Topic: Social Security disability

Desperate for Social Security Disability Benefits? Get a Hobby!

March 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Victory…

March 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Different circumstances call for different strategies.

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

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

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

How do you know when to deviate from best practices?

In the abstract, no one can really say.

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

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

No “Easy Button” for Social Security Disability Benefits Problems

March 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

So what can you do about your heightened vulnerability?

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

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

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

The point here is two-fold:

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

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

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

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.

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

March 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

There are several important takeaways here.

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

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

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

February 28, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

One tool to use is creative improvisation.

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

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

Let’s talk through an example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The point is that your inner resourcefulness is a powerful tool, and the more you cultivate this resourcefulness, the more you will feel back in control of your life and destiny, irrespective of what happens regarding your benefits. All that said, you probably do want to find a good Social Security Disability law firm. Please connect with the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation by calling us at (877) 529-1222.

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

February 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Private Detective Indicted on Social Security Disability Fraud Charges

February 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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

January 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Done? Okay, great!

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

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

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

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

Succeeding with Your Social Security Disability Claim in 2013

January 15, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a subtle distinction!

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

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

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

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.

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

January 1, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

Here are three pretty cool ideas.

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

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

2. Get enough sunlight.

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

3. Journal – a lot – about diverse topics.

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

Regaining Autonomy in an Out of Control Environment

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

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

Accepting the Uncertainty of Your Charlotte Social Security Disability Claim

December 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Yet the human spirit is surprisingly resilient.

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

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

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

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

December 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

Believe it or not, some people have it worse!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

The queue is long.

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

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

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

Getting Help Early in the Process Is the Key

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

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

December 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Outsourcing to experts can be a way to break through.

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 29, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

So how can you meet this challenge?

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

This technique is called ‘Swallow the Frog.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pundits vs. Nate Silver: Implications for Your Quest for Social Security Disability in Charlotte

November 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re desperate to claim Social Security Disability, so you can balance your personal budget and gain some modicum of security about your future. However, you’re bombarded with advice about what to do and what not to do. The more you contemplate your options, the more overwhelmed you feel. You know you can’t ‘do nothing.’ But you also don’t want to make the wrong choices. And so you are stuck at this point of paralysis. In this sea of information overload, how can you find a good voice – ideally, voices – to steer you in the right direction?

Is it only a matter of listening to the conventional wisdom? Should you take an unconventional route? Will connecting with a reliable, trustworthy North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, be enough to solve your problems? Do you even need a law firm?

These are profound questions. As you contemplate them, you might be tempted to take the path of least resistance: the path that you are currently on. That can actually be a big mistake. Sometimes, the conventional wisdom is far off the mark.

Consider, for instance, the prognostications of the pundits leading up to the November 6 election.

Seemingly informed politicos, like Joe Scarborough (host of ‘Morning Joe’ on MSNBC), declared the race a ‘toss up’ days before the election. On the other hand, New York Times blogger Nate Silver claimed that President Obama had an advantage over Governor Mitt Romney that gave Obama something like 80% odds. Turns out that Silver’s predictions were on the mark, not only in terms of who would win the race but also in terms of how each state would vote. His model was 50 for 50 in terms of predicting Electoral College votes.

This isn’t to say that Silver had a crystal ball or that his model was flawless. Rather, it suggests that an idiosyncratic but empirically validated model or resource can be more accurate than an army of conventional thinkers.

When in doubt, go with the empirically validated solution

Whether you are striving to win a claim or searching for solutions to other problems in your life, consider beginning with questions like ‘what’s worked in the past in very similar situations to the one I am in right now?’ Look for empirical validation over big promises or conventional wisdom to guide you through chaos and uncertainty.

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

November 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

1. Your initial attempts to get compensation have backfired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

This is paradoxical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 8, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Perhaps. Here are three takeaways.

1. Our problems are more alike than we realize.

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

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

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

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

3. The cream rises to the top.

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

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

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

November 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would that there was a simple takeaway!

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

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

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

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

October 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Social Security Disability Be Affected by the Presidential Election?

October 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being Young and on Social Security Disability in Charlotte or Elsewhere

October 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Picture in your mind someone who’s on Social Security Disability in North Carolina.

