Topic: Social Security Disability Caregivers

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.

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.

Hypochondria and the Social Security Disability Beneficiary: Part II — Strategies

March 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a hypochondriac who’s in desperate need of Social Security Disability benefits to pay for critical care, drugs and therapies, living expenses, and so forth, you face a peculiar bind.

On the one hand, you are sick — sick enough to qualify for government assistance and maybe so sick/disabled that you may never return to your former employment or quality of life.

On the other hand, you know your anxiety about your health is, at least in some sense, overblown — or at least unproductive. Even if you have something terminal, you want to be able to live your life without being constantly bombarded with negative thoughts and fears. In other words, you would like to increase the efficacy of your thinking and reduce the ambient noise and drama of it.

Here are a few ideas for how to think more constructively.

1. If you haven’t started journaling, start journaling, ASAP.

We’ve talked a lot on this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog about why people should journal and how people should journal. But the message needs repeating. Your minute to minute mental chatter can lead you into a kind of mental cul-de-sac. You wind up making the same observations and having the same thoughts again and again — and these observations and thoughts are neither pleasant, nor particularly constructive.

When you journal, on the other hand, you can spit these observations and thoughts out onto paper and manage them in a more objective fashion, much as you might manage the complaints and fears of a close friend who came to you for help. Journaling also helps you track your symptoms, feelings, and fears. By gathering data, you can begin to make resourceful choices.

First of all, you have a record to show your physician, so he or she can reassess or refine your treatment based on what’s working or what isn’t working for you. Secondly, you can adjust your own routines and behaviors to be more constructive. For instance, maybe you discover, through journaling, that you can stop the hypochondria by watching your favorite movie or getting on the phone with your mom or whatever.

2. Research and learn about the condition as something apart from your main illness/injury.

When you are legitimately sick or hurt, it’s easy to come to believe that your hypochondriacal thoughts are always legitimate because you really DO need to be vigilant about your health. But you might find it resourceful to conceptualize the problem differently. You might also benefit from getting psychological treatment to work on your anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, or whatever else may be stimulating the hypochondriacal response.

3. Get clarity on your SSD benefits situation.

When people endure uncertainty, they tend to feel stress and anxiety, and this strain can translate into somatic symptoms, which can provoke hypochondriacal responses and even cause physical damage due to the excess cycling of cortisone or other stress hormones.

When you work with an experienced Social Security Disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, you may gain clarity on your benefits situation, which can cascade down to relieve some of the stress and anxiety.

For help understanding what to do about your benefits, get in touch with us today at 1.877.529.1222 for a friendly and free consultation.

Social Security Disability and Hypochondria: Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

March 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’ve been feeling hypochondriacal after being diagnosed with an illness or injury that’s compelled you to seek Social Security Disability benefits (in North Carolina or elsewhere).

Whether you’re a 20 something who got diagnosed with lymphoma fresh out of college; or a recent retiree stricken with lung disease, your legitimate and real health issues may spark illegitimate and needlessly stress-inducing concerns about your prognosis.

Some studies suggest that hypochondria afflicts around 5% to 6% of the North Carolina population. Although the condition seems hokey or innocuous to people who’ve never suffered from it, it can be quite debilitating.

When a hypochondriac does get sick, the emotional situation can get seriously out of control.

Some people classify hypochondria as an obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. Methods used to treat OCD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation and conscious relaxation, often help hypochondria sufferers. But the nature of the disorder creates an unpleasant kind of bind.

You have racing and stressful thoughts related to potential health issues — “Is this lump something I need to be concerned about?” “How come I have a pain in my side?” Etc. You may intellectually understand that you need to ignore useless or trivial signals. On the other hand, part of your brain thinks “what if this is a one in a thousand situation, and this really IS a problem? Shouldn’t I proceed, out of an abundance of caution, to treat the situation as something serious, because the consequences of taking no action are worse than the consequence of seeking reassurance from a doctor for what turns out to be nothing?”

This calculus in some ways is actually rational!

