think effectively about them. As a result, they wind up defaulting into old patterns, which deliver old results.

As Albert Einstein and other great thinkers have pointed out, to get fundamentally different results from a system or process, you need to approach that system or process from a perspective that’s fundamentally novel.

Outsourcing to experts can be a way to break through.

For instance, say you’ve been struggling to collect benefits or understand even how the SSD process works. Consider outsourcing that task to a trusted North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm. Or maybe you’ve been having trouble budgeting your living expenses. Perhaps you could outsource that task to a personal financial advisor.

To get new solutions, you need not always solicit the services of outside experts, however!

You can also “work this process” yourself, but you need to do so in a very specific, structured way. The brain uses two different cognitive apparati to solve problems: the brainstorming brain “goes diverse” to generate options, and the analytical brain hones and tests these options.

If you mix brainstorming and analyzing, you are likely to get a muddle. To gain new perspective on your current problems, first spend some time just brainstorming. Focus your question before you start brainstorming. “How can I get my cost of living down?” is far less evocative than a more specific question like “How can I get my monthly fixed expenses under $5,000 a month?” The more specificity you add – and the most constraints you put on your goal – the easier it will be to come up with novel, innovative, and potentially hugely powerful solutions.

Of course, you need not go through this process by yourself. Connect with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for detailed, compassionate assistance with your Social Security Disability problem.

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.

So Obamacare Lives But What About Social Security Disability, SSI, and Other Programs?

November 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

With President Obama’s surprisingly vigorous defeat of Mitt Romney in the November 6 election, pundits, policymakers, and Social Security Disability beneficiaries everywhere are speculating on what the next administration will do or at least attempt.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware that North Carolina was one of only two states that ‘flipped’ from its 2008 results in the Presidential election. Prior to voting day, we talked about how dangerous it can be to get wrapped up in macroscopic discussions about Social Security Disability in North Carolina or elsewhere  at the expense of paying attention to your own personal journey to wellness and financial security.
The reelection of Obama does have potentially immediate ramifications for your situation.

For instance, had the Republicans triumphed in the presidential race, and had they overtaken the Dems in the Senate, then the Affordable Health Act – colloquially known as Obamacare – would likely have been headed for the chopping block  or at least for significant modifications.

The prognosis for our healthcare system would be extremely different from what it is today.

As it stands, on November 16, many ambitious and meaningful aspects of Obamacare go into effect. Some claimants or would-be claimants will likely enjoy the fact that, pretty soon, insurance companies not be allowed to discriminate against folks on the basis of their preexisting conditions. Others will be less thrilled with Obamacare for various reasons.

We could go on for pages about the arguments and counterarguments about what Obamacare’s survival means. But just recognize that the system is changing in certain ways. It’s important to stay abreast and understand specifically what you need to do to improve your situation.

You don’t need to understand all the dynamics involved; you just need to understand what’s important to you. If you’re a 37-year-old on Social Security Disability claimant, you don’t need to pay attention to stuff that only applies to claimants who are over 65, to give an obvious example.

That said, even if you restrict yourself thusly, you can still get confused and overwhelmed. There is a lot to know! Turn to the team here at DeMayo Law for experienced, patient, and systematic guidance with your mission to get collect your claim.

3 Signs You Need Help from a North Carolina Social Security Disability Law Firm

November 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been dazzled or confused about the Social Security Disability system, a specialized North Carolina law firm might be a great ally in your quest for justice and fairness. Certain people need legal help more than others.

Here are 3 signs that you likely should get legal help ASAP:

1. Your initial attempts to get compensation have backfired.

Maybe you failed to understand eligibility requirements. Perhaps your claim was denied because you poorly executed your paperwork. Or maybe there is a deeper, more subtle reason that a well-equipped law firm can surface and resolve.

2. You’re disorganized — unable to track critical calendar reminders.

Especially in tricky cases — involving claim denials and stringent eligibility requirements — you could be at risk of making a critical error or omission. Many Charlotte Social Security Disability claimants (or would be claimants) are exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed, physically, and even cognitively impaired. If you have any of those problems, you can benefit from talking to a strategic law firm.

3. You’re unaware of mission critical legal or filing guidelines, eligibility requirements, etc.

Unfortunately, in the “game” of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, what you don’t know can hurt you. Theoretically, the system should be navigable even by uneducated, fatigued, and unsavvy citizens. But in practice, the SSD bureaucracy is complicated, and you may benefit hugely from good guidance.

Whether you retain the services of the DeMayo Law team or not, consider seeking legal help with your case, particularly if you face any complex or uncertain issues. “Complexities” often emerge only after you’ve started down the process.

Why It’s Important to Find Good Help Now — Not Later

Your ability to obtain appropriate benefits can have profound ramifications not only in terms of your ability to keep your house, get good medical care, and control over your finances, but also in terms of managing your overall state of mind during these challenging times.

Charlotte Social Security Disability Thought Experiment: In an Alternative Universe, You Won the Presidential Election. Who Cares?

November 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Most blogs about Social Security Disability in Charlotte and beyond focus on the narrow nitty-gritty of the SSD and SSI claims process. For instance:

•    Best practices for what to do at Reconsideration or at an Administrative Law Judge hearing;
•    How to interpret and execute necessary paperwork;
•    How to apply for the Compassionate Allowances program;
•    Etc.

These nuts and bolts issues are very important, and we try to address them from different angles here at this blog.

However, there is a hidden danger that waylays all too many Social Security Disability claimants. And that is this: when you have too many options for how to solve a problem or pursue a goal, your ability to get things done degrades instead of improves.

This is paradoxical.

You’d think that the more ìstuffî you throw at a problem, the better results you’d get. Not necessarily. As books like The Paradox of Choice and Stumbling on Happiness showcase, our ability to understand how our decisions will play out is horrendous. Moreover, examining too many scenarios — taking information from too many different sources — can have deleterious effects, not only on your general wellbeing but also on your capacity to move forward.

This brings us to the metaphorical title of this blog post: According to certain incarnations of quantum field theory, every possible universe exists simultaneously in different quantum dimensions. The physics underlying this theory is obviously beyond the scope of this blog; you can Google it, if you’re interested. The point is that this theory allows for a prolific and essentially wasteful universe, in which abnormal things happen an infinite number of times.

The recent election pitted President Obama vs. Governor Romney. In other quantum universes, YOU personally won the election for President, even though you were just sitting at home worrying about your Charlotte Social Security Disability benefits the night before.

In that universe, today, you are getting briefed by your soon-to-be Presidential advisors, and pundits everywhere are going bananas trying to understand how you won. According to quantum theory, that scenario has happened not just once but an infinite number of times in an infinite number of universes. It sounds wasteful, and improbable, but that’s what the theory says.

But if you spent any amount of time entertaining that premise — planning for it in any way — you would obviously be wasting your time. The odds of it happening are vanishingly small. The point is that you need to focus on the ìstuffî in your life that’s going to make a difference – that’s going to give you the best probability not only of winning your claim but also of fixing and improving your life.

The odds of you being able to divine “best practices” regarding your legal strategy on your own are also slim to none, even if you’ve taught yourself a little bit about the Social Security Disability system. You gain leverage when you work with experienced (and successful!) lawyers, such as the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo.

What Reddit Can Teach You about How to Maximize Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Claim

November 8, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The online social community Reddit has ìup votedî its way into the zeitgeist. Whether you’re filing a North Carolina Social Security Disability claim or simply struggling to figure out what to do after an injury or illness that’s knocked you out of work, odds are that you’ve spent some time on Reddit (or similar sites) distracting yourself from your painful reality. It’s fun to laugh at cats doing odd things, trade conspiracy theories, and engage in needless banter (or trolling) with other anonymous Reddit users.

But can Reddit’s existence tell you anything meaningful about how to be a better Social Security Disability claimant?

Perhaps. Here are three takeaways.

1. Our problems are more alike than we realize.

The interesting thing about Reddit is how it exposes the hopes, fears, tribulations, etc of people from around the world. What makes people laugh? Well, according to reddit: cats and also weirdly doctored pictures of Nicolas Cage and the so-called overly attached girlfriend (OAG). What makes people really angry and impassioned? Debates about whether God exists or not. Etc.

You may think that your particular problems with Social Security Disability are so out there or unique that they are insoluble. But that’s almost uncertainly not the case. Almost certainly, your situation is more average – even boring – than you realize.

2. A team of impassioned individuals can often achieve far more than even the most committed single individual.

If you’ve ever checked out some of Reddit’s AMAs (Ask Me Anythings) – during which special guests answer a flurry of questions from the Reddit community – you will notice how wide ranging and passionate the discussion can become. When people are truly committed about a topic, they can often surprise even though the world’s foremost experts on it. That’s why it’s helpful to have a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, such as the team at DeMayo Law, to analyze your situation to come up with the new and better ways of approaching it.

3. The cream rises to the top.

Yes, sites like Reddit are full of ìinjusticesî – just like the Social Security Disability system isn’t always fair. However, in general, at least according to most observers of the social media site, ìgood stuffî gets up-voted to the front page, while ìbad stuffî gets down voted into oblivion. Likewise, legitimate Social Security Disability claims in general can succeed, while scammy or illegitimate or poorly assembled claims get denied.

To metaphorically “up vote” your claim, get in touch with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today for a free consultation.

As Election Day Nears, Will the Implications for Social Security Disability in Charlotte Be Negligible Or Dramatic?

November 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As you go out to vote in the Presidential and statewide elections today, your Social Security Disability claim will press on your mind and potentially impact what levers you pull.

Unfortunately, despite what the pundits want you to believe, there is no way to know how or whether a particular election outcome will have a particular result for Social Security Disability.

If Romney wins the Presidency, perhaps he will deliver on his promise to fix up the economy and get Americans back to work… and his successes may ultimately improve government programs.

Conversely, perhaps the reelection of Barack Obama will spur him and his team to alter and/or fix aspects of our entitlement system.

Although both candidates – and their parties – obviously want what’s best for America and for SSD claimants, there is no telling how or whether politicians will be able to translate their intentions into positive actions. As anyone who has ever run a business or government initiative will tell you, plans have a funny way of changing even before they get implemented.

So what’s the takeaway for you — someone who’s concerned about your capacity to get benefits, improve your life, and recover from an illness or injury that’s led you to seek government help?

Would that there was a simple takeaway!

Truth be told, the election may shepherd interesting changes, but the real hard work that needs to be done will come from you and from the team that you assemble.

So, yes, exercise your franchise. Pay close attention to the outcomes of this year’s political battles. But give the lion’s share of your attention to understanding and reckoning with your personal problems. These may include your struggles for Social Security Disability but may extend way beyond SSD and include issues with your relationships, general struggles with your finances and budgeting, questions about your medical conditions, and so forth.

The team at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you manage you solve nagging, thorny problems related to your quest for benefits. Get in touch with us now for a free consultation.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Beneficiaries to Get “Pay Bump” — But a Shockingly Low One (1.7%)

November 1, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re on Social Security Disability in North Carolina, get set for a small pay bump come January.

Over 56 million people in the United States collect Social Security. They will be receiving a 1.7% pay hike – little less than $20 a month – in 2013. This may sound like good news, but it’s actually the lowest hike (to adjust for inflation) since 1975.

Simultaneously, 10 million people who still work and who make above the cut-off income of $110,100 will need to pay more in Social Security taxes next month. This cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) typically averages just over 4%. This super low 1.7% increase may challenge family planners.

Struggling with a North Carolina Social Security disability issue can be hard, whether you are wrestling with a serious illness or injury or you are simply financially flustered and unsure how to begin to respond to, say, the looming prospect of an Administrative Law Judge hearing.

The tested, trusted team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can educate you, support you, and give you the structured support to protect your interests, financially speaking and otherwise. Get in touch with the DeMayo team today for a free consultation.

Will Social Security Disability Be Affected by the Presidential Election?

October 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s coming down to the wire here in the North Carolina and elsewhere, as Governor Romney and President Obama battle to become the 44th President of the United States. What will the election results mean for North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries? More specifically: Will the reelection of Obama — or the new election of Romney — in any way substantially change the federal benefits program in a way that impacts your life?

No one has a crystal ball, so we can’t conclusively say anything. However, it’s highly unlikely that the election will massively change the Social Security disability program, at least in the short-term, in a way that radically upsets your life, for better or for worse.