Whether you conjured up a man or woman, you likely pictured an elderly person, likely struggling with multiple medical conditions, such as Type II diabetes and joint and back problems. Odds are, you did not picture an ill (but otherwise vibrant looking) 30-something or 20-something. But thousands of young people in North Carolina and elsewhere need and receive North Carolina Social Security disability benefits, and thousands more apply for these benefits every year.

After all, any worker at any age can get seriously sick or fall ill.

Sadly, however, the stigma of asking for help – particularly help normally associated with older Americans – can drive needy, perhaps even desperate young North Carolinians away from taking positive action.

It’s not a sign of weakness – rather a sign of strength.

You might fear that applying for benefits will lead you to be harassed, mocked, or otherwise humiliated. Or maybe you’re just worried about being further isolated from your peers, who are out cavorting at bars or raising families. Understand that seeking help when you’ve been waylaid by serious injury or illness is an act of courage, and you should be commended.

Also, understand that your challenges may be far less daunting than you realize.

The hardest part about getting help is accepting your current reality. The second hardest part is identifying how you want your world to change in light of this new information. You clearly want to obtain benefits, dispatch with your medical issues, and get your life “back on track” – whatever that means.

•    So what does your most positive outcome look like?
•    What resources do you need to get there?
•    Can a North Carolina Social Security disability law firm, like DeMayo law, help you deal with questions about your benefits or struggles with an insurance company?

Although you may feel victimized, now is the time for you to act in precisely the opposite way – act as someone who has agency, intelligence, independence and power to do what’s needed to change your life and circumstances.

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.

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

October 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

September 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We may soon find out.

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

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

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

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

September 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

This observation is not meant to be cynical.

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

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

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

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

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

This can be dangerous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So where does that leave you?

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

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

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

September 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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

September 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identifying Your Constraint Is Massively Important

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

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

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

August 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

May sound like a stretch, but please read on.

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

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

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

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

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

August 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Practical Implications of This Message

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

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

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

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

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

August 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

What The Scientific Advances Mean For Your Quest For Benefits

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

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

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

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

August 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Likely, that probably was not West’s intention.

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

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

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

August 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

The answer boils down one word: Focus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Security Disability Benefits: Do You Really Need Them?

July 31, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So take time to introspect and ask yourself questions like:

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

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

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

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

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

July 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embracing a Paradox about North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits

June 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

This question holds powerful subtleties worth study.

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

Here is why this paradox possibly works:

It deals in reality

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

It provides peace of mind

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

Hidden “shortcuts” to resourceful living

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

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

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

June 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to North Carolina social security disability benefits.

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

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

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

June 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

June 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Security Disability in North Carolina: Perils of Giving Up Control

May 31, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’ve been frustrated by a bad experience at Reconsideration or at an Administrative Law Judge hearing; or you’re just “dipping your toe” into the social security disability process – understanding how it works and what the implications might hold for you – you need to be worried about a hidden danger.

That danger has to do with a loss of control.

When you get on a benefits program — whether government takes care of you, a friend, family member or a neighbor takes care of you — you can experience a subtle but very real loss of control regarding your own life and destiny. Since you no longer can “earn a living” or “pay your way on your own,” you obviously must find a means for support. Otherwise, how would you pay for needed services like medical care, food, housing, etc?
On other hand, psychology research clearly shows that people who lose control over their lives – who cede control to other people or systems – wind up feeling depressed, anxious, and less healthy.

If this research is correct, it creates a kind of paradox for North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries. You obviously need the money. But if you start accepting too much support – then you lose control – then you feel depressed, anxious, and sicker.

A way around the dilemma

The feeling of “being in control” is really subjective. You can be in prison or confined to a wheelchair and still feel control and in charge of your destiny. Conversely, you can “have it all” – be the CEO of a company, be in perfectly good health, etc – and feel out of control because you’re allowing yourself to be constrained by certain rules or societal explanations or beliefs that have been imposed upon you by friends or family members or society or what have you.

So in some ways, the situation is all about your mental outlook. How are you going to frame your frustrations and problems? Are you going to blame other people or blame your situation? Or are you going to accept your current reality and take responsibility for what you can take responsibility for – for what you’re physically and mentally able to do – and use this new frame to set the rules for your conduct and your mental health?

It’s a challenge, and the choice is obviously up to you. If you need help dealing with the logistics of collecting social security disability benefits, connect immediately with the team at DeMayo Law for a free and confidential consultation.

More People On Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Elsewhere: What Does It Mean?