We summoned a similar metaphor recently to discuss why potential claimants should contact North Carolina Social Security Disability lawyers, even when the situation seems “almost totally under control.” If your situation is that one in a thousand case that turns out to be “not so under control,” then you will be very glad you had a lawyer. The consequences of inaction in that one in a thousand situation is far worse than the slight negative consequences of action in non-situation.

We’re going to talk about practical strategies for dealing with this issue in our next blog post. In the meantime, to relieve stress regarding your case, connect with the team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today at 1.877.529.1222 for a free evaluation of your case.

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.

Does It Feel Like Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Case is Taking Too Long? (Perhaps You Need to Slow Down!)

February 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are sick, injured, and finically desperate. You want your North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits to kick in right away — yesterday, if possible.

While a savvy and thorough social security disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, can help you with the process, including advocating for you at Reconsideration or an Administrative Law Judge Hearing, no law firm can work miracles. You may have to wait weeks or even months for clarity about your benefit situation.

Those words can sound harsh, but that is the reality for some claimants.

So what should you do to make the waiting period less agonizing and uncertain?

On this North Carolina social security disability law blog, we talk a lot about the importance of embracing uncertainty and of using various self-reflection tools to surface and eliminate sources of anxiety and frustration. For instance, in past blog posts, we have talked about using the Five Whys, journaling, and leveraging the insights of mentors to strategically address some of the “stuff” that makes would-be beneficiaries so anxious.

But if you really want to speed up time — to bypass the waiting period and press fast forward on your life — please stop and reconsider. Try this other strategy. It’s going to sound trite at first, but don’t dismiss it off hand.

Focus on your blessings.

What are the blessings in your present life? Forget about your pain, destitution, uncertainty, and anger for a minute, and contemplate all the joyous things in your life right now. If you’re pessimist, your first instinct might be to say “all my joyous things have been taken away by the accident/illness.” But if you’re comfortable, ask yourself to dig a little deeper. Your eyesight is good enough to read these words. Your brain is healthy enough to understand the concepts being presented to you. If you haven’t yet found a good attorney, the DeMayo law firm is just a click or phone call away. If your case hasn’t been decided yet, you have at least an ember of hope that you will collect benefits — and perhaps much more than that. Even if you have a fatal diagnosis, you can still give thanks for the air that you will breathe for the time that you have left on this planet. By focusing on what you have — instead of what you lack — and doing so repeatedly and consciously, you will slow down the pace of life and also enjoy the journey towards collecting benefits, even if this was a journey you never wanted to go on.

This counterintuitive advice is well worth repeating: when life feels too slow, slow it down EVEN MORE and smell the flowers.

3 Tips for Working Better with Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Law Firm

February 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re on the verge of retaining a social security disability attorney to help you cut the Gordian knot that has become your SSD claim. You are just too tired, sick, and overwhelmed with the bureaucracy — trying to parse the “should’s” from the “should not’s” with respect to your claim — and you want a trusted, experienced entity, like the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, to lead you to clarity and protect your ability to collect benefits.

What “best practices” should you follow while working with a social security disability attorney or law firm? Here are 3 ideas:

1. Be honest, forthcoming, and fully disclosing.

You may have a checkered medical history or other issues regarding your past jobs, personal history, or whatever. You may feel reticent — perhaps even deeply ashamed — to reveal this information to anyone, even an attorney in confidence. But do NOT hide key information from your lawyer. If you fail to disclose key facts — for instance, maybe you were convicted of healthcare fraud as a young man or woman — and your lawyer doesn’t know, then you can accidentally crush your hopes of getting benefits. Protect yourself by being honest.

2. Got a question (or many questions)? Write them down!

Throughout the claims process, you will no doubt encounter dozens, even hundreds, of questions. Instead of calling the attorney’s office every hour in a haphazard fashion, write down the questions on a word document or in a notebook, so that you and your legal team can process them in an organized fashion. Document your journey — over document, if you need to. Doing so will keep you focused, give you peace of mind, and help you work more seamlessly with your team.

3. Ask for diverse help.

A good social security disability law firm can not only help you with the nuts and bolts of your claim but also with diverse and dynamic problems related to your claim.