Obviously, pundits on both sides of the aisle will try to make the case that “their guy” will help the program, while the “other guy” will hurt it and thus cause you pain. There’s not enough space on this blog to even identify all the arguments and counter-arguments on both sides, let alone address them or refute them at any meaningful level of detail.

That being said, people who spend their time thinking about the Social Security disability program — and helping beneficiaries like you make the system work for them — understand that big federal programs are not easily changed or modified. That’s for better and for worst.

What it means is that, if the pundits have made you anxious about your benefits, you can breathe a little easier. In fact, if you get too distracted by political sideshows, you might miss out opportunities to take action in your own life to radically improve your financial outlook, medical situation, and even at level of happiness.

This isn’t to say that you should ignore your benefits issues. (And if you’re struggling to make headway with an Administrative Law Judge hearing, Reconsideration, or any other point of the process, the DeMayo law team can offer you tested guidance.) Just recognize that you have limited time and energy, especially now that you are sick or injured.

Use your energy and time wisely. Spend time doing things you love, improving yourself, understanding your condition better, reaching out to friends and family, etc. Don’t waste it worrying about whether events that you cannot control might have some incremental influence on your financial situation 5 or 10 years into the future.

Your Understandable Anger When Other People Break the Rules for Social Security Disability

October 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re someone who really, desperately needs North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits. Or perhaps you’re a caregiver or a close family member of someone who is in major need.

If so, you may be simultaneously heartened by your potential to collect much needed benefits – according to one recent estimate, the average payout over a lifetime could be around $300,000. That’s no small amount of change! At the same time, you may have read reports like a blistering expose recently published in Forbes, which suggest that one out of every four Social Security Disability cases between 2006 and 2010 did not get carefully scrutinized.

The Senate’s “Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations” report – culled from 18 months of analysis and data mining – found that many benefits requests got approved ìwithout properly addressing insufficient, contradictory, and incomplete evidence.î

This new report has, unsurprisingly, touched off a political firestorm. On a personal level, the implications could be pretty devastating. What if you don’t collect Social Security Disability benefits because the government arbitrarily decides to ìclamp downî on you and does so unfairly. Or what if your legitimate claim gets rejected, while someone else’s flimsily compiled claim gets accepted? It’s a tough pill to swallow.

One key – and this is kind of a universal truism for dealing with problems in life, not just problems with North Carolina Social Security Disability – is to consider your own problems in a vacuum. You would never compare your body with the body of a supermodel or your income with Bill Gates’ or Warren Buffett’s. So don’t compare your SSD struggles with someone else’s. Instead, focus on what you can do to positively affect your world, and do your best to let go of the negative ruminations and envy and other unpleasant emotions. Focus on positive, tactical, and strategic steps that you can deploy to get to where you want to be; over the long-term, this frame of mind will pay off, both economically and even spiritually.

More Tips for Caregivers of Charlotte Social Security Disability Beneficiaries

October 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re a caregiver for someone on Social Security Disability in North Carolina, your life can get quickly out-of-control. Even the most mindful of us have a limited attention span. When we devote hours of our day to helping other people, we can feel a certain kind of grace and gratitude, but we can also accidently let our own needs fall through the cracks. In our last post, we discussed what caregivers can do to attend their own needs more effectively. In this post, we’re going to provide some tips for taking care of others in a compassionate way.

Tip #1: Avoid “taking it personally.”

When you give care to a close friend or a family member, the experience can lead to the arising of many emotions and thoughts, some of which may be disturbing or unpleasant. For instance, say you’re taking care of an elderly parent who’s been ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease or some other degenerative disorder. The experience of caring for a helpless person who once cared for you can be confusing in many ways. Plus, sometimes people who are sick or ill or otherwise disturbed can lash out and “say things” that can hurt your feelings. Again, your watch word should be compassion – pay attention to these feelings and thoughts, and understand that they are normal. Try to let the guilt, shame, and fear go and embrace the positive thought that you are doing something profoundly positive and wonderful for another human being in distress.

Tip #2: Get organized!

Care giving is hard enough – with all the appointments you need to remember, the doctors names, prescriptions, phone numbers, emergency procedures, etc. It can be infinitely harder if your personal systems are disorganized or in disarray. Just like new parents must get superorganized to create “their nests” for their kids, so too should you “get organized” to create a more pleasant environment, so you don’t forget appointments or let your needs go unmet.

David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system provides a great general overview of how to increase your productivity.

Tip #3: Resolve any benefits questions ASAP.

If the person you’re caring for has not yet secured Social Security disability benefits, talk to the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo to discuss your options. Our team is patient, compassionate, and thorough, and we can help you move forward effectively.

Tips for Caring for Someone on Social Security Disability in North Carolina or Elsewhere

October 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your mom was just diagnosed with cancer or some other terminal illness, or your spouse or good friend just lost her job after an injury, you know someone on Social Security Disability in North Carolina who really needs help.

You want to be a compassionate, generous caregiver. At the same time, you need to protect your own needs for health, well being and financial solvency. In this article and one that follows, our North Carolina social security disability blog will provide a slew of ideas to help you at multiple stages of this process.

Tip #1: Avoid “going it alone.”

Far too many caregivers take on way too much responsibility way too quickly and wind up feeling bitter, resentful, and overwhelmed. Even small “stuff” that seems like it should be easy to do can quickly overload you. For instance, say a person you love has an Administrative Law Judge hearing or Reconsideration for Social Security Disability coming up. Rather than doing the prep all yourself, consider connecting with a Charlotte social security disability law firm to avoid mistakes.

Tip #2: Establish your ground rules early on.

What will you or won’t you do for the person who needs help?

You need to think this through before you get started. You need to be clear with the person – and with yourself – about your own limitations. If you need to work to support your husband or children, you must make sure to meet that need while providing care. One way to “surface” the values that might best govern your interaction is to do the following exercise. Open up a journal and spend 5 to 10 minutes writing down the instructions that you would give to someone who had total dominion over this caregiving process. What would you tell that person to do and/or avoid doing? Those are your values, and you should hew to them.

Tip #3: Introspect and pay attention to yourself.

It’s easy enough to enter into “emergency mode” when someone you love desperately needs help. And there are some times where you just don’t have time or space or energy to “introspect.” For instance, you might need to take the person to an emergency doctor’s visit or to stay up all night with him or her and talk about feelings or something along those lines.

Do what you believe needs to be done.

But ALSO budget time and mental space to check in with yourself.

Rest or meditate for 15 minutes a day, for instance, and/or write about your experience in a journal and then re-read that journal periodically (at least once a week), so you can get a deeper intuition for what your inner voice is telling you. Don’t sacrifice your own needs. Ironically, when you pay close attention to your own needs, you would be more likely to give better, longer, more compassionate care.

Social Security Disability in Charlotte: Missing the Forest for the Trees

September 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s hot out. What are the implications of this crazy weather for the debate over Social Security disability in Charlotte and elsewhere?

If you live in Charlotte, and you’re struggling with Social Security disability issues, your concerns are probably narrowly focused and centered on yourself and your situation. And this is as it should be. You might have a serious medical problem that needs immediate care. You might have serious financial headaches that need to be quelled. And so forth.

But “bigger picture” concerns lurk, and if you fail to attend to them – that is, to see your struggle in a larger context – you could make less than strategic decisions.
It’s easy to miss the forest for the threes – to mindlessly go along with the herd – when you’re analyzing your North Carolina Social Security Disability situation.

It’s easy to make conventional mistakes that could cost you dearly and blunt you from obtaining proper compensation and managing the new chaos in your world.

We all demonstrate what psychologists call conformation biases. That is, we tend to interpret evidence that comes into our world as confirming what we already “know” is true. This happens even when we confront conflicting data or obtain dubious results.

Consider, for instance, the question of anthropomorphic global warming (AGW). Without getting too much into the science – or getting too political! – it’s interesting to note that this summer has seen a spate of extremely high temperatures across United States.

We’ve seen record-breaking heat here in North Carolina and elsewhere. Advocates of the conventional global warming theory – which argues that man-made CO2 emissions have exacerbated the Earth’s greenhouse effects, changing the climate and making the earth hotter – quickly seized on this evidence to augment their case that global warming is, indeed, occurring.

Whether the advocates are correct or not remains to be seen. But the point is that, if you look at other data regarding the climate, many of these data challenge conventional global warming models, or even significantly undercut them. But you will never read about these “contrary” data points in the headlines, unless you’re already skeptical and thus looking for them.

In generally, you will generally only “see” evidence that seems to confirm your opinion on any given subject.

If the subject is something you have no vested interest in – or that’s way beyond your personal control, such as the earth’s climate – then your confirmation bias (or lack thereof) is not a big problem. But if you “go with the flow” regarding certain ways of approaching your Charlotte Social Security Disability case, you could inadvertently cripple your chances of success.

The way out is to find well-versed, success-proven guides to help you navigate the labyrinth of our federal Social Security Disability program. The team here at DeMayo Law can help you do just that. Get in touch with us today for a free case evaluation, and let us help you try to maximize your benefits and peace of mind.

Could the Launch of NuSI Mark the Beginning of the End of Our North Carolina Social Security Disability Struggles?

September 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Everyone wants to know: when will the Social Security disability system be fixed?

Well, on one hand, the situation is obviously mindbogglingly complicated. The number of stakeholders, diversity of problems, and number of competing theories about what to do and how to do it could easily fill up half the internet.

On the other hand, certain themes emerge, when you study policy proposals. One of the themes is the crushing burden of obesity and chronic disease on our healthcare system and infrastructure.

North Carolinians and Americans are trapped in twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, and these two diseases are closely linked with other chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Obesity alone is estimated to ravage national economy to something along the lines of $150 billion a year.

But what if we’re wrong about the very CAUSE of obesity?

And what if, as a result of that fundamental error, we’ve inadvertently caused the crippling of the North Carolina Social Security disability system?

Furthermore, if we have gotten some of the “big picture” stuff wrong, could innovations in science and policy based on a more correct perception of the problem help staunch and even reverse damage done to our healthcare system and thus make programs like Social Security disability more solvent?

We may soon find out.

A bold new non-profit, the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), launched last week to explore fundamental questions about obesity and chronic disease. The founders, science journalist Gary Taubes and Dr. Peter Attia, believe that a lot of the research conducted in the fields of obesity and chronic disease has been poorly designed and poorly controlled. According to Dr. Attia and Taubes, this rash of “bad science” may be impeding us from solving our obesity and chronic health problems because our health authorities have been encouraging Americans to eat the wrong types of foods to prevent/treat obesity.

Funded by a powerful hedge fund out of Texas, NuSI has coordinated some of the most talented scientists and researchers in obesity and chronic disease to engage in truly rigorous scientific experiments to suss out the true causes (and potential cures) of obesity.

It’s exciting times. If NuSI succeeds, we all succeed, our future may be a lot brighter — and lighter! — than many of the doomsdayers would have you believe.

An Unspoken (But Important) Truth about North Carolina Social Security Disability

September 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

One of the great tragedies of the North Carolina Social Security Disability system (and indeed government benefit systems the country over) is that many sick and injured people work under the assumption that there is someone or some institution that’s emotionally interested in your success. But there’s not.

This observation is not meant to be cynical.

Obviously, there are many good, warmhearted people who work in the Social Security Disability bureaucracy, and one could document thousands, perhaps millions, of small acts of kindness committed by healthcare providers and others “in the system.”

But the gaping unspoken truth is that we are all in this alone, together.

Yes, your physician may be personally invested in you. Yes, you can obviously lean on legal resources, such as the team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, for practical, thorough help with your Charlotte Social Security Disability questions and much more. But the journey from sickness to health – from financial trouble to financial solvency – can be a lonely, exhausting, surprisingly challenging trip, indeed.

Why is it important to talk about how lonely and challenging this journey can be?

Well, it’s important because, when you operate under the assumption that there is someone or some institution looking after you, who is going to be more invested in your success than you personally will be – then you may take a too-passive role in your own care.

This can be dangerous.

It can be dangerous because you might, for instance, assume that your doctor’s office did not call you back for an appointment because “they realized you’re a-ok”… when in fact, a clerical error was to blame, and you really do need to go back to the doctor to change your medication or whatever.

Taking personal responsibility in your condition is very different from accepting culpability!