May 29, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The number of workers who collect social security disability insurance in North Carolina (and elsewhere in the US) has spiked over the past five years, according to recent survey data. In December 2007, for instance, 7.1 million workers collected social security disability insurance (SSDI). In April 2012, that number had spiked to 8.7 million – a rise of nearly 25%. According to professional analysts at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase, this statistic can explain – in and of itself! – about 25% of the drop in the US labor force participation since the beginning of the “great recession” of 2008.

What’s causing this? What are the ramifications?

When people hear about these statistics, they often chime in with their opinions. And there is no shortage of theories. For instance, an executive at a Washington organization known as the National Academy of Social Insurance, Virginia Reno, suggested that the rotten economy created a series of disincentives for certain people to return to work – particularly people who work “blue collar” jobs and who find themselves stranded in an increasingly service-dominated economy.

On a more practical note, the surge of beneficiaries may have implications for you. The queue is getting longer. More and more people are applying for SSDI. In 1990, for instance, only 8 out of 1,000 people applied for SSDI. Last year, that figure was more than double – 18 out of 1,000 working age Americans sought social disability benefits. The economy is contracting, and more and more people are going on benefits programs or seeking benefits.

Rooting out the whys and wherefores of this trend is a fraught business. We can speculate.

For instance, one of the clearest trends in health data has to do with obesity and diabetes rates. Epidemiologists now agree that we are facing what’s essentially an epidemic of obesity and diabetes (“diabesity,” as some people call it, because the two diseases are so closely linked). So whatever might be driving this epidemic might also be indirectly contributing to the woes and frustrations of social security disability.

For help understanding this program and understanding what you can do to maximize your benefits and minimize your stress, connect today with the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a free, confidential, and complete consultation.

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

May 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Social about Social Security Disability in North Carolina and Elsewhere

May 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wielding the double-edge sword

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

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

More Web Resources:

Using social media wisely

North Carolina Social Security Disability – The Price of Not Knowing

May 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Why uncertainty causes stresses

How to overcome uncertainty

When North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits Are Just Not Enough

May 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

This can be intensely frustrating.

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

Understanding the purpose of your North Carolina social security disability

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

I want to get North Carolina social security disability …

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

How to define the purpose of an activity

Why purpose can constrain and improve your choices

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

May 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

The Compassionate Allowances Program

When you are Being Jealous of Someone Who is Sick

What Will Come After North Carolina Social Security Disability?

April 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

What’s the Far Feature of Social Security?

Jeff Goldblum and Chaos Theory

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

March 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

The Big False Belief Holding You Back?

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources.

Good Free Info on Social Security Disability

More Savvy Online Advice about Social Security Disability

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

March 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Nicholas Nassim Taleb

People Tend to Focus on the Wrong Things

Confronting Your North Carolina Social Security Disability “Worst Nightmare”

March 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

Taking a Good, Hard Look at the Worst Case Outcomes

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

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

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

Sounds pretty rough, doesn’t it?

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

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

More Web Resources:

The Works of Ernest Becker

Writing Down and Dealing With Your Worst Fears

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

March 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

So what are the root causes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Perils of Reductionism

Why we Mistake the Forest for the Trees

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.

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

March 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

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

The Ptolemaic view of the cosmos

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

March 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

But are they valid?

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

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

The War on Insulin

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

Too Many Chefs in the North Carolina Social Security Disability Kitchen

February 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Way Too Many Chefs in the Kitchen

An Expert…Or Just Pretending To Be One?

Humility and the Quest for North Carolina Social Security Disability Solutions

February 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

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

Humility is a sign of strength

The Pied Piper Syndrome and North Carolina Social Security Disability

February 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

What on earth does the fable of the Pied Piper have to do with Social Security Disability in North Carolina?

Surprisingly, a lot.

As you may recall, the Pied Piper is a legend that likely originated in Germany in the Middle Ages. It concerns a mythical piper who rids a town of rats by enchanting the vermin with music from his pipe. When the villagers refuse to pay for piper’s services, he gets his revenge by similarly enchanting the village’s children away from their homes.

In many ways, the Pied Piper is a tale of misplaced trust. Sure, the piper may be able to blow beautiful music: but what are his ultimate intentions?