For instance, maybe you’re having trouble finding a good doctor or financial advisor to see you through this difficult period. Maybe you don’t have any friends or family in the area to advise you. You’re not the first person who has gone through this experience, and your law firm should be able to connect you with many different types of resources in your local community (in Charlotte or wherever) to get clear headed answers.

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.

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.

Why Don’t My Friends and Family Understand How Hard It Is to Live on Social Security Disability?

January 22, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Social Security Disability claimants — or would-be claimants — are often greeted with a surprising lack of empathy from friends, colleagues, and even family members.

People close to you may intellectually appreciate that you’re struggling with a serious illness. But that intellectual understanding may not translate into loving or tender care. This is especially true if you suffer from a debilitating mental condition, such as schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety. When people can see that you’ve been injured — e.g. you can no longer walk; or your hair is falling out due to chemotherapy — they tend to be more understanding. But when they cannot see visible signs of your pain, they can become surprisingly impatient. This also happens to back pain sufferers. Back pain can be felt (excruciatingly), but others cannot easily “see” the injury.

This lack-of-empathy problem can be particularly devastating, if you have a history of ailments or other “issues.” For instance, perhaps you owe child support payments. Your ex-spouse may accuse you of exaggerating or even making up your illness to win sympathy and get out of paying your share. Or maybe you have a history of a drug and alcohol addiction. People in your life may believe that you’re “indulging” your injury/illness as a kind of side effect of your rehab or treatment.

Avoid getting caught up in other people’s expectations or judgments!

Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Truth be told, you may find it very difficult to make active, accurate progress on your Social Security Disability case by yourself, especially given your lack of knowledge regarding “best practices” for filing a claim. Rather than start off at a disadvantage, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation about your rights and potentially diverse remedies. Our team can provide the support you desperately need to get a handle on what you’ve been going through.

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.

Waiting and Waiting and Waiting for Your Social Security Disability Claim

January 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

An illness rendered you sick and unable to work. You’re desperate for Social Security Disability benefits. How difficult will it be to make a claim? Will you ever get over the illness and move on with the rest of your life?

The Social Security Disability system is surprisingly complicated, and the queue for benefits seems to be getting longer each year. You can find ways around the traffic jam — such as the Compassionate Allowances program, which helps very sick people (e.g. those diagnosed with late stage cancers) “skip ahead” in the queue. But many people who desperately need benefits often do not receive attentive, empathetic care from the system. This lack of care can create all sorts of additional stresses and even worsen the primary illness/injury.

So what should you do?

First of all, consider obtaining allies on your quest to claim benefits. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has tremendous experience helping people like you get Social Security Disability in North Carolina. We are ethical, effective, and resourceful. We can also hook you up with additional resources to make your situation significantly less challenging and scary.

Even with best care, and a great law firm on your team, you may find your situation perplexing at times. To gain clarity and calm, spend time thinking about what you want to achieve in your life regarding your health, finances and other goals.

What would “life success” look like to you?

Focus on images of what you want to bring into your life, and brainstorm shortcuts to reaching that nirvana. Obviously, your focusing on a pleasant outcome will not necessarily wish such an outcome into existence! But far too many Social Security Disability claimants (and would be claimants) spend far too much time focusing on what they don’t have or what they have lost.

That kind of pessimistic, “I don’t have enough” thinking can harm you and make you depressed. Understand that you have agency. The more that you exercise your sense of control over your environment — and future — the more empowered you will feel, and the better choices you’ll make.

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.

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.

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.

The Charlotte Social Security Disability Puzzle: Where Do You Begin?