For instance, you may have gotten sick or injured at work or slammed by a series of financial catastrophes – that’s in no way your fault, and anyone who would try to make the case that it was would be not only presumptuous but also wrong.

On the other hand, personal “responsibility” is different.

Even when you’re waylaid by an injury or illness or fatigue or financial trouble – or all of the above – the degree to which you can exert agency over your situation will not only nicely predict your ability to conquer your problem but will also predict your degree of happiness with the outcome. When we exert agency – even if we’re constrained by multiple factors – we tend to feel more motivated and more persistent, and we tend to succeed more often.

So let go of the idea that there is a person or institution who will care more about your fate than you will, and understand that we are all in this alone together. Just by recognizing that truth, you should feel more motivated and more positive about what you might be able to do.

The Aftermath of the GOP and Democratic Conventions – What it Means for Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Elsewhere?

September 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you were glued to the TV for both the Republican and Democratic conventions — or you were too busy managing the multiple crises spawned by your quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability to pay attention to the political theater — you are probably wondering how the November election results will impact your personal finances and medical care.

As election season heats up, pundits and prognosticators are going to be making all sorts of predictions – some cataclysmic, some pie in the sky – about how various election outcomes will change Social Security Disability in Charlotte and other benefits programs.

Both GOP boosters and Obama boosters will come with compelling and emotionally taught arguments for their positions. But in the midst of all this confusion, understand that it’s nearly impossible to discern exactly how different election results will impact you on a personal level.

After all, consider the myriad factors that influence not only Social Security Disability solvency but also its processes and systems. These include:

•    The medical needs of people in North Carolina and beyond;
•    Political considerations on multiple levels;
•    Budgetary/economic considerations;
•    Foreign policy needs/concerns/threats;
•    The emergence (or lack thereof) of innovative methods to solve SSD problems.

That’s only a rough categorization of some of the macroscopic factors that could influence Social Security Disability and other benefits programs. It doesn’t even beginning to touch upon your personal situation.

The reality is that we live in an integrated, complicated world.

Although we like it when politicians paint simplistic pictures – compelling emotional stories – the reality is that it’s just not easy to link causes to effects in complex systems, even when you’re talking about predicting the workings of a system instead of just rationalizing it.

So where does that leave you?

First of all, seek to control what you can control. Don’t worry about the solvency of the Federal Government’s programs – it’s really outside of your control. The time that you waste thinking about it is the time that you could spend thinking about your own problems and figuring out how to solve them better.

Secondly, try to solve all of your benefits problems on your own. Life is complicated, and you’re probably not an expert in the law, processes, and nuances of federal benefits programs. Connect with the team here at the Law Offices on Michael A. DeMayo for deep insights and step-by-step assistance with you quest to get the money that you need to live your life.

Obama’s Post-Convention “Bounce” and Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Journey

September 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s your mission to collect Charlotte Social Security Disability benefits.

Whether you contracted a terrible illness that’s knocked you off your feet or you suffered a serious injury that’s waylaid you, you just want “the system to play fair.” This is totally understandable. But if you’ve been obsessing over the details of the North Carolina Social Security Disability system – reading about the benefits program for hours online, chatting with other sick and injured folks on web forms, scouting law firms, like DeMayo law, for possible help – then you may be falling into a kind of trap.

The trap is a classic one: missing the forest for the trees.

To illustrate this, let’s just take a look at the political pundits’ analysis of the GOP and Democratic conventions. According to ace pollster Nate Silver of the New York Times, President Obama saw a small but definitive “bounce” in his poll numbers following the two conventions. This observation sparked a cascade of reactions in the political blogosphere, ranging from hand-wringing among Republicans, who worry that Romney is not waging an A+ campaign, to cautionary enthusiasm among Democrats.

Speculation can be useful, obviously. Just as detailed researching about SSD can be, as can reading stories of successful beneficiaries.

But there is a limit to how much any trend can tell us.

Just like there is a limit to how much “detailed research” can illuminate and resolve our concerns.

After all, polls are just polls, trends are just trends, and stories are just stories.

To make more sensible progress – and draw better conclusions – you need to look at the bigger picture as well as the little details. When you ask bigger picture questions, you tend to frame your struggles differently and to identify different resources and new ways of thinking about your challenges. For instance, instead of getting mired in the details of “how much am I going to collect from Social Security Disability?” you might frame your crisis in more general terms:

•    What do I want my life to look like six months, a year, five years from now?
•    What’s my number one priority – if I had to choose just one thing – for the next year?
•    What’s the minimum amount of money or help that I need to achieve that one outcome?

Thinking on this grander scale can help you break free from the tedious minutia that throw us off-track and get us revved up for nothing. For instance, if your main concern isn’t milking the benefits program for a maximum dollar amount but rather recovering from a serious back injury, then the lion’s share of your time, resources, and energy need to go to that problem.

Obviously, you can and should fight hard for your benefits – the team here at DeMayo Law can help with that – but if your primary concern is to heal your back, researching about the future of federal benefits programs is not going to get you there fastest.

The moral is this: Understand the purpose of your quest – before you get into the nitty gritty – whether the quest is for benefits, better health or a good Charlotte law firm.

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.

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.

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.

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

July 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

What are some stories you might tell yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surfacing these unconscious tales is surprisingly easy.

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

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

A Fairytale North Carolina Social Security Disability Ending

July 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

What the cynics will tell you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embracing a Paradox about North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits

June 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

This question holds powerful subtleties worth study.

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

Here is why this paradox possibly works:

It deals in reality

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

It provides peace of mind

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

Hidden “shortcuts” to resourceful living

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

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

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

June 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to North Carolina social security disability benefits.

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

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

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

June 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Not Eligible for Compassionate Allowances: the Frustration of It All

June 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

But what if you don’t qualify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

But you never know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scary News about North Carolina Social Security Disability: How Concerned Should You Be?

May 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

With the 2012 political battles beginning to heat up, be prepared to hear some significant “doomsday” news about social security disability in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Pundits from every point on the political spectrum are going to be talking in grandiose terms about government benefits programs and healthcare — both to whip up their own supporters and also to depress their opponents’ supporters. This isn’t to say that we as a nation do not need to have a frank and diverse discussion about the problems of social security disability in North Carolina and beyond. But the kind of politically-charged atmosphere in which this public debate takes place can be pretty disturbing, especially for people who just want to collect fair benefits, get good care, and regain a degree of certainty in their lives.

After all, say you suddenly contract a serious illness or get into a major accident. Now you need 12-plus months off of work just to recover, and your life is almost certainly topsy turvy for a diverse number of reasons. The last thing you need is to get even more scared and more “thrown off your game” by thunderous proclamations about social security’s imminent bankruptcy or what have you.

On a practical level, do understand that the operatic battle over our government benefits programs might ultimately hold implications for you, albeit extremely indirectly. But also realize that the situation is almost completely out of your personal control. So worrying about what’s going to happen is really a fruitless use of your time.

At the same time, there are actions that you can take immediately that could play an enormously powerful role in helping you deal with your challenges, take advantage of opportunities, and generally manage the chaos in your life. One of the smartest ways to go is to find useful allies – experienced resources and people who can help you understand what you might be up against, help you find shortcuts through your problems, and so forth. Michael A. DeMayo’s North Carolina social security disability law firm has generated exceptional results for clients in similar positions to yours.

Connect with the team immediately for a free consultation so that you can begin to get a handle on your opportunities and potential struggles. Start focusing on the “stuff” that could make a difference in your life and stop worrying so much about the “stuff” over which you have little to no control.

Getting Social about Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Elsewhere

May 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Going through the North Carolina social security disability process can be a very lonely and isolating experience, even if you have friends and family around who are supportive — and even if you have a great North Carolina social security disability law firm, like the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo, helping you with issues like an administrative law judge hearing or a problem related to your employer or physician.

In other words, even if you have support structures in place, you can feel pretty scared and isolated.

To that end, many beneficiaries – or friends and family members of beneficiaries – find themselves often going online to connect with other people who have similar plights. It’s difficult to understand the experience of being really sick and needing government benefits when you’re not in that situation yourself. People make assumptions about what happened and what you need to do next. Those assumptions may or not be correct. But they are based on ignorance of the situation.

On the other hand, other people going through this process – waiting for benefits, getting medical care, struggling to keep afloat financially – can validate your feelings and perspectives. They can give you insight into tactics and strategies to use to make life a little easier, communicate with your doctors a little better, make better use of your benefits, and on and on.

So there’s definitely a very positive aspect of “going social” – sharing your story, sharing your struggles, helping others, getting feedback, etc.

But there is also a very clear danger of the “the blind leading the blind.” You need to be careful when it comes to revealing certain information about yourself and your condition online for security reasons and also, potentially, for legal reasons. You also need to be careful to avoid following quackish medical advice. It’s useful to validate information you get online with outside sources to see whether it’s a legitimate source of information or idea.

Wielding the double-edge sword

Getting social about social security disability has serious pros and serious cons. To that end, just use the tool with care. Make sure that you talk to your medical providers about treatment options or diets that you want to try. Be sure to check with your law firm regarding steps to take.

That said, also be willing to expand your mind and listen to different points of view. There are so many different problems associated with being on SSD, supplement security income, or other government benefits programs. The “hive mind” is often very good at solving nitpicky details that other sources of help might not address or might not even recognize are causing you pain and problems.

More Web Resources:

Using social media wisely

North Carolina Social Security Disability – The Price of Not Knowing

May 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Why is the quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability so stressful? Why does it keep you up at night? Why are you fretting about the results of your administrative law judge hearing, reconsideration, or other action?

You might default to the obvious answer: you need money. You’re worried because you want to secure benefits to pay for your medical care and pay for your life. That’s all well and good – you definitely need money to support yourself and your family during this crisis. Perhaps you’ve been in financial straits before – or operated in an uncertain environment – and you found it to be hugely stressful. For instance, maybe back when you started working, you had no idea whether you’d receive a promotion or not, and that was stressful. But the stress of that in no way could compare to the stress of your fight for disability benefits. Why?

One reason is that your illness or injury has compromised your ability to work and earn money. And that’s scary. Because if you are out of a job, or you’re not getting promoted, or you’re struggling with credit card debt, your problem is strictly financial. You can always, theoretically, find a new job, get a mentor, or otherwise increase your earning capacity. But when you are sick and injured – and potentially at risk for more health problems in the future – this loss of earning capacity is particularly scary.

The second big reason why it’s scary is that you’re being held in limbo. If you got a call tomorrow from a bureaucrat who told you that there was no way on earth you would ever receive North Carolina social security disability, you’d probably be upset and would rightfully rail against the unfairness of this. But, as the days or weeks went by, you would come to terms with the unfairness of the system, and you would find another way to meet your meet needs. Life would go on, and you would manage somehow.

On the other hand, when you are in limbo – when you have no idea whether you’re going to get the benefits or not – you are spending a lot of time focusing on the pros and cons of different outcomes. Your brain has a very difficult time letting it go. And this causes stress and panic – the vast majority of which is counterproductive, because stress and panic do not help your outcome unless they are connected to positive action.

So where are we all going with this? The answer is essentially this: Whether you work with DeMayo Law or another North Carolina social security disability law firm, you need to give yourself a break. Recognize your challenges, and realize that clarity is needed for you to enjoy true stress relief.

More Web Resources:

Why uncertainty causes stresses

How to overcome uncertainty

Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Quest: Defining Your Values and Vision

May 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Earlier this week, we talked about how North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries (or would-be beneficiaries) can gain tremendous leverage by defining and understanding the purpose of their quest. If you know why you want benefits, you can be far more methodical and efficient in how you obtain them – and you can often tap into deep reservoirs of emotion to motivate you to push through obstacles.

Today, we’re going to talk about values and vision. What are the values that you want to govern your North Carolina social security disability push? And what’s your vision for success? Let’s take these questions one at a time.

Values

Here’s a quick, handy way to determine your values for any kind of activity, courtesy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. You simply think about outsourcing the entire task to another person or organization. Then you think about what kind of rules you would want that person or organization to abide by as they work for you. For instance, whether you outsourced a job to an experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm (like the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo) or a magical social security disability fairy, here are some values that might be important to you:

•    Stay ethical – don’t violate any laws
•    Give me the most money possible
•    Complete the process as quickly as possible – I don’t want to drag this thing on for months or years
•    Keep me involved at every step of the way, so I can correct the course if need be
•    Make the process as simple as possible.