Individuals struggling with Social Security Disability in North Carolina and elsewhere are easy prey for Pied Piper-like “savior figures.” It’s not just the scam artists and schemers you need to be concerned about. Well-meaning authorities can also wreak havoc on your life. For instance, perhaps you are sick and in desperate straits. You can no longer afford insurance or your regular doctor. So instead you go to a psychic healer why lacks credentials and a medical degree.

The homeopathic healer may do his or her best to treat you – there is no ill intention – but the poor medical treatment can nevertheless substantially increase your challenges.

There is an even more insidious danger lurking!

Some resourceful people may get a lot of things “right”: they may offer you very specific, actionable, scientifically-based assistance. But then you might grow to trust that person or entity so much, that you will unquestioningly follow every single piece of advice that that person or institution puts out. Not so smart! No one’s got “everything” figured out.

The solution to the Pied Piper problem is to cultivate critical thinking skills. This can be difficult to do, no matter your station of life. It can be extraordinary challenging to keep an open, critical mind when you are knee deep in issues of life and death and financial solvency.

Your best protection against the Pied Pipers of the world is your web of relationships. For instance, if you develop a relationship with a responsible, results-proven Social Security Disability law firm in North Carolina, you will improve your odds of getting better results.

More Web Resources:

When experts bite off more than they can chew

The tale of the Pied Piper.

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

February 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Can we fix our economy without fixing the obesity epidemic?

How much does obesity cost America every year?

North Carolina Social Security Disability and the Definition of Insanity

February 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

It may be worth your time to ask: Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

The Definition of Insanity

Black Swan Events

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

February 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

New, new, new, new.

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

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

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

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

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

What can you stop doing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work Anymore

Using “Why” Questions to Drill Down

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

Sounds Nice, but Is It True? Avoiding “Claptrap” While on Social Security Disability in North Carolina

January 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If an illness or serious injury has disrupted your life and compelled you to seek social security disability in North Carolina, you may feel like you’re in relatively desperate straits.

After all, it’s no fun to battle a serious chronic disease or debilitating physical ailment at any age, at any time of your life. It’s even more disturbing to deal with a medical problem if your financial security is threatened and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For these reasons and many others, individuals who need social security disability in North Carolina often find themselves not only the targets of scams and schemes, but also enraptured by hokum that provides false hope. This may lead them to do self-destructive things, like throw away medications or abandon a physician’s advice in favor of a psychic’s.

Separating Hokum from Useful “Self-Help”

It’s easy to be a skeptic of things like acupuncture, meditation, hypnosis, homeopathy, and other forms of “non-western” healing. But the science is often ambiguous. For instance, can acupuncture or acupressure treat certain chronic physical ailments? Some reputable scientific authorities say yes; others argue that acupuncture does little more than provide a placebo-effect type of healing.

Are the naysayers correct or incorrect? Counter-arguments abound!

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and never really understand the fine points of the debate or find a resolution to it. On the other hand, advocates of alternative healing methods rightly point out that conventional medicine often falls victim to “hokum” and false beliefs.

For instance, University of Minnesota researcher Ancil Keys’ “lipid hypothesis” – the belief that eating dietary fat causes heart disease – stems in large part from a study that Keys conducted called the Seven-Countries Study. The study ostensibly showed a correlation between nations that ate a lot of fat and nations that had a lot of heart disease. But Keys’ science was exquisitely poor. It turns out that the Seven-Countries Study actually included 22 countries – 15 of which Keys conveniently left out to show support for his hypothesis. Once you add in those 15 other countries, the data are all over the map. There is no support for the lipid hypothesis in the Seven-Countries Study.

So, you can find hokum when it comes to alternative medicine. You can find hokum when it comes to conventional medical thinking.

Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis, North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries are often left to fend for themselves and “figure out” who is right and who is wrong in these complicated scientific debates. That’s an enormous problem in its own right.

To avoid getting lost, you need to find resources that can help you navigate your medical and your legal situation effectively. Your medical condition is obviously extremely complicated, and no generic blog post could hope to address it. You may find a consultation with a North Carolina social security disability law firm quite useful and eye opening.

More web resources:

All about the Lipid Hypothesis

Ancil Keys’ Seven-Countries Study… or was it 22 Countries?

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

January 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Black Swans and White Swans

Social Security Disability Doomsday Prophecy

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

November 25, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

Easier said than done, right?