October 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Your mission to collect Charlotte social security disability is anything but simple. Indeed, the number of projects associated with your benefits quest alone could probably fill an Excel sheet or two. Let’s just review some of the personal crises that might be ìtop of mindî for you right now:

•    You are worried/scared about an upcoming verdict on your social security disability case at reconsideration or administrative law judge hearing or elsewhere in the process;
•    You are financially overtaxed and under supported, and you’re genuinely concerned about how you will pay the rent and keep the lights on over the winter;
•    You’re an emotional wreck because of all the financial and physical stresses – and because you haven’t been getting the kind of support that you hoped you would get from the system or even, frankly, from friends and family;
•    You’re fighting an important and very difficult physical battle against an illness or potentially debilitating medical condition;
•    You’re overwhelmed by the amount of information out there about social security disability in North Carolina and beyond, and you don’t know whom to trust or even how to move forward.

It’s easy enough for the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo to recommend a simple strategy like ìjust call us, and we’ll take care of everything.” But you know that your problems are far too diverse and deep seated for any one person or one institution to solve immediately, even if that person or institution can provide excellent support.

So the question before you is: how can you begin to corral your problems and move in the right direction? In other words, you’re probably less concerned with solving everything right away than you are with making sure that you’re taking the necessary requisite actions.

So how do you get started, exactly? What’s the best way to organize your approach?

Schools of thought about this abound.

Some experts suggest that you should ìjust get started doing somethingî and then refine your approach as you gain experience and get feedback. Other experts suggest that you need to plan effectively, prioritize, and husband your resources. In other words: be strategic and focused.

1.    There is compelling evidence to support both general philosophies – the ìready, fire, aimî approach and the ìbe super strategicî approach.

You don’t necessarily need to choose between them!

You cannot strategize and dither forever, or you will never get anything done. Likewise, you cannot simply take action randomly and hope to achieve your goals. So combine these two methods through an iterative process that gives you feedback. In other words:

1.    Set a strategic course for what you will do next to deal with your social security disability problems;
2.    Then take some informed, responsible action forward.
3.    Engage in that action for a while.
4.    Then stop and assess your progress using objective measures and an independent review, if possibly. For instance, if you have a North Carolina social security disability law firm working for you, talk to the members of your legal team to assess how you’ve been doing.
5.    Then restrategize and go through the process again.

Alternate between taking decisive action and reflecting strategically, and you will pivot more effectively towards success.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Reform: Lessons from Greece, Part II

October 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Do we need to reform the social security disability system ASAP?

If we fail to do so, will we “wind up like Greece”? That is, will our inaction in the face of fiscal crisis decimate our economy, our credibility in the world market, and our capacity to right our own ship?

These questions intrigue, and they are pregnant with political implications. The debate over the reform of federal benefits programs, such as social security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, student loan programs, etc often devolves into partisan bickering. Frustratingly, this bickering gets couched in the language of science and policy. All the squabbling leaves the average North Carolina social security disability applicant confused and flustered.

What are we supposed to do, as individuals and as a society, to make the system “work”?

Sure, there may be parallels between Greece’s situation and ours, but how relevant are those parallels, and what practical lessons can they teach us? Even more importantly: if you’re struggling with an illness, should you pay attention to the broader political debate, at all? Or should you focus exclusively on your own situation and leave the “big picture thinking” to others?

Here are a few counterintuitive lessons from the “Greece situation”:

1. Most people believe what they want to believe and then shoehorn in “facts” to fit those pre-conceptions.

If you want to believe that Greece’s disaster portends a similar US disaster, you’ll find parallels that support that conclusion. Conversely, if you believe that there is no relationship between Greece’s economic turmoil and our own, you’ll find facts and experts who will support you.

When it comes to big picture political thinking – where your opinion doesn’t really matter that much – this confirmation bias is all well and good. But when it comes to your own health and wellbeing, you need to be very careful to avoid fooling yourself. That’s why it’s helpful for beneficiaries to speak with an experienced North Carolina social security disability law firm, like DeMayo Law.

2. Life is always pregnant with crises and opportunities: To handle yourself with grace, focus on what you WILL do, not what you won’t do.

Regardless of your thoughts on Greece’s relevance to our entitlements dilemma, understand that the nature of your focus can influence not only what you see but also what you do. When you focus on getting a positive result, you’ll be more attuned to resources and people who can help you achieve that reality. Conversely, if you’re struck in a cynical point of view, you might miss important help that could make all the difference.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Reform: Lessons from Greece (Part 1)

October 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a two part series, the DeMayo Law North Carolina social security disability blog will examine a common “meme” in the political world. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been mulling over the “situation in Greece” and wondering what the situation in the Mediterranean might portend for the United States’ government benefits programs.