You get the idea. Basically, you want to define the parameters that govern your quest. You can do this for yourself by imagining the rules of conduct that you would impose on someone else.

It’s very helpful to write down both your values and your purpose for any activity, especially a potentially long and involved process like the quest for North Carolina social security disability benefits.

Vision

Your next step is to get very, very clear and concrete about what you would like to achieve in the future. There are many different ways to define success for your quest. It could be to maximize your benefits. It could be to minimize your stress. It could be to just get some money, so you can get this whole thing “off your plate” and focus on recovering from your illness/injury. Every person is going to have a different vision for success. So the clearer you are about your vision, the more likely you will be to achieve what you want. You can then communicate this vision with people who help you. For instance, if you connect with a law firm and you tell your legal allies, “Success to me means getting as much money as possible, and I don’t care how long it takes or what I have to do to succeed,” then your attorneys will take certain steps to help you. On the other hand, you will take a different route if you tell your allies, “Success to me means getting this done with as soon as possible. I don’t care if I don’t get the maximum amount. I just want to over and done with.”

Getting clear about your purpose, values, and vision can give you a kind of magical clarity and reduce some of the uncertainty and stress you feel – which in turn can help you focus more on healing, dealing with your financial problems, and managing the injury/illness-related chaos in your life.

More Web Resources:

Defining your values, per David Allen’s Getting Things Done system

Coming up with a clear vision for your ideal outcome

When North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits Are Just Not Enough

May 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The fight for North Carolina social security disability benefits can be vicious and frustrating. But even after you’ve gone through the gauntlet and secured a stipend, you may discover that the benefits do not cover your costs.

This can be intensely frustrating.

After all, there is nothing worse than pushing very hard toward a goal – hiring and retaining a top-caliber North Carolina social security disability law firm, such as DeMayo Law, during your quest – only to arrive at the other side of that goal without your fundamental problems solved.

Understanding the purpose of your North Carolina social security disability

Wherever you are in the process – whether you’re just starting out exploring your options, or you are confronting reconsideration or the administrative law judge hearing (ALJ hearing) – take some time right now to get reconnected to the purpose of these benefits. Why will this money help you? What will a successful outcome mean for your life, work, and budget? It’s important to connect to purpose – not just for some pie in the sky “let me lead a spiritually focused life” baloney. When you have your purpose concretely identified, you can often find otherwise hidden options for achieving that purpose – shortcuts toward your goal. You can also, perhaps more importantly, stop doing things that you might otherwise do out of habit.

I want to get North Carolina social security disability …

#1. So I can keep the lights on and stay in my apartment instead of having to move in with my sister.

#2. Because my family depends on me to bring in some money so that we can meet our monthly budget.

#3. Because of the principle of the thing – I paid in so much to the system already, so I deserve to get some money out.

#4. Because I only have six or eight months left to live, and I want to have some money so that I can enjoy myself and not worry about penny-pinching – so I can travel and see friends, for instance.

Do you see how these various purpose statements lead to different tactics and strategies? Obviously, you then need to connect your purpose to your goal in some fashion – we’re going to get to that in a post later this week. But just for the moment, spend some time examining what’s motivating you to search online for answers, look for help, and fight hard for your rights.

For instance, if your ultimate goal is to spend more time with your family, and you only have a few months left to live, your time may be better spent with your family instead of fighting a long and taxing battle with government bureaucracy.
If your goal is to achieve compensation and justice at all costs, you may need different tactics and strategies.

More Web Resources:

How to define the purpose of an activity

Why purpose can constrain and improve your choices

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

Social Security Disability in North Carolina: Is a Collapse Imminent?

May 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Ask any given expert about the solvency of Social Security Disability in North Carolina and elsewhere, and you will get an array of answers. Most pundits will tell you that our government benefits programs are in relatively poor shape. But some policymakers believe that we only need to make subtle, incremental changes to these programs to avoid massive disruption. Others crow about doomsday scenarios. There is no shortage of speculation with respect to social security’s future problems (or possible solutions).

But what if the system DOES “collapse”? What would that mean for you, if you are someone who depends on North Carolina Social Security Disability to pay bills and survive – or you are a caregiver for someone who needs government support?

First of all, understand that a worst scenario is probably pretty unlikely. Second of all, you should also understand that no one can effectively predict the outcome of a social security type collapse – a major failure of a massive cornerstone of the American bureaucracy. There is really no precedent in history.

Odds are, if something really bad happened to the Social Security Disability system, that failure would not be the only problem we would be facing – we would actually probably be dwarfed by many other problems. In other words, if six months or four years or 20 years in the future, you turn on CNN and you see Wolf Blitzer or his next generation counterpart blathering about a social security collapse, that’s not going to be the only problem! This isn’t to say that a massive Black Swan event couldn’t afflict social security or another big government program.

The reality is that the components of our social security system are so diverse, so complex, so vast, and so byzantine that no individual expert – no collection of experts, even – has any real deep understanding of what failure might mean or how it might occur. There are just too many variables. So just recognize that, while it can be intellectually entertaining to dream up farfetched catastrophic schemes, this exercise is only useful really for people who are building and trying to protect the system as a whole. They are not very useful for people who are actually sick — who actually need Social Security Disability benefits to survive.

Your time is much, much, much better spent worrying about your own financial situation, understanding how the rules might or might not apply to you, and working with a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, to ensure your rights.

More Web Resources:

Doomsday Scenario about Social Security

Another Doomsday Scenario about Social Security

The Romney-Obama Battle: Implications for Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Elsewhere

April 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Now that Rick Santorum has dropped out of the Republican primary, the battle lines for the fall Presidential election are basically drawn – Mitt Romney versus President Barack Obama. And the fallout of the 2012 clash of the titans could have significant impact on the future of social security disability in North Carolina and beyond.

Of course, or at least the two camps would like you to believe that!

Will the election impact programs like social security disability? If so, how and why? You can find different experts – or so called experts – who will weigh in with savvy, intelligent sounding answers to these questions. They will make prognostications about how different presidential election outcomes will impact government benefits programs in different ways. There may be wisdom in these forecasts. But it’s important not to have too much faith in them! After all, programs like supplemental security income, social security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, et cetera are behemoth enterprises. It’s hard to see how even relatively “major” events – like a presidential election decision – will influence their trajectories.

Sure, you can speculate. Sure, you can say, for instance, that Mitt Romney has such and such position on social security, and if he’s elected, he will try to appoint XYZ justices who would do ABC to Social Security. Or he would use his political heft to influence lawmakers to enact such and such a modification of the program, et cetera.

Likewise, you can go through hypothetical situations with respect to President Obama.

•    Your prognostications might be right.
•    They might be incomplete.
•    They might be off base entirely!

It’s important not to oversimplify. These programs have been around for decades. There are literally millions of stakeholders. The rules and regulations are vast and diverse. Even the experts who have read the relevant documents often find themselves at loggerheads on even the most basic policy issues.

In other words, it’s probably a bit ridiculous to make the case that a particular presidential election result will have an easily predictable effect on social security disability.

Okay, so if the prognosticators are taking too much liberty, and if the situation really is as chaotic as we’ve discussed, what can you do, if you’re trying to just get benefits to pay for care, protect yourself against problems, and keep your life together?

The soundest strategy you can follow is your own, customized, well informed one.

Fortunately for you, you do not need to solve the riddle of the social security disability – or prognosticate the election – to get a suitable outcome for your disability benefits question. By retaining a competent, highly skilled and experienced social security disability law firm in North Carolina, for instance, you can make massive progress.

More Web Resources:

Which President will be better for social security disability? President Obama or President Romney?

Santorum Drops Out, Making Mitt Romney the Presumptive GOP Nominee

52 New Conditions For Compassionate Allowances Program – Will Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Case Be Affected?

April 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been trying to collect social security disability in North Carolina, you are undoubtedly aware of so called Compassionate Allowances program.

This is a special program run by the Social Security Administration, which allows people with certain illnesses or diseases to get on a fast track for benefits. According to common statistics, approximately 3 million people try to get social security disability benefits annually. Only 5% or 6% of those applicants get fast tracked through the Compassionate Allowances program. The SSA has now added 52 new conditions to this program, based on research conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

Here are a few of these conditions and diseases:

•    Alpers disease
•    Child Neuroblastoma
•    Histiocytosis
•    I Cell Disease
•    Kufs Disease Type A and B
•    Malignant Brain Stem Gliomas-C

You can follow the link at the bottom of this blog for a full list of all 52 conditions.

Even if you’re not one of the 60,000 or so people who can qualify for fast track assessments through a special program, you can leverage powerful resources, such as a social security disability law firm in North Carolina, to get superior results and stay focused on your goals.

Sure, you can “go it alone” and succeed with your disability quest. Conversely, you can work with a law firm and get denied. But if you are looking to improve your odds, achieve a more certain outcome, and side step some of the most common and tragic mistakes that would-be beneficiaries make, it makes sense to get help before you encounter significant problems.

More Web Resources:

52 New Conditions Added to Compassionate Allowances Program

The History of the Social Security Administrations Compassionate Allowances Program

Young, Beautiful… and on North Carolina Social Security Disability?

April 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Conjure an image of the typical beneficiary of North Carolina social security disability.

You might think about an elderly woman who needs benefits to pay for medical care related to her hypertension and diabetes. Or you might think about a great uncle who suffers from advanced stage dementia and requires round the clock care. Whatever image you chose, odds are, it wasn’t of a young, vibrant, and seemingly healthy looking person.

But in fact, many people who apply for Social Security Disability in North Carolina are young!

Illness can strike at any age, as can debilitating accidents or emergent genetic diseases. It can be truly awful to deal with a long term medical crisis, if you’re just starting your career. A woman who goes on Social Security Disability at the age of 67, after working a long and rewarding professional life, may still be struggling to make ends meet financially. But a woman who is 38 and suddenly afflicted with a rare genetic disease that forces her to take 18 months off of work may be in a very different — and more vulnerable! — place in her life.

Moreover, if you are a senior and you need benefits, you don’t necessarily feel “out of the loop” or “behind your peers.” In fact, if you’ve lived a long, rich life, you may be grateful just to get to keep living your life and seeing your grandkids, etc. But if you’re a young person whose peers are healthy, raising their families, earning good wages, etc, you may feel quite left out and frustrated.

It’s normal to make social comparisons with your peers, even though most people admit that this behavior is somewhat destructive and petty. One key to resolving some of your stress is getting a deeper understanding of how the Social Security Disability system works and what you should and should not do to maximize your benefits.

To that end, talk to a time-tested social security disability law firm in North Carolina now.

More Web Resources:

The Isolating Experience of Being Young and Ill

Being Young and on Social Security Disability

North Carolina Social Security Disability – The Bear Bones Basics

April 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you discovered the hard news that your 58-year old mother has early onset dementia, or you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disease that’s compelled you to take substantial time off of work, you are interested in learning about North Carolina social security disability benefits.

This blog often addresses the challenges facing applicants and beneficiaries of programs like social security disability and supplemental security income. But it’s never a bad idea to review the key basics. To that end, here is a summary to help you understand a little bit more about what this program is… and is not.

SSDI – A Little Bit Like a Government Insurance Program

If you worked for certain amount of time and paid FICA taxes for about a decade or longer, you may qualify to receive a monthly stipend called Social Security Disability, if/when a mental or physical problem prevents you from earning a living. You can collect this income irrespective of whether you got hurt at work or not. In other words, this is not like worker’s comp: you can pick up a rare disease on a vacation to Africa, for instance, and come back and still collect benefits. You don’t have to prove that you got sick at work or anything.

Your past earnings will help to determine how much money you can get. When you apply for Social Security Disability, you will have to wait a certain amount of time before collecting benefits. Your filing deadline (or lack thereof) will depend on when you last worked. Be wary of deferring the application process. If you delay, the concept of “date last insured” can come into play and cause you problems. (Follow the link bottom of the page to learn more about the date last insured concept).

The vast majority of SSDI applications are turned down – approximately 2/3rds. The government publishes guidelines to help you speed the process along and improve your chances of collecting the money. But the situation can be quite overwhelming, even for people who are young, healthy, and cognitively capable. If you are struggling with your application, it really may be worth your while to pass the baton to a friend or a family member who has the time, experience, and resourcefulness to walk you through the steps. Alternatively (and/or) you may wish to connect with a law firm in North Carolina that specializes in Social Security Disability benefits.