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Preparing for Your ALJ Hearing

The Danger/Opportunity Duality

North Carolina Social Security Solutions: Communicating Your Feelings and Needs More Effectively

November 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In several posts on this North Carolina social security disability blog, we’ve discussed how important it is for sick and injured people to stand up for themselves, make their voices heard, and communicate their feelings and needs in clear, concise, powerful ways.

Unfortunately, many of us have been so poorly trained in how to communicate that we blunt our ability to get the help we need — not just from friends and family members, but also from important resources like a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

Why is it so difficult to communicate? Why, despite all of your powerful and painful needs, can you not get them met?

Part of the problem might be the actual language you use – how you structure your requests, criticisms, and even your self-talk.

In modern American society, we tend to conflate observations with judgments and feelings, and we tend to deny responsibility of our own feelings when we say things like we “should do x, y, z” or “we have to.” We also say things like such and such person “made me feel” sad, angry, happy, lonely, etc. In this language of self-denial, we automatically make ourselves the victims. If an Administrative Law Judge hands down a verdict we don’t like, we give the judge power over us by saying he or she “made me furious” or the decision “made me helpless.”

Furiousness and helplessness are states of the mind. Certain actions or events can trigger these states of mind, but the feelings’ roots are internal. Until we learn to separate objective actions from internal reflections about those actions, we are doomed to give up some control and power.

Let’s apply this philosophy to a real life situation. Let’s say that a judge gives a ruling that you don’t like. Instead of saying “the judge made me angry,” or “the judge is idiot” – statements of blame and judgment that really don’t get you anywhere – reflect on your own feelings about what happened. You might say: “boy, when the judge handed down that ruling, I felt humiliated and angry, because I have a need for money to pay my bills and also a need to resolve my North Carolina Social Security Disability situation.”

Notice how, in the second way of thinking about it, we have detached the objective reality (the judge’s ruling) from your feelings (frustration, humiliation), and we have also unearthed two crucial needs – a need for money and a need for resolution of your SSD situation. Now that you know those two needs, you can think strategically about how to meet those needs. In other words, you are no longer helpless: you are empowered.

More Web Resources:

Separating Observation from Feelings

Non-violent Communication

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

November 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

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

Why responsibility matters

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

November 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

David Allen’s Ready for Anything

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

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

November 14, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Common scams perpetrated on the elderly and the sick


Good article on scam protection

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

November 9, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

The Dangers of Negative Self-Talk.

Crises are Dynamic.

Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel: Is There Any Real Hope for People on North Carolina Social Security Disability?

November 7, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a current or prospective North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiary, odds are you are feeling somewhat pessimistic not only about your life and health, but also about the general direction of our state and our national economy.

Just tuning into cable news these days can be depressing in and of itself – and that’s without layering on all of the “psychic baggage” you bring to the table as someone who is hurt, sick, or both. The global, national, and state economies are sputtering. You are worried about how you are going to support yourself and your family, and you are probably constantly overwhelmed by bad news, catastrophic headlines, and self-doubt.

Digging out from all of the psychic rubble is no small task, and no single blog post can eradicate the challenges or lift all that weight off your shoulders. Even if you do retain a reputable, effective North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to help you, you will still have a lot of “heavy lifting” ahead of you.

How, within this context, can you maintain optimism, focus, and ensure progress?

Again, there is no “sliver bullet” solution. But don’t ever expect someone to hand you the answer, either. If they try, chances are they are trying to sell you something or possibly even scam you. Self-development is an incremental, challenging process. It is possible, however, to make more progress than many social security disability beneficiaries realize, both in terms of dealing with your financial stresses and feeling better both physically and emotionally.

Here are some principles to keep in mind:

• Avoid getting too caught up in the lows or too carried away with the highs. Moderate your expectations, and steer the middle path.

• Get help. Depending on your perspective, even if you are located remotely, you can find tons of free, compassionate help from good-hearted people online. Again, beware of people who are trying to sell you things or scam you. Most people aren’t, fortunately, and communities abound to help people struggling with practically every problem out there.

• Your perspective on your problems can be hugely influential. If you think that your SSD crisis will be the end of you, then it very well might be. But if you view the challenges in front of you as opportunities instead of merely as depressing items, you may find that you achieve more progress and enjoy the journey more.

More Web Resources:

It All Depends on How You Look at It.

Gaining Control and Perspective

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

November 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

Score one for the baby!