We won’t get into too much detail regarding the background: even a basic historical overview of what’s happened recently in Greece would take 20 to 30 pages. But suffice it to say that the Mediterranean nation — which was once the central powerhouse of the western world — is struggling mightily with debt accrued, at least in part, because of an overextended program of entitlements. The country’s economic productivity is not sufficient to pay off Greece’s committed obligations to protected groups, such as retirees, state pension owners, students, etc.

This budgetary imbalance is complicated by the fact that Greece belongs to the European Union, an economic and quasi political confederacy that maintains its own currency but lacks a cohesive nationality. Economically stronger nations in the European Union, such as Germany, are sort of being put in a position of having to “bail out” the economically weaker nations, like Greece and Spain.

To curry favor with the EU, governments in these nations have tried to impose so called “austerity measures” to clamp down on benefits and thus stop the downward economic spiral. But these measures have not gone over well, and some recent protests have turned violent.

Many pundits in Europe and elsewhere worry that the United States might be headed down a similar path to the one that Greece is on. These pundits want to enact reforms to Social Security Disability and other government programs to stave off the disastrous end game that we see playing out in the Mediterranean today.

•    On the one hand, advocates of this theory can draw many compelling parallels between our situation and Greece’s situation from several years ago.
•    On the other hand, we are taking about two very different kinds of economies, so it’s not just a simple apples-to-apples comparison – it’s more like apples-to-coconuts.

The differences between the two entitlement-related “crises” are important, potentially vitally so, if we want to make the most effective reforms possible.

In Part II, we will talk more specifically about what Greece can teach us about social security disability reform. Until then, if you need help with your case – getting benefits, fighting at Reconsideration or at an Administrative Law Judge hearing – get in touch with the DeMayo Law team to discuss your options.

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.

What the Ravens’ Crushing 44-13 Victory Over the Bengals Can Teach You about Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Case

September 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness or just waylaid by a horrible injury, the last thing you need is drama over your Charlotte Social Security Disability situation. Unfortunately, the queue for government benefits (including Social Security Disability, supplemental security income, etc) seems to be getting longer every year, as more and more North Carolinians and Americans face problems like obesity, diabetes, and other “Western diseases.”

Perhaps your claim has been rejected, or perhaps you face an Administrative Law Judge hearing or Reconsideration. But in any event, it’s hard, and you’re sick, and you just want a break.

You might find inspiration from a surprising source – the sports news headlines.

Last Monday, the Baltimore Ravens rebounded from a heartbreaking season ending loss to the Patriots in the AFC championships to trounce the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 44 to 13. Quarterback Joe Flacco turned in one of the most aggressive offensive performances of his career, stunning some NFL analysts, who believed that last year’s play-off devastation would have crippled Baltimore’s confidence.

The lesson here, if you’re searching for Social Security Disability in North Carolina or elsewhere, is that resilience counts.

Yes, you’ve had horrible setbacks. Yes, they might have been unfair, and you might be confused, disoriented, and ill. But don’t give up. Odds are, you have yet to do the metaphorical equivalent of turning over every stone and looking under every leaf to get benefits – and general help/resources – available to manage your problems.

Resiliency is a character trait that you can cultivate over time.

Substantial research suggests that resilient people tend not only to get what they want more, but they also tend to feel better about their outcomes, because they feel more in control of their environment. Be compassionate with yourself. Letting go of the past doesn’t come easy for anyone, and if you are in a pessimistic state right now, no single action that you will take — including retaining a well-respected firm like the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo – will make your pain go away overnight.

But understand that you may be radically underestimating your capacity not only to get benefits but also to rebound from your physical and financial setbacks. No one is saying “be a Pollyanna” – it’s important to face your financial and medical realities. Clear headedness is required. But it is possible to see clearly and also cultivate a core resiliency in your spirit. So keep fighting for your rights and nourish your soul by reading about big comebacks – like the Ravens’ victory (or comebacks involving your favorite sport teams).