Note that SSDI may be a safety net, but the program is structured to encourage you to return to employment if/when possible. To that end, you need to be prepared to provide periodic evidence that you remain disabled or sick – and these checks can be somewhat intrusive.

To make the process work for you, invest time in educating yourself about SSDI – what it means, what the common pitfalls are, what the experts recommend, etc. Yes, the concepts and bureaucracy can be confusing. But it’s well worth your time to learn more and thus augment your chances of success.

More Web Resources:

Date Last Insured

FICA Taxes

Who Can Qualify for Social Security Disability in North Carolina?

April 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re a North Carolinian who is confused about Social Security Disability insurance benefits, this post will hopeful clarify key concepts for you.

In order to qualify for these benefits, you must prove to the government that you are disabled due to a mental or physical health problem. The definition of “disabled enough” has been left pretty ambiguous by lawmakers. You must show that you are incapable of conducting “substantial gainful activity” due to your physical/mental health issue.

You also need to have paid enough into the system. If you haven’t earned enough “work credits,” you may be deemed ineligible for benefits. This can be a problem for freelancers, entrepreneurs, stay at home moms, and young injured people.

There is a silver lining. The amount of money that you earned in the past – or your current asset portfolio – does not come into play. You can be relatively well off and still access substantial Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina. With other government programs, such as Supplemental Security Income or worker’s comp, your assets and/or income can come into play and determine (and, in some cases, restrict) your benefits.

How do you prove that you are unable to work?

According to 2010 rules, if you can make over a thousand dollars a month (the number is slightly higher for blind people – $1,640), then you are out of luck. You need to be so disabled that you cannot even earn $1,000 a month. In addition, you need to show that your time off of work will last at least 12 months or will end with your death. It is not enough, in other words, merely to show that you have a dire diagnosis. You need to show that the diagnosis radically impacts your ability to earn.

Social Security Disability officials want to see proof that your mental and/or physical limitations will seriously restrain your ability to make money. Note that you don’t have to show that you’re totally incapacitated. For instance, maybe you’re very fatigued, due to fibromyalgia and spinal problems. But you can still work 5 to 10 hours a week. Assuming that those 5 to 10 hours a week only add up to about $900 of income a month – and you can prove this – you should still easily qualify for SSDI benefits.

Of course, the rules get complicated, and the system is often inflexible, surprising and unfair. It can help you tremendously to connect with a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to discuss what you might be able to do to improve your odds.

More Web Resources:

Substantial Gainful Activity

Who qualifies for social security disability benefits?

What Will Come After North Carolina Social Security Disability?

April 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

What’s the long-term fate of the Social Security Disability system in North Carolina and elsewhere? How will America’s entitlement system change, evolve, and adapt in the years and decades to come?

No one has a crystal ball. But just by pondering questions like these, you can get a deeper appreciation of how systems like Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income operate and what you can do to protect and preserve your rights to obtain benefits.

It is easy to think of today’s SSD system as “set in stone.” Sure, the relevant legislation and rules have been rewritten multiple times over the past few decades. And — as this blog and countless other news sources have reported on endlessly — the Social Security system faces a serious financial reckoning in the next few years/decades. But overall, the system seems somewhat frozen in place. It would be hard to even imagine living in America of the 1920s – prior to the advent of Social Security.

It may be just as hard to imagine the future 80 years ago – perhaps more so!

Sure, we can take a look at numbers like demographics, average income, trends in the stock market, etc, to try to guess at what our entitlement system will look like in the future. But the system is complex, meaning that small mistakes in any model will completely throw off our predictions. If you want to know why, you can get an oversimplified answer just by watching the movie Jurassic Park and listening to Jeff Goldblum’s character talk about the consequences of Chaos Theory’s Butterfly Effect.

In any event, the takeaway is that our system of benefits, the rules regarding those benefits, and even our own moral and ethical feelings about Social Security Disability are in a state of flux.

This insight suggests that, with the right leverage, you often can be able to improve your chances of getting benefits, eliminate hidden stresses associated with being ill or sick from work for months or years, and simplify and streamline your financial planning.

The first step to answering your complex benefits question is to get in touch with an effective and client respected Social Security disability law firm in North Carolina.

More Web Resources:

What’s the Far Feature of Social Security?

Jeff Goldblum and Chaos Theory

The Many, Many False Beliefs about North Carolina Social Security Disability

March 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are you thinking critically about your potential to get fair and easy North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits?

If you’re like most people out there, the answer is simple: almost certainly not.

How can we be so sure? Because so many patients out there – even surprisingly well-informed ones – operate based on obviously false beliefs about how the Social Security Disability application and follow-up process works. These false beliefs hamper them at all stages – Reconsideration, administrative law judge hearing, and elsewhere throughout the process.

The Big False Belief Holding You Back?

There are many false beliefs we can talk about – and this blog has gone into some depth on other posts about them. But far and away, the biggest problematic belief is the belief (hope) that the system will “take care of you.” In other words: if you just do the appropriate action steps — if you have a legitimate claim, and you can provide effective documentation — then you’ll get a fair result. You’ll be on track to receiving the right benefits at the right time without much stress.

The reality is that the system is infected with many fundamental flaws and nuances that can cause you to fail – or at least to be less than optimal in your pursuit of the benefits you need to pay for your healthcare, your housing, your home’s upkeep costs, your rehab, etc.

As a claimant – or a potential claimant – you have two basic ways of dealing with this challenge. Number one, you could try to teach yourself “the rules” using government pamphlets, free resources on the internet, etc. There is some logic to this approach. You can learn a lot online and elsewhere for free. (But discerning the “good stuff” from the “bad stuff” is harder than you might realize). At the same time, you’re likely sick, struggling financially, confused, and overwhelmed by your situation. Do you really have the time and wherewithal to sort the wheat from the chaff and figure out which experts to listen to and which experts to ignore?

A second way to go is to connect with a Social Security Disability law firm in North Carolina. You might balk at that idea at first – do you really need to pay a lawyer to help you with your claim? Won’t that cut out some money you desperately need to deal with your financial problems? The answer is not necessarily no or yes. It depends on your situation. In some cases, applicants can do fine just working the system themselves, using good guidance from trusted resources. In other cases, a law firm can be an absolutely crucial ally. A good law firm can help you cut through red tape and reduce your level of stress and uncertainty at a time in your life when things just seem so overwhelming and out of control.

The broad takeaway here, whatever path you choose, is that you must be mindful of the potentially destructive beliefs you hold about how the Social Security Disability process works – particularly question your faith that the system will “take care of you” without your having to advocate, perhaps forcibly, for your own rights and fairness.

More Web Resources.

Good Free Info on Social Security Disability

More Savvy Online Advice about Social Security Disability

When North Carolina Social Security Disability Money Seems Out of Reach…

March 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re struggling to secure Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina or elsewhere, you probably feel like you have a lot in the line. You probably spend a fair amount of time thinking about how much you need the money, ruminating about what you’ll do with that money, and “catastrophizing” about what you’ll do if you don’t get enough benefits. You can get so caught up in both the hopes and the fears – the hopes that achieving your SSD goals will liberate you somehow and the fears that not getting that money will be your downfall – that you can lose perspective and make irrational, careless decisions.

As important as the money could be for you, it’s critical that you moderate your thinking about the subject. Business theorists have shown, again and again, in different arenas that success or failure at any endeavor – including financial management – is almost never caused by a single action. Instead, it’s an ongoing process of either getting better or getting worse – either moving closer towards your goals or moving away from them. This isn’t to say that there can’t be enormously powerful events that can rocket you forward or create a massive obstacle in your way. And perhaps your North Carolina Social Security Disability challenge is one of those crucial turning points in your life. But don’t necessarily count on it.

After all, according to theorists like Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, these big catastrophic, “profound-seeming” events in our lives are often not apparent to us prospectively – only in retrospect can we really acknowledge the impact.

That’s all a little theoretical. So let’s break that down a bit. Think about winning the lottery. That would be a big event, right? You’d think that the moment you won the lottery would be a major tipping point in your life – pushing you towards great wealth. But studies show that’s not necessarily the case! Many lottery winners blow their money, and some even wind up bankrupt. This is because they never developed frugal habits of saving and investing, etc. So in retrospect, the Lotto win was not necessarily a big turning point in the Lotto winners’ life – it didn’t really affect his ultimate financial trajectory. Likewise, your quest for Social Security Disability may in retrospect turn out to be less important than your quest to recover from other more fundamental financial or emotional problems.

The moral here is there is really no way to know in advance whether a potential decision in your life is going to be monumentally impactful (either positive or negative) or, over the long term, pretty neutral and unimportant. That being said, when you treat big challenges in your life with awareness and attention, good things generally occur. For instance, if you’re currently financially struggling and worried about your welfare, you may benefit hugely from talking to a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm – not only to get help with specifics like your Administrative Law Judge hearing or Reconsideration but also to get a broader understanding of your options and planning resources.

More Web Resources:

Nicholas Nassim Taleb

People Tend to Focus on the Wrong Things

Enjoying the North Carolina Social Security Disability Journey

March 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Life’s opportunities are often challenges in disguise, and the same might be true for your current quest for social security disability benefits in North Carolina.

Obviously, this sounds counterintuitive. After all, you are likely panicked about your medical condition, worried about how you are going to feed your family and pay your bills, and discombobulated by the amount of information about social security disability benefits you’ve found on the web. Maybe you’ve even had to suffer through a difficult administrative law judge hearing or go through reconsideration. Even if your application for benefits has not been denied, you’ve no doubt found the experience stressful and unwelcome – an annoyance (at best) that you and your family must deal with on top of an already scary and frustrating situation.

Assuming all the aforementioned is true… how can your North Carolina social security disability quest be considered an “opportunity” and how on earth should one “enjoy” it?

The answer is basically this. In the American myth, we are taught that success comes to those who buy certain things, achieve a certain level of status, acquire the right products, and so forth. Technically, we have what is known as an acquisitive mindset. We like to acquire, and we are taught that we will be unfulfilled unless until we acquire the right “stuff” (money, cars, possessions, superiority, heath, security, beauty, etc.). This acquisitive mindset is not necessarily bad or incorrect. Obviously, we all need certain basics to live and survive, and we much prefer to have things like security, wealth, health, and youth over the alternatives. The problem is that, when we frame our struggles as struggles to acquire, we ignore fundamental truths about our own psychology (i.e. what makes us happy) and also about the nature of success itself.

As scholars like Barry Schwartz and Daniel Gilbert have written about at length, experiments convincingly show that acquiring “stuff” (even security and financial stability) does not lead to happiness nearly as much as most people think it does. If you won the lottery tomorrow, for instance, your troubles wouldn’t be over, and your sense of happiness and wellbeing wouldn’t change over the long term, either.

This isn’t to say that you should be lazy or you should not pursue your North Carolina social security disability benefits aggressively and with passion and urgency. But it is to say that you shouldn’t expect SSD benefits to “change everything.” By the same token, success researchers – from modern day business theorists back to reporters like Napoleon Hill (author of “Think and Grow Rich”) — have repeatedly shown that one’s mindset can powerfully influence outcomes. If you want to maximize your chances of arriving at the destination you want, in other words, you must learn to enjoy – and perhaps even love – the journey that you are on.

More Web Resources:

Think and Grow Rich

Winning the Lottery Doesn’t Make You Happier

Confronting Your North Carolina Social Security Disability “Worst Nightmare”

March 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many who apply for North Carolina social security disability benefits panic. They panic because they fear the bureaucracy, they fear rejection, and they fear going bankrupt. They panic also because they fail to think through whether or not their most catastrophic thoughts are rational or not. This is a complicated thought, but it’s a key one. So let’s unpack it.

Taking a Good, Hard Look at the Worst Case Outcomes

As the late great author Madeleine L’Engle once illustrated so beautifully in one of her science fiction stories, the key to dealing with the nameless horrors in our lives is to use the power of naming. Uncertain, amorphous fears are almost always more scary and threatening than our worst fears articulated. Philosophers like Ernest Becker have suggested, for instance, that our fear of mortality is intrinsically terrifying simply because it’s so difficult to understand what death might be like or what may come after death. The uncertainty of death creates our terror about it.