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

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

More Web Resources:

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

Senator Coburn loses to adult baby in fight over SSD benefits

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

October 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting food for thought, at least.

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

More Web Resources:

Wheat Belly

The impact of sugar on our healthcare crisis

Productivity after North Carolina Social Security Disability

October 28, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The critics of programs like North Carolina social security disability often talk about beneficiaries if they are all sitting around at home, plotting how to “not work” and “suck off the system.”

Is this a fair assessment?

It’s probably true that one can find numerous instances of genuinely slothful, indolent people who try to scam programs like North Carolina social security disability to make ends meet, without meeting their obligations as part of a productive society. But it’s a bizarre and scary argument to suggest that the huge increase in the number of SSD beneficiaries can be attributed solely to defects in character. Has our moral fiber really degraded that much over the past 20 or 30 years or so? Is that really the most parsimonious explanation for why so many would-be beneficiaries want to sign up for programs like SSD?

Might there be other explanations?

One obvious contributing factor is demographics. As the baby-boomer generation gets older and retires, many of the people in this “population bulge” will come to rely on government benefit programs to pay for rent, food, healthcare, etc. So at least some of the increase in the number of beneficiaries is purely a result of this demographic shift. It has nothing to do with anyone’s innate character or constitution (or lack thereof).

Environmental causes of medical problems might also lurk, as we conduct our forensic investigation to uncover what might be stressing the North Carolina social security disability system. For instance, 20 years ago, very few Americans were on drugs like antidepressants and anti anxiety medications. Over the past 20 years or so, however, Americans have turned en mass to medications like SSRIs and insulin secretagogues to treat conditions ranging from ADHD to diabetes to depression. The fundamental causes of these medical problems might ultimately be to blame for why the system is so stressed.

In other words, we need to ask:

• What’s making people ADHD and depressed?
• What’s making people diabetic and fat?

Until we understand the fundamental root causes, any attempt to litigate or legislate around the problem will meet in failure because the solutions will not address the fundamental causative agents.

Here is an analogy. Say someone suffers from cancer. He or she might lose a significant amount of weight and muscle tissue as a result of the cancer. But the solution for that person is not to get that person to the gym to “build up more muscle” or to make that person eat more. (although good exercise and nutrition might certainly help.) Unless the fundamental problem – whatever is causing the cancer – is addressed, the patient will remain sick.

Consult with a North Carolina social security disability law firm to discuss your needs and possible benefit solutions.

More Web Resources:

The graying of the baby-boomer generation

The American over medication epidemic.

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

October 24, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

Surprised to hear that?

Consider this line of argument:

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

The Science of Satisfaction

Is your problem really “the problem”?

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

October 22, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

New York City Horse Traffic Problem

Paradigm Shifts Tend to be “Bolts From The Blue”

A Primer for North Carolina Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: Cataloging Your Needs

October 18, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent blog post on the trials and tribulations of North Carolina social security disability beneficiaries, we discussed how “prideful” SSD applicants often make self-destructive decisions because they desperately want to regain control over their lives. In these situations, they are willing to sacrifice resources – to reject the help of friends and family members – to preserve autonomy.

What other “unmet needs” might be causing you distress?

As a North Carolina social security disability beneficiary (or would-be beneficiary), you likely face a “full house” of emotions. If you analyze these emotions and looked at the fundamental needs behind them, you might be surprised at the progress that you can make. Here is a short hand for some feeling/need combos:

Example #1

• Stimulus: ALJ hearing gets postponed, surprisingly.

• Feeling: Anger, frustration, annoyance.

• Underlying need not met: Clarity and resolution about the uncertainties created by the case.

Example #2

• Stimulus: An acquaintance says something to the effect of “social security beneficiaries are all lazy freeloaders.”

• Emotional reaction: Anger, humiliation.

• Underlying need not met: Respect and to feel like you are contributing to society in a positive way.

Example #3

• Stimulus: A great conversation with the representative of a North Carolina social security disability law firm, where you get many frustrating, urgent, confusing questions answered in plain language.

• Emotional response: Joy, relief, calm, possibly elation.

• Needs met: Empathy, clarity, and need for outside help from competent outside sources.

More web resources:

Understanding the Role of Feelings and Needs In Your Life

Why Certain Feelings Might Indicate Hidden Needs That You are Not Aware Of

 
 

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