Social Security Disability Reform: Obama vs. Romney Implications

September 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

We’re heading into the homestretch of election year 2012, and pundits on both sides of the aisle are contemplating what the big vote will mean for the future of social security disability here in North Carolina and elsewhere.

If the Obama-Biden ticket wins reelection, will that mean a relatively static outcome for the social security disability program and other government benefits programs? Or will team Obama take a different strategic approach in term two? Meanwhile, if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins, will they radically overhaul government programs based on Ryan’s budget and Ayn-Rand inspired capitalistic philosophy? Or will the Romney-Ryan team more or less perpetuate similar policies, despite the ideological differences they claim to have with the Obama campaign?

Missing the forest for the trees, perhaps?

It’s easy – especially during election season – to get ginned up about the implications of any one election (or one decision) for the North Carolina social security disability program. And it’s not like the political choices that we make (or do not make) as a country have no consequences for the program. But there are two hugely important points that pundits, policymakers, and would be Charlotte social security disability beneficiaries often fail to pay attention to when they contemplate the impassioned debates about government benefits:

1. It is exceptionally rare for any one moment or decision – in politics or in life – to have powerful long term consequences.

Social security disability is, in some sense, “its own animal.”

It’s evolving in its own way. The factors and elements involved are dynamic and diverse. No one “push on the wheel” in any direction – towards reform or towards expansion – will have profound long term effects. True big transitions in policy are often born of cumulative incremental effects.

Subtle forces build for months or years before any kind of breakthrough. For instance, consider that the concept of artistic “overnight success” – an unknown artist or writer “breaks through” and suddenly becomes the darling of Hollywood or of the book industry or whatever. Usually, when you look at the stories of individuals who become “overnight successes,” you will find that they have been laboring for years – possibly decades – in obscurity, honing their craft before breakthrough.

Likewise, changes in programs happen via the accumulation of incremental impacts, not via a single pull of a lever on Election Day.

2. It’s almost impossible to predict, in advance, how decisions will impact complex systems, like social security disability.

You might pull the lever for the Romney-Ryan ticket, in hopes that the Republicans will somehow constrain our government. But it’s really impossible to say whether your choice will have its intended results. Consider, for instance, what happened early in the summer, when a Republican appointee to the Supreme Court, John Roberts, “switched sides” from his ideological predilections to salvage “Obamacare.” Few Republicans had been expecting that one!

That point is that we all live in a somewhat chaotic environment, and we need help dealing with our issues, because the solutions are often very counterintuitive.

If you’re struggling with a benefits question, the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you put you on the right track and keep you there.

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

August 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

August 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Likely, that probably was not West’s intention.

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

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

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

August 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

The answer boils down one word: Focus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

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

July 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

June 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

We want you to be able to counter it effectively!

Here we go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

North Carolina Social Security Disability – Less is More

April 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Most people who get on Social Security Disability in North Carolina – or who want to receive benefits – find themselves at a perpetual disadvantage.

You may feel, for instance, like you will never catch-up on your bills; you will never finish even the most essential things on your to do list; and you will never have energy to enjoy a social life or any recreational activity that’s less passive than vegging out and watching reality TV. You might be right. But, in your haste to try to deal with overwhelm, you may inadvertently undercut yourself, psychologically. Why? Because you are going to suffer, relentlessly, from the “my eyes are bigger than my stomach” problem when it comes to organization.

You Are Not – And Never Were! — Superman (or Superwoman)

Many would be North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries blame their problems on a lack of resources. You may find yourself saying – out loud or internally in your internal monologue:

•    “If only I had more time.”
•    “If only I had more money.”
•    “If only I had the right North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm.”
•    “If only I hadn’t gotten sick or hurt.”

Etc, etc. ad nauseam

So what we have here is a situation in which we wind-up feeling like we are victims – like our problems stem from a lack of resources.