On the flipside, when you actually sit down and confront your fears – name them and work through them, intellectually – you might be amazed at how “unscary” they can become.

For instance, let’s consider a typical worst case scenario for the North Carolina social security disability beneficiary. You are very sick with a potential life threatening illness. You go through the social security disability process, get rejected and struggle through all the different appeals processes – reconsideration, the ALJ hearing, and so forth. At the end of the day, your benefits are denied. Now you don’t have money to pay for your home, your bills, and your medical care.

Sounds pretty rough, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, situations like this are the reality for far too many North Carolinians, which is why it’s so important for would be beneficiaries to connect with a responsible North Carolina social security disability law firm early on the process. But even in that dire scenario, consider that the person would still be alive, and would still potentially have options for care, including government assistance, help from friends and family, and help from other programs. If you anticipated that worst case scenario and planned for it appropriately, perhaps you could protect some of your savings, find alternative care, and generally make the landing as “soft” as possible. Life would go on, in other words, even if life got uncomfortable for a while.

Moving out of the abstract, it might be useful for you to take some time and think for your own “worst case scenarios” for social security disability and then test them against reality. What are the actual odds of these nightmares? What would you do if they did come true? You will find that just by writing this stuff down and reconciling with it in a rational way, you will take a lot of the emotional charge out of it.

More Web Resources:

The Works of Ernest Becker

Writing Down and Dealing With Your Worst Fears

The Roots of the North Carolina Social Security Disability Crisis in the Philosophy of the Enlightenment

March 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The conventional wisdom is that Social Security Disability system in North Carolina and elsewhere is broken or at least highly dysfunctional. The criticisms come from all sides.

The million-dollar question is: What are the system’s constraints? Why are we having so much trouble financially, bureaucratically, and otherwise? Why is it so difficult for so many would-be beneficiaries of Social Security Disability in North Carolina to get results and to be treated with respect and empathy? Why is the Social Security Disability program in general so stressed and hard to manage? Unless we have good, deep, and true answers to these questions, we’re going to have a difficult time applying the right solutions. Because if we get the root problem wrong, our attempts to ameliorate the problems are going to be the equivalent of swimming upstream against a riptide.

So what are the root causes?

This blog and other sources – both scholarly and amateur – have been probing this question for years. Perhaps we have all not been probing deep enough. Perhaps the root of our suffering lies in the fundamental philosophies we have regarding health, wellness, and problem solving.

Let’s dive into that. Western thought has, at least over the past several centuries, been characterized by something called Reductionism. Basically, in our thinking and engineering, we like to break things down to their internal components. In so doing, we believe we can get a better understanding of how they work and improve them. This kind of “careful watchmaker” approach is useful for engineering products, machines, and even ideas.

But emerging science and evidence both suggest that this approach may be deeply flawed. Reality is more integrated. Breaking things down into components does not necessarily yield more information about how a system as a whole works. In fact, it can mislead us. In other words, from this point of view, Reductionism represents a step in the decisively wrong direction.

The more integrated approach basically tells us that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, you can catalog and study every brain cell in your brain. But studying the brain on the level of neurons alone will never give us answers to questions like “where does consciousness come from?” and “how does the mind create love?” etc. We need an approach that respects the challenge of describing the true, integrated reality of our reality.

For instance, when we talk about individual stressors on the SSD system – out-of-control costs, strange insurance rules, overwhelming bureaucracy, etc. – we may be missing the point. It’s not that these things don’t matter. Indeed, they can matter a great deal. It’s that it’s nearly impossible to separate various causes from one another. So what we should be doing is focusing on an integrated approach to our challenges — we need to see both the trees AND the forest.

For specific help, turn to a well-respected, efficient and effective Social Security disability law firm in North Carolina.

More Web Resources:

Perils of Reductionism

Why we Mistake the Forest for the Trees

Desperate Straits: Whom Can You Trust About Social Security Disability in North Carolina?

March 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are suffering a serious illness or injury, you need a respected guide to help you understand how Social Security Disability in North Carolina works. You don’t want to guess. You don’t want to take advice from an uneducated (albeit well intentioned) friend or relative. Nor do you want to “trust the system” blindly.

On the other hand, you can’t be overly picky. You have an urgent crisis in your life. You are not feeling good. You don’t have much energy. Your resources – financial and otherwise – are limited. And you are not functioning from your best mental state. Perhaps the illness or injury has even affected your ability to make good judgments or deal with critical life logistics.

To top it off, as this blog recently discussed, North Carolina Social Security Disability recipients often are bombarded with conflicting advice about what to do and what not to do. The cacophony of noise online (and even offline) can be so deafening that it leads to analysis paralysis. This inaction can, in turn, create indirect problems.

So what’s the fix?

Given that there are the ratio of “chiefs” to “Indians” is something like a million to one – in other words, everyone appears to be an “expert” — how do you make progress?

Consider these principles:

Principle #1:

Be skeptical of all “non-experts.”

Would you take medical advice from a baseball player? Would you take financial advice from your dentist? You could. And the baseball player might have some really interesting and true things to say about how to take care of your body. And the dentist might have some very legitimate ideas about how to grow and nurture your wealth. But why take the risk? Why not just go to a doctor for medical advice and a financial advisor for a financial advice?

That said…

Principle #2:

Be skeptical of all “experts” too!

Just because an authority boasts conventional legitimacy does not mean that authority will effectively solve your problem. Not all experts are created equal, in other words. Some experts may be vastly more qualified to deal with your situation. One North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm might nearly effortlessly solve your problems and help you obtain the compensation (and fair treatment) that you need and deserve. Another law firm may yield only fair to middling results.

Principle #3:

When patients and clients take responsibility for their futures, good things tend to happen.

Taking responsibility for a situation is different from taking total control of it. You need and you want to cultivate relationships with professionals, mentors, and other authorities who can guide you. But you also want to look out for and protect your interests. No one is going to care about your problems more than you will.

Principle #4:

Write it down!!!

The more you objectively record any and all relevant information about your Social Security Disability case, treatment, and experience, the better and more diverse lessons you can learn from what’s been happening to you.

More Web Resources:

What Distinguishes the Real “Experts” from the Fakers?

Principles for Living in a Confusing World.

North Carolina Social Security Disability: Is the Earth Round…Or Flat?

March 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Let’s get philosophical for a second. Most of the discussions on this North Carolina social security disability blog pertain to “nuts and bolts” issues. We talk about the emotional, logistical, and medical turmoil that hurt and sick North Carolinians experience. Sometimes we touch upon the grander debate – how on earth can we reform Social Security Disability in North Carolina and elsewhere in a way that’s equitable, reasonable, and legal? We even touch upon issues that concern the caregivers of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries.

But let’s pull back our telescope and take a look at the broader landscape.

Specifically, let’s see whether we can uncover some broader truths about surviving (and thriving) while on Social Security Disability. Almost all of us (at least in some areas of our lives) operate under false beliefs akin to the Ptolemaic belief that the stars are painted on a giant glass globe above the earth. Given our present day understanding of astronomy, the Ptolemaic “heavenly spheres” hypothesis about astronomy is completely preposterous. Today, for instance, we know that earth is but a submicroscopic fleck of dust within a vast vast ocean of the cosmos. We haven’t “solved” astronomy. But we at least understand that the earth is not the center of everything and that the stars are vastly more than just dots painted on a glass ceiling for our entertainment.

Unfortunately, it’s very very difficult to spot false beliefs.

And this is just speculation, but it may be that the bigger and broader the mass delusion, the more under its sway you will be. It’s the classic case of the emperor has no clothes. Let’s say you own a green car. You can see that it’s green. But imagine what would happen if everyone you met, including your family members, friends, coworkers, auto mechanics, etc. – insisted that the car was blue. You think you’d put up a resistance. But after a while, you would almost certainly “cave” and agree that the car was in fact blue.

The point is: it’s extremely hard to resist delusions that are extremely common and never questioned. All of this is to say that we may be operating under certain false beliefs or bad habits that make solving our North Carolina Social Security Disability related problems needlessly frustrating and fraught.

Quick fixes to this false belief problem are few and far between. But you can connect with a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to explore your rights and opportunities for navigating the Social Security Disability bureaucracy more effectively.

More Web Resources:

If everyone said the earth was flat, would you start to believe them?

The Ptolemaic view of the cosmos

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

Too Many Chefs in the North Carolina Social Security Disability Kitchen

February 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Your problem isn’t that no one wants to help you with North Carolina Social Security Disability. It’s that too many people are eager to jump into fray and offer you “expert” advice. Think about it. Whether you’re struggling with a Social Security Disability appeal, administrative law judge hearing, reconsideration, or some other legal problem; or whether you just “getting initiated” into the vocabulary of Social Security Disability, you’ve likely already received dozens of opinions – some, no doubt, quite impassioned – about what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, whom you should trust, whom you should ignore.

All these conflicting opinions can create residual stress and a lingering sense of uncertainty, much like filmy, chalky taste you get in your mouth after eating a fresh piece of spinach.

And that’s just advice you get from friends, family members, doctors, government officials, and other concerned “real” people. When you go online, the “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” syndrome gets amplified by an order of magnitude. Everyone on the Internet seems to be an expert at everything.

Trying to cut your budget so that you can afford Social Security Disability in North Carolina? If so, you can compare thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of websites devoted to the topic of cutting your budget.

Want help identifying the obscure medical problem that compelled you to go on social security disability? No doubt, you can find forums online of like-minded patients.

We all have opinions. You might think that all this information would be a good thing – and, in certain circumstances, it can be. But the stew of conflicting opinions creates massive, potentially insoluble, problems for you. You can’t spend your entire life listening to people’s opinions; you have to take some action. On the other hand, any action you take might violate advice you’ve gotten from some other (ostensibly trustworthy) “expert.”

So in the end, you get analysis paralysis – overwhelmed by options, so you do nothing instead of the wrong “something.”

The way out of analysis paralysis is to take action and start moving forward. This isn’t to say that you should be impulsive. But if you’re confused, a great place to start is to try out a free consultation with a highly reputable North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Way Too Many Chefs in the Kitchen

An Expert…Or Just Pretending To Be One?

Humility and the Quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability Solutions

February 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the urgency of your quest to resolve your North Carolina social security disability crisis, you can be forgiven for wanting a “quick cure.”

•    You face daunting, massive long-term financial challenges. You can’t bear to see your bank account continue to dwindle away, week after week.

•    Or maybe you’ve got a debilitating and deteriorating medical condition. You may only have a few more weeks or months to deal with the chaos in your world before your injury or illness temporarily (or perhaps even permanently) incapacitates you.

•    Or you might be panicked because you’re rapidly running out of legal recourse. Perhaps you’ve gone through the gauntlet of reconsideration, administrative law judge hearing, and other “fun stuff” that North Carolina Social Security Disability system has thrown at you.

Given these desperate times, you may be driven to accept grandiose, half baked promises of outside help. When we are in pain and in trouble, we want to be able to trust the munificence and hospitality of others. But other people – whether they are well intentioned or not – are also limited. We all have our biases. We all have a limited understanding of the various resources and tools out there that might be useful for you.

The point here is that, in your rush to cling to an outside authority – even a top tiered North Carolina social security disability law firm – resist the temptation to abandon your autonomy and good judgment.

At the same time, do ask for help! Remember, there is no shame in admitting that you don’t understand something. Indeed, if researchers, policy makers, and medical professionals told us “I don’t know” just a little more often, we would probably have a lot more trust in these experts. We could probably make significantly more progress towards resolving our conditions, solving our financial problems, and getting our lives back on track.

More Web Resources:

It’s about time authorities told us “I don’t know” way more often.

Humility is a sign of strength

Is the Obesity Epidemic the Cause of the Stress on the North Carolina Social Security Disability System?

February 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Social Security Disability system in North Carolina (and elsewhere) is often dysfunctional (to say the least). Bureaucratic incompetence is surprisingly and sadly nearly ubiquitous. And even though you can find some powerful and respectable North Carolina Social Security Disability law firms to help you and your family recover and meet your financial challenges, the future for this government benefits program often appears surprisingly dim.

But what’s the root cause of this fiscal crisis?

As we’ve discussed previously, theories abound. For instance, knowledgeable pundits have argued that decisive demographic shifts have placed massive new burdens on social programs. You could summarize this as the “blame it on the baby boomers” theory. And there is certainly evidence to suggest that our increasingly “top heavy” demographic profile is playing a role.

Other theories abound. They include exhortations against the indolent (“back in the day, North Carolinians worked through pain – they didn’t ask for handouts!”) This theory is obviously less than empathetic. We can have a debate about as to whether the fundamental constitution of the American character has changed (or not). But it’s hard to see how simple shifts in our attitudes about responsibility could have created the fiscal mess we’re embroiled in.

But rather than reanalyze these various theories, let’s consider the elephant in the room: the obesity/diabetes epidemic that has swept up North Carolina and the rest of the United States (and most of the “civilized” world, as well.)

Let’s say there be no mistake: Obesity, in of itself, costs $147 billion per year. And that does not factor in the cost of diseases and conditions associated with obesity, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and probably dozens, if not hundreds of other ailments.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, if we manage to solve our obesity problem, we could probably fix Social Security Disability in North Carolina and elsewhere. Moreover, if we could fix the obesity epidemic, we could make massive progress towards reducing burdens on our economy. With so many people overweight and sick, is it any surprise that our state and national economies are going through such turmoil?

Conversely, can you imagine the massive positive changes to our economy and to our benefits programs, if we figured out how to cure obesity. It would be incredible – one of the most defining events of the new millennium.

More Web Resources:

Can we fix our economy without fixing the obesity epidemic?

How much does obesity cost America every year?

North Carolina Social Security Disability and the Definition of Insanity

February 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a Social Security Disability beneficiary in North Carolina (or elsewhere), you have probably spent months, if not years, trying to advocate for yourself in the system to collect benefits, make the government bureaucracy “work for you” and solve deeply entrenched personal and financial problems. Maybe you’ve had some success. But odds are, you have also struggled.

It may be worth your time to ask: Why?

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again, and expecting different results, what have you been doing again and again that’s been causing you to fail, again and again?

This is a basic – some might say “super obvious” – question to ask. But it’s a critical one. What behaviors, habits, beliefs, relationships, etc are setting you up to fail?

Before you even begin to assess that question, you might put up your hand and say something to the effect of: “I am not failing because of bad beliefs; I’m failing because of bad luck or an out of the blue catastrophe.” Indeed, you might be. Life is inherently unfair and unbalanced. It is all too easy to fall victim to “black swan” events that, out of nowhere, completely change your health, career path, opportunities, and existence.

At the same time, you are almost certainly engaged with (or swamped by) beliefs, habits, relationships and behaviors that are exacerbating your struggles or causing new ones.

Teasing apart true “bad luck” from “bad luck that you bring upon yourself” is tough!

If our misfortunes all arose because of our own misbehavior or misalignments or what have you, then the fixes would be pretty simple. You would just find out how and why misalignments occur in your life and “plug the dike” by, for instance, changing your fundamental subconscious beliefs or by getting out of bad relationships, etc.

But it’s not always that simple. Mishaps can waylay the best prepared travelers. A very healthy, robust woman on a fast track career path can contract a terrible microbial illness while on a Caribbean vacation and lose the use of her legs and be forced to wear a colostomy bag for 10 years. She might have been doing “everything right.” But fate has a funny way of messing up your plans. It would certainly not be fair to blame her “bad beliefs” for her debilitating illness.

The reality is, we may never be able to tease apart the root causes of our problems. How did a bad habit or bad relationship contribute to or cause our grief? How did the twists of fate play a role? Who really knows?

What we CAN do, however, is to take better action based on a clearer perception of the current reality.

In other words, forget for a second how you got into the hole that you are in right now. Focus on describing your current situation in vivid, objective detail. Only then — by beginning at the truth — can you identify a path to success and find the will to forge your way forward.

A North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can help with your journey.

More Web Resources:

The Definition of Insanity

Black Swan Events

Stopping What Isn’t Working to Save Social Security Disability in North Carolina

February 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you are a patient desperate for North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits to pay for healthcare, food and groceries, and other basic expenses; or you are a policymaker desperate for solutions to the massive medical crisis that is Social Security Disability, you have two basic options:

1. You can start doing things that work (or work better).

2. You can stop doing things that aren’t working.

As Americans, we are programmed to focus on number 1.

We want to find a better mousetrap. America is an entrepreneurial nation. Thus, we like to think that we can invent our way out of our problems by coming up with new things: New medications, new ideas, new innovations, new partnerships, new strategies.

New, new, new, new.

That’s all fine. New is great. But new can also be time consuming, fraught with risk, and pregnant with surprising challenges. As Jim Collins lays out in his book, Built to Last, successful companies – which often innovate like crazy – often must experiment with many different models and different strategies and ideas before hitting on the right course of action.

In other words, if you are someone on North Carolina Social Security Disability (or a policymaker who wants to save Social Security Disability), you may need to go through a lot of botched attempts – metaphorical “plane crashes” if you will – before you can hit upon good answers to your problems.

On the other hand, it may be more economical to find out what ISN’T working now and to cut that stuff out of your life, ASAP.

On a macroscopic level, to address the SSD policy challenges, we might ask: what departments, programs, commitments, and strategies are not working – not performing up to snuff? Why are they not performing well? What’s the root cause of the failures or the lack of results?

On a personal note, probe to find out what’s causing not just your medical crisis but also your financial crisis, your crisis of confidence, your crises with your personal relationships, etc. Instead of trying to run away from your problems, look in the mirror.

What can you stop doing?

There is another good reason why “stop doing bad stuff” is a superior strategy to “do better/newer stuff.” As someone who is sick and on the financial brink, you don’t have a lot of time and energy to expend. You need to find fewer things to do, not more things to do.

Fortunately, stopping bad habits is more intimidating in theory than in practice. You can find a flourishing and diverse literature online and elsewhere to guide you through the practice of IDing and exorcising bad beliefs.

Cool “back of an envelope” exercise to get you started…

Write down the three biggest problems you are having right now with your SSD crisis.

Take 15 minutes on each problem and just ask yourself “why?” Why are you having this problem? Whatever answer you give, ask “why” again. Why are you having that underlying problem? Keep drilling down. Ask yourself why, again and again, to find the root cause. Counterintuitively, amazingly, just doing this exercise on your three biggest problems (15 minutes each) should lead you to amazing insights.

For more help, connect with a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work Anymore

Using “Why” Questions to Drill Down

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 #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.

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

January 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Here are some possibilities:

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

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

More Web Resources:

Can Anything Save Social Security?

Doomsday Predictions Are Often Wrong

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

January 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Regaining Yourself Self-Reliance

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Jim Collins’ Flywheel Metaphor for Business Success.

Essay on Self-Reliance

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

January 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Black Swans and White Swans

Social Security Disability Doomsday Prophecy

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

January 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Where is all this pressure on the system coming from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources

Unemployed Turn to Social Security Disability Benefits

10.6 million Social Security Disability Beneficiaries… and Counting!

North Carolina Social Security Disability Challenge – Seeing All Events as Opportunities

November 25, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Let’s face facts. Having to go on North Carolina social security disability is no fun.

You would probably much prefer to be back at your job and engaged in productive, creative work, instead of at home or in a hospital or other recovery center battling a scary illness or recovering from a chronic, tormenting injury.

Moreover, once you get hurt or sick, your challenges don’t end. They only seem to ratchet up. The “business of life” doesn’t just go away when you get sick or hurt. Indeed, it’s easy for things to get far more out of control than they used to be – and, chances are, your life was already somewhat out of order and in chaos before the event or illness hit you.

It’s easy to descend into a downward spiral and pessimistic mentality. And what’s so tragic about this pessimistic mindset is that it perpetuates itself. Once you begin to think about yourself as a victim — “someone who is sick or ill” — your brain literally believes it, and it will even filter out contrary information and reinterpret it to support your negative mindset. As we have discussed in previous posts on this North Carolina social security disability blog, “unplugging” from this pessimistic mentality is a challenging, ongoing process.

Here is a tactic to put in your toolbox – to help you think optimistically and proactively about your challenges. The tactic is simple: View every problem or setback as an opportunity.

Easier said than done, right?

We’ve all heard that the Chinese symbol for danger is the same symbol for opportunity. When events happen, whether they’re positive events or “setbacks,” we can perceive them any way we want. Events are simply transitions. Nothing is static. Even though you may feel “stuck” in your current situation; that belief, in some sense, is an illusion of the mind and of perception.

Let’s ground that in a practical example. Say you prepare for your Administrative Law Judge hearing. The day before the hearing, your doctor calls with unpleasant news about your prognosis. You go into a downward spiral. The next day, you lack the energy, self-regard, and “fighting spirit” to present your case to the ALJ, and the path to benefits becomes even more elusive.

Instead of taking the phone call from your doctor as a purely negative thing, you could have seen it as an opportunity to raise your game and be more assertive. Then when you go before the ALJ, you will put up a vigorous, passionate plea for assistance. In other words, you turn what on the surface was purely bad news into something that helps you – in this case fuel for your rhetorical fire.

Arm yourself with good information and good help by connecting with a reputable North Carolina social security disability firm.

More Web Resources:

Preparing for Your ALJ Hearing

The Danger/Opportunity Duality

Can Overdependence on North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits Shorten Your Life?

November 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina social security disability benefits provide life-giving (in many cases, life-saving) resources to help sick and injured citizens.

Benefits help the poor and injured put food on the table, live safely, and even enjoy the occasional indulgence. However, some research from the social sciences suggests that overdependence on government programs or other programs – coupled with a lack of self-directed, creative activity – can wear people out, reduce immune function, and possibly even hasten the progress of an illness.

Human beings, in other words, thrive once they are given agency over their problems – even if that agency is not complete.

Consider, for instance, a famous study that looked at senior citizens in a nursing home. A group of seniors was given a plant and instructed to water that plant twice a week. Another group of seniors was given the same plant, but someone from the nursing home watered the plant for them.

You might think that this was a trivial distinction. However, the results showed something extraordinary. The people who had the responsibility to water the plant (who could not count on someone else do it) showed a statistically significant amount of “thriving” compared to the control group. The effects of the experiment were so significant that experimenters discontinued it for fear of putting members in the control group at higher risk for death and disease.

In other words, the injection of a little bit of responsibility can make a world of difference, even to someone who is sick, depressed, injured, and without many resources.

What does this mean for North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries and their family members?

Extrapolating from this research, one might conclude that all beneficiaries – no matter how dependent on the generosity of others – should be offered opportunities to manage responsibilities and control aspects of their own fate. When SSD beneficiaries take responsibility, not only do they alleviate some burden on caregivers, but they also improve their own prognosis. In business literature, this is described as a classic “win-win.”

For help with an SSD benefits question, connect with a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Does adding a plant to a nursing home make a difference?

Why responsibility matters

Key to Riding the North Carolina Social Security Disability Rollercoaster: Expecting the Unexpected

November 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps your elderly mother recently received a disturbing diagnosis, and you want to help her secure North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits to pay for crucial costs, including living expenses. Or maybe you are a hurt, sick, or injured worker who is desperate to stabilize your finances, provide for your family, and resolve your medical crisis. In either case, your thinking is likely off-kilter, and you may be hoping for something that simply does not exist: a sure-fire, one-time solution to resolve your pain and simplify your life planning.

While North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits can be quite a boon to people who are cash-and resource-strapped, even the most generous benefits package won’t erase unexpected and surprising events. In fact, in retrospect, consider the circumstances or events that led to your illness or injury. Did you ever expect to be in this position? Probably not.

As the inimitable Alanis Morissette eloquently (if not so accurately) described in her hit song from late 1990s, “Ironic,” “life has a funny way of sneaking up on you…life has a funny way of helping you out.”

In other words, surprising events are always just around the corner. It’s not just pop singers who make this argument. Indeed, internationally respected productivity guru David Allen described in his bestselling book Ready for Anything that most individuals will receive a radical, game-changing surprise at least once a month. We can speculate on whether out of the blue events – serendipities and catastrophes – occur on some kind of regular cycle or not. However, chances are, these “black swan and white swan” events – those that drive our lives in unanticipated directions – probably happen far more than we recognize.

How does this all tie back to your quest for Social Security Disability? It ties back because it suggests that beneficiaries need to prepare for the unexpected. It’s not enough to obtain a certain monthly stipend and expect the rest of your problems to go away. You need planning, vigilance, discipline, and help.