Nonsense!

This isn’t to say that resources aren’t important. But our ability to thrive (or lack thereof) is less related to our immediate resources than it is to our resourcefulness. That’s a subtle distinction. But it’s an important one. Resourcefulness means being able to behave like the old TV icon MacGyver (you might know him by his SNL doppelganger MacGruber). MacGyver had a knack for coming up with band-aid like solutions to complicated problems in his life. He’d be trapped in a warehouse with nothing but scotch tape (or whatever), and he’d manage to escape and tie-up the bad guys in rolls and rolls of tape. That was not really an example from an actual MacGyver episode. But the point is that MacGyver was the archetypal resourceful guy.

Just because you’ve been thrown back on your feet by an illness or an injury or by a financial problem or by troubles in your relationships – or perhaps, you’ve been hit by a storm that’s walloped you with all these problems at once and more – does NOT mean that you are helpless or a victim or without recourse.

You might not be able to leverage the resources that you used to be able to leverage – such as your health, energy, flush finances, or what have you. But if you really take the time to understand your problems, to get clear on what you want, to look for help outside your normal circles, and to generally think and behave like MacGyver, you might be astonished at how much progress you can make — not only towards solving your benefits problems but also to solving your other chronic issues that have been plaguing you from even before when you got sick or hurt.

My web resources:

Be Like MacGyver

Be Like MacGruber

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

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?

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

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

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

March 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

The Roots of the Numbness

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

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

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

Escape from the Numbness Cycle

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

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

Three Little Words to Super Charge Your Quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability

February 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Buckle your seatbelts. You are about to learn three extremely powerful words that have the potential to completely shift your ability to meet your social security disability goals, whether you live in North Carolina or anywhere else in the union. These three words are going to surprise you at first. But hopefully, by the end of this blog post, you will come to appreciate massive power that they can yield. Ready? Here they are:

“I. Don’t. Know.”

That’s right. “I don’t know.” Get used to saying these words, because they have the power to unlock your frustrations and help you find the help you need.

Pride Cometh Before the Fall

North Carolinians are proud people – often very independent. North Carolinians often wait way too long before asking for help with their problems. When struggles are allowed to “marinate” in your life, they beget more troubles. Productivity experts often implore their clients to “surface” these deep obstacles instead of allowing them to be buried and cause chronic psychic, physical, emotional, and financial stress.

The trick is, in order to surface what’s holding you back, you need to find the gaps in your current approach. In other words, you need to know what you don’t know. Otherwise, how will you solve your problems?

For instance, say you are experiencing a constant annoying twinge in your right knee due to your accident/illness or perhaps due to something else. You haven’t talked to your doctor about it. But you notice it constantly. In order to find relief, you need to surface the obstacles preventing your knee from feeling better. You need to ask yourself questions about what’s bothering you, until you get to a place where you fundamentally say “I don’t know.”

For instance, you may have been to half a dozen specialists already, all of whom have given you different diagnoses and different methods to treat the pain. Yet, so far, you haven’t felt relief. You might ask yourself: “why haven’t the doctors been able to come up with a consensus and an appropriate treatment plan yet?” And your answer should be “I don’t know.”

Now, at least you have a sign post – a way to “flag” the critical gap in your knowledge. You can then talk to other people in your life about that core problem: what’s at the root of the failure to diagnose?

Alternatively, maybe you have had the twinge in your knee for months, but you’ve refused to go to the doctor about it. In this case, you will need to ask yourself questions about why you haven’t yet gone to the doctor. Totally different core constraint!

The general point here is that identifying the gaps in your knowledge (or beliefs) is critical to resolving your problems. And surfacing those obstacles begins with having the courage to say “I don’t know” and then the stamina and self respect to connect with resources that can really help you, such as a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

The Power of Admitting That You Don’t Know

Surfacing the hidden obstacles in your way

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

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

February 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Amazon review of Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness

Instruction on the science and practice of meditation

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

January 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

In fact, they do the opposite.