For instance, as you develop your relationship with your North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, plan to leverage that relationship over the long-term. In other words, the legal team you retain should help not just with the immediate and urgent questions about your case. They should also introduce you to additional resources to help you improve your finances and get your life back on track.

More Web Resources:

David Allen’s Ready for Anything

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you…life has a funny way of helping you out.

Avoiding the “Scam Me” Mentality: a Primer for Potential North Carolina Social Security Disability Beneficiaries

November 14, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Individuals who desperately need North Carolina Social Security Disability (and possibly supplemental security income) often struggle not only with financial and medical problems but also with emotional problems, such as isolation, negative self-talk, addictions, and hosts of other troubles. North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries (or would-be beneficiaries) are vulnerable. They are vulnerable to self-sabotage. They are vulnerable to exploitation. And they are vulnerable to scam artists.

In your physically and morally weakened state, for instance, you might take leave of your commonsense and invest a significant portion of your remaining savings with a dubious company or annuity salesman in the hopes of winning a “big pay day.” Alternatively, you might become so sick or incapacitated that you no longer can defend yourself against con artists, who might take advantage of your incapacitated state by stealing your Social Security Number or other confidential information, siphoning your Medicaid or Medicare benefits, or committing other crimes that leave you even more vulnerable and exposed.

So how do you escape this “scam me” mentality? How can you protect yourself against con artists?

The common answer is that vulnerable individuals need to educate themselves and get protection. You can follow the link at the bottom of this post to read up on some common scams to gird yourself appropriately. However, good education is no substitute for a successful, long-term defensive posture. Con artists may “change their games” routinely. So even if you memorize every common scam out there, you still run the risk of getting conned through some unknown or undocumented scam.

A longer-term, more robust solution would be to set up systems and processes in your life and assemble resources to protect you from scams you can’t even see coming. For instance, you might want to research identity theft protection services, or you may even want to talk a trusted North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm about local or regional resources you can tap into to shield your assets.

At the very least, it’s worth your while to research the nuts and bolts of scam protection. Alternatively, if you are too sick or injured, deputize someone you trust, such as a close relative, to help you do this mission-critical research, so you avoid getting caught flat footed.

More Web Resources:

Common scams perpetrated on the elderly and the sick


Good article on scam protection

Don’t Let the North Carolina Social Security Disability Experience Strip You of Your Confidence

November 9, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Ever since you went on North Carolina social security disability (or initiated the process of exploring the possibility of doing so), you probably endured something of a struggle with your self-esteem. For most of your life, you thought of yourself as someone who could “work hard” and recover from anything. Unfortunately, due to your medical circumstances, you now need more help than you once did. You might be confused and overwhelmed by your medical options, unsure whom to trust or even how to begin researching.

So, first of all, appreciate that multiple things have thrown you off-balance. When you get sick or injured, you must attend the urgent medical crises in your life. But other, indirect crises could “sprout up” all around your life as indirect results of the primary medical crises.

Let’s give an example so that you understand that in more plain language.

Let’s say that you contracted a rare bone disease, and you now need at least 12 to 18 months off of work to recover from multiple courses of medication and surgery. On top of the medical crises you face, you and your family also face an ongoing financial squeeze. You won’t be bringing in as much income as you once did. Even if you do manage to collect North Carolina social security disability benefits, those benefits won’t make up for all the money you are missing out on.

But it’s not just the financial stress that really gets you. It’s the emotional, logistical, and intangible factors that degrade not only your real world assets, such as your bank account, but also your psychic assets, such as your self-confidence and self-esteem. This is dangerous because, if you allow negative thinking to become habitual, you may find it harder to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and get your life organized and recalibrated.

To staunch the damage, you need to find help from compassionate, experienced outside resources. A reputable North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can help. But good legal assistance is just the beginning of your mission to obtain the health and support you need.

More Web Resources:

The Dangers of Negative Self-Talk.

Crises are Dynamic.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Wars: Tom Coburn v. Adult Baby (Coburn: 0, Adult Baby: 1)

November 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many North Carolina social security disability cases are dry, mundane, and difficult to “sift through.” But a recent case involving an adult baby and outspoken Republican Senator Tom Coburn has galvanized interest beyond the North Carolina social security disability blogosphere.

At issue is whether a so-called “adult baby”, a one Stanley Thornton, should be entitled to collect social security disability for conditions like ADHD, spinal problems, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder. Thornton starred in an episode of the TV show “Taboo” (National Geographic Channel) earlier this year. Producers documented Thornton’s secret life:

• Role playing a baby;
• Sleeping in a crib and drinking from a bottle;
• Even getting changed by an adult woman role playing his mother!

Needless to say, the show elicited both titters and fascination from millions of viewers. But Thornton’s shenanigans outraged Senator Tom Coburn, who called for an investigation into why someone like Thornton should be allowed to collect social security disability benefits when he ostensibly looked like a normal, relatively healthy man.

Now, Thornton has allegedly been cleared of any wrongdoing, pursuant to an August letter from the social security disability administration. According to the letter: “we recently reviewed the
evidence in your social security disability claim and find that your disability is continuing.”

Score one for the baby!

Thornton laced into Senator Coburn on his website, accusing the Senator of wasting tax payer money to “conduct a three agency investigation.” Coburn himself remained recalcitrant and disgusted. His spokesperson said “Dr. Coburn believes Congress should apologize to the American people for failing to provide adequate oversight over our disability programs. This case highlights the need for comprehensive reform in order to better define who is eligible to receive disability benefits. We need to hold accountable not only adult babies but the politicians and bureaucrats who coddle them.”

While the blogosphere has certainly gone goo-goo and gaga over this admittedly juicy story, you and your family likely have more serious, specific questions about what to do to get your SSD benefits and protect them. A competent and experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm can help.

More Web Resources:

Should adult baby get $860 a month in social security disability?

Senator Coburn loses to adult baby in fight over SSD benefits

Is 2018 "Armageddon" for North Carolina Social Security Disability?

October 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

As if North Carolinians did not have enough problems on their minds with the specter of a second “great recession” on the near horizon, recent figures suggest that the social security disability insurance program (which serves North Carolina and the other states) is running out of money…and fast.

According to a recent article in the McClatchy Newspaper, Disability Benefits Program On Unsustainable Financial Path: “at the current growth rate, the SSDI trust fund, which pays for benefits, won’t have enough money to meet its obligations in 2018.”

Observers point to an array of statistics to show the program’s dire straits. For instance, back in 1990, only 3 million recipients took money from the program. In September 2011, by contrast, 8.7 million injured workers collected more than $1,000 a month from the program. Critics of SSD also point to facts such as this one: “among new [beneficiaries] in 2010, more than half cited back pain or mental problems, like depression or mood disorders, as the disabling injury, compared with just 26% of such claims in 1965.”

Critics will admit that other problems may be draining the system and causing SSDI to “burn money” faster and faster – problems like the graying of the baby-boomer generation and an anemic economy. One key underlying message of the critics, however, is that hurt and injured people themselves are to blame for their medical straits.

Critics suggest that Americans are not planning effectively. They are becoming more and more dependent on the system to provide sustenance and protection. This story is so vivid and so widely accepted among many North Carolina social security disability critics that it is difficult to begin to talk about the fundamental problems from the context of a different paradigm.

But a different paradigm may be in fact just what we need.

In fact, in recent best selling books like Protein Power, Wheat Belly, and Why We Get Fat, journalists and doctors have powerfully argued that changes to our national dietary habits may have indirectly caused incredible stresses on our benefits programs, including SSD. Americans started to consume an unhealthy diet full of processed refined carbohydrates and wheat products and sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup. As a result of these unhealthy eating habits – pushed in part by an institutional edifice that feared fat more than sugar – Americans are now suffering crippling rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. And these diseases – indirectly caused by bad nutritional advice – are at the root of at least some of the current benefits program problems.

Of course, there is always a possibility that these nutritional critics are wrong. But if they are correct, or at least partially correct, then the logic of their findings suggests that the problem does not necessarily lie with a weak willed or over-entitled populous but rather with a misled populous.

Interesting food for thought, at least.

For help with the specific case, connect with a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Wheat Belly

The impact of sugar on our healthcare crisis

Is it North Carolina Social Security Disability…or Just the Illusion of “Security”?

October 24, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In our passion to reform the North Carolina Social Security Disability system – to ensure that hurt and injured and sick people get fair treatment – we often overlook certain fundamental constraints. Specifically, we focus on achieving certainty in our outcomes, stability in our lives and a reduction in our stress levels. By identifying and eliminating the roadblocks to your success with North Carolina social security disability, this blog and other resources like it can turn your relatively sour situation into something slightly sweeter.

Of course, whether you achieve your SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) goals and obtain a substantial stipend, or you fail miserably and obtain no compensation after expending tremendous effort, many battles lie ahead of you.

There is no way to eliminate uncertainty from your finances, your health, or any aspect of your existence. Uncertainty is more or less a permanent attribute of being human. Moreover, the size and scope of your benefits won’t necessarily correlate with your satisfaction.

Surprised to hear that?

Consider this line of argument:

One might expect that the more Social Security Disability benefits you can collect – and the more those benefits cover your core living expenses and other costs – the happier you will be and the more satisfied you will feel about the experience of being a beneficiary. But substantial research into the psychology of happiness and satisfaction tells us something different. Counterintuitively, our levels of satisfaction and happiness don’t necessarily correlate well with what we have or what we lack – unless we lack so much that we are forced to live below subsistence level, in which case the correlation becomes more robust.

This isn’t to say that the quest for fair, ample, and long-term benefits is not noble or necessary. But it does suggest that, if you are looking for happiness or satisfaction with your situation, you need to look beyond the numbers and to concentrate on managing your perspective.

The attitudes you have about your injury or illness will shape and mold your happiness and life satisfaction on many levels, both conscious and below the surface. This isn’t to say that you should give up the fight – or that the fight doesn’t matter. The specifics of your legal battle to get fair benefits can matter profoundly, life-changingly. Rather, it is to say that the frustrations you face may have deep roots, and it’s worth your time to explore those roots.

For help with specific legal question, connect with a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

The Science of Satisfaction

Is your problem really “the problem”?

The Solution to our North Carolina Social Security Disability Woes Will Almost Certainly Come Out of Left Field

October 22, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

What’s the answer to the North Carolina Social Security Disability crisis?

North Carolina beneficiaries (or would be beneficiaries) are not the only ones who are suffering, afraid for their benefits, frustrated by the system, and riddled with doubts about their futures. Hurt and sick people across the nation are depressed by the endlessly reverberating doomsday headlines about our economy. The constant talk about “reforming” our entitlement system – often used as a euphemism for slashing benefits programs – terrifies needy people, too.

Will social security be put on the chopping block? What about Medicare and Medicaid? What will happen when the inevitable cuts befall these programs? Who will the winners and losers be? Will you be among the lucky or among the suddenly limited?

On some level, we all recognize that it’s irrational to stress out or waste time ruminating over future unfair changes to North Carolina Social Security Disability Law.

On other hand, we can’t help but focus on the policy debate. And so we listen to experts on podcasts, talk radio, and cable news to give us some glimmer of insight into the complicated mess that is our national and state entitlement system. These prognosticators often diagnose the ills of the system very well, but their solutions tend to be mired in present day thinking. That’s not necessary a bad thing. But consider that, historically, many of our most entrenched and impossible seeming problems – problems that stumped the experts of the day – were finally solved by outside forces — so-called “bolts from the blue.”

Consider the New York City traffic crisis of the turn of the 20th century.

Go check out some old newspapers from New York City around the year 1900 or so. If you do, you will read a never ending slew of editorials fussing over the “horse traffic problem.” Horses were everywhere in New York City, trampling pedestrians, piling up massive piles of manure everywhere around the city, and generally wrecking havoc. No one knew how to solve the problem, but everyone agreed that it was the end of the world. Suddenly, along came Henry Ford with his Model T, and in just a few short decades, horse drawn transportation was little more than a nostalgic memory.

The moral: we are not licked yet. You never know where the next amazing insight will come from that may have the power to transform the North Carolina Social Security Disability system for the better.

More Web Resources:

New York City Horse Traffic Problem

Paradigm Shifts Tend to be “Bolts From The Blue”

 
 

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