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

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

More Web Resources:

Barry Schwartz’ The Paradox of Choice

Being a caregiver can be overwhelming

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

January 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone

How other people can help you solve deep and abiding problems

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

January 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Ask yourself if these statements resonate with you:

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

Renewing Your Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Finding inspiration when you feel lost and tired

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

January 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

The “Angry Birds” Problem

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

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

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

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

More web resources:

Addicted to Angry Birds?

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

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

Social Networking Salvation for North Carolina Social Security Disability Beneficiaries

October 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

How can Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking tools help North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries?

The answer is simple: These tools offer lonely, undereducated, and scared beneficiaries or would be beneficiaries a means of getting much needed support. But is there any downside to using social networking tools to research, connect, and self-educate?

Perhaps.

On the one hand, the web and social networking tools offer social security disability beneficiaries access to support groups who genuinely care and who can help struggling beneficiaries explore solutions to complex, highly specific SSD quandaries. Because the people you meet in these networks struggle with the same issues you do, they will likely give you practical, actionable, and effective tips. And even if you have the most compassionate caregivers, family members, or friends in the world, unless they are going through similar struggles, they may not ever “truly understand” the emotional turmoil you face. So Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools can relieve your sense of isolation.

On the flip side, information sharing is not without its pitfalls. These include:

• There are a lot of crackpots out there. What happens when “the blind leads the blind”? How do you ensure you are getting sound, legally correct advice?
• Scam artists abound. Individuals on social security or supplemental security income are in dire straits. Cynical con artists often take advantage of SSD beneficiaries’ desperation, and these con artists use tools like Facebook and Twitter to lure marks.
• If you spend all your time online looking for answers, you may fail to take necessary actions to heal yourself. For instance, instead of engaging in regular rehab or taking daily constitutionals, you may spend your day on the computer complaining about your SSD related problems.

For help with specific legal questions, connect with an experienced and compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm.

More Web Resources

How social media can help people who are lonely and in need.

Dangers of “too much” social media

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

August 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

The first key challenge involves uncertainty.

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

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

Dealing with the Uncertainty and Frustration Strategically

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Caregiver emotions

uncertainty causes stress

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

August 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Our Second Main Challenge: Loneliness

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

caretaker loneliness

importance of social support

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

August 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s the key: thinking.

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

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

More Web Resources:

Caregiver overwhelm

the genius of K.I.S.S.

Helping Someone on North Carolina Social Security Disability

May 25, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Do you have a friend or a family member who is currently going through the (often grueling) process of trying to collect North Carolina social security disability or supplemental security income? What can you do for that person to make him or her feel more comfortable, more empowered, less confused, and more excited about the future?

You might be surprised by the resources available to you and to your friend/relative on North Carolina social security disability. Support groups, financial planners, life planners, senior centers, local and state charities, religious groups, and community groups can all provide you with support, ideas, networks of people/companies who can help, and much more.

When you offer your care – or offer to help in another way – pay attention to the scope of your involvement. Caregivers who enter into commitments casually or without thinking them through may later find that they are resentful, guilt prone, and frustrated because they have put the needs of the SSD or SSI recipient ahead of their own.

Know why you provide the care you do; otherwise, both you and the recipient will wind up “losing” in some way. Also, don’t feel like you have to “do it yourself” when it comes to providing assistance. Yes, do the laundry, make meals, listen to the person as he or she reveals inner frustrations and dreams. But don’t feel like you have to also be the travel coordinator, logistics go-to person, or free legal advice giver.

In fact, if you take on too many roles – or specifically, roles that you are not comfortable doing or don’t have experience doing – you could cause more harm than good.

For instance, if you’re not savvy with money, you could wind up encouraging the recipient to invest with a less than qualified or even corrupt financial planner. To tackle the legal logistics, connect with a qualified North Carolina social security disability law firm to help you get clear answers about the SSD appeals process.

Don’t go it alone. In order for you to provide the best support possible to the person you care about, get the support that you need to do the job right – and with minimal stress and bother – so that you can be totally present for the other person in this time of need.

More Web Resources:

Don’t go it alone

What to say to a sick friend

 
 

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