Topic: SSD Costs

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.

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.

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

May 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Doomsday Scenario about Social Security

Another Doomsday Scenario about Social Security

North Carolina Social Security Disability – Less is More

April 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

Etc, etc. ad nauseam

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

Nonsense!

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

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

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

My web resources:

Be Like MacGyver

Be Like MacGruber

North Carolina Social Security Disability – The Bear Bones Basics

April 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

SSDI – A Little Bit Like a Government Insurance Program

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Date Last Insured

FICA Taxes

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

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?

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

January 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Here are some possibilities:

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

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

More Web Resources:

Can Anything Save Social Security?

Doomsday Predictions Are Often Wrong

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

January 10, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Regaining Yourself Self-Reliance

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Jim Collins’ Flywheel Metaphor for Business Success.

Essay on Self-Reliance

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

January 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Where is all this pressure on the system coming from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources

Unemployed Turn to Social Security Disability Benefits

10.6 million Social Security Disability Beneficiaries… and Counting!

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.

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”?

Do You Really Believe You Deserve North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits?

October 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

On paper, you could really use North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits.

Whether you are suffering from a long-term illness that will keep you out of work for at least a year or longer, or you suffered an injury or other medical setback, you lack long-term security. You face annoying medical costs. And you may even be wrestling with emotional demons that are part and parcel of the North Carolina Social Security Disability struggle.

And although you may face logistical, financial, and other concerns, it’s the emotional ones that really rock your boat. The frustration, depression, self-blame, doubt, anxiety, panic, etc.

When you ruminate over the frustrating turns that your life has taken, you can get mired in a mindset that’s less-than-conducive to best results. Specifically, you might come to believe that you in some way karmically “deserve” your misfortune. You may not consciously say, “I brought this on myself.” But you might start to think in those terms, on a deep, inaccessible, subconscious level. And when we start to think that we don’t deserve things in life – social security disability benefits, for instance – we may engage in acts of subtle self-subterfuge.

For instance, instead of putting up a fight at an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing, you may resign yourself to not getting the benefits that you want… before you even enter the courtroom. This defeated posture results in subtle but damaging effects to your ability to actually get the money and help you need. On the other hand, if you go into an ALJ hearing – or engage in some other way with the SSD bureaucracy or system – with your head held high and the right attitude, that confidence and moxie can subtly lead to good results.

This isn’t to say that you should be unrealistic or break the rules or that somehow a shift in attitude is going to solve all your problems. But attitude has a non-negligible effect.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do all the legwork and fighting on your own. A competent North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can help you achieve good results and make sure that you follow best practices.

More Web Resources:

How Your Mindset Affects Your Outcome

How to Impress the Judge

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

August 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

This is only natural.

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

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

But all that notwithstanding, hope may still abound.

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

catastrophic thinking

quantifiable power of hope

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

August 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Swamp People

Asking the 5 Whys

Weaning Yourself Off of North Carolina Social Security Disability

August 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

What kind of shortcuts are we talking about?

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Begin with the end in mind

Dealing with the North Carolina Social Security Disability Haters

June 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In an ideal world, anyone who needs North Carolina social security disability to pay for medical care, living expenses, and other costs while recuperating from an injury or illness would be treated with dignity and respect by the community. Unfortunately, the real world often doesn’t work this way. Indeed, if you do have to take SSD or (Supplementary Security Income – (SSI), odds are likely that you will encounter at least one or two salty critics of the social security program who will come either subtly or directly, blame you for systemic problems that are obviously out of your control. For instance, someone who has recently lost a job due to downsizing economy – or who has dealt with his or her own problems with the medical system – may resent that you are receiving any money from the government or problems receiving better care than he or she has gotten.

Obviously, you are not responsible for the state of the North Carolina social security disability system, nor should you be expected to solve multi-billion dollar, multi-generational financial crisis. Nor should you be required to justify to strangers (or even friends and colleagues) why you need the money so desperately do. So what should you do in these kinds of confrontations?

First of all, strive to listen to the feelings and needs that you feel and that your adversary exhibits. Try to look beyond the blame, judgment, and guilt trip and focus instead on what Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (founder of a school of thought known as Nonviolent Communication) would describe as “what’s alive” in both you and the other person.

For instance, say someone criticizes you for taking “too much” money from state or federal government. Instead of hearing the judgment, focus instead on what the person might be needing or feeling. For instance, maybe he is upset because he needs medical care, and that need is not being met. Alternatively (and complementarily), listen to your own feelings and needs. May be that comment sparks a reaction of anger, frustration, and even fear because you have a need for safety and for resources for medical care.

Of course, these and other problems will inevitably crop up as you move forward with your recovery (ideally). A North Carolina social security disability law firm can help you preserve your rights, introduce you to resources you might not know about otherwise, and help you prevent other common issues and struggles that many SSD beneficiaries experience.

More Web Resources:

Nonviolent Communication

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg

Making the Most Out of Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Benefits

April 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been fighting for the right to collect North Carolina social security disability benefits, chances are you haven’t had that much time or energy to devote to figuring out how best to invest any moneys you receive. You’re too caught up in the battles: the battle to win an appeal, the battle to deal with your underlying medical conditions; the battle to manage family needs. Etc. Etc.

A little planning, however, can go a long way.

Once you know how much money to expect from an entitlement program, your battle for financial security has only just begun. It’s crucial to figure out how to allocate any moneys that come in – and deal with any surprises (and there will be surprises, there always are).

You may be living on a shoestring budget. But it may still behoove you to speak with a professional financial planner to review your options and help you avoid burning through your benefits money.

It’s surprisingly easy to burn through benefits. When you don’t feel good, and you’re overwhelmed by medical stress, financial pressures, and anxieties, you may be tempted to “splurge” on pointless things like toys or trips that you can’t really afford.

Alternatively, you may be tempted to gamble with your North Carolina social security disability benefits – if not literally at a gaming table in a casino than maybe figuratively. You may purchase dubious investment vehicles in the hopes that they will yield up great returns. Unscrupulous con artists have devised dozens, perhaps hundreds, of different schemes designed to swindle seniors and others who rely on social security disability and supplemental security income (SSI) out of their hard fought entitlements.

Your reasons for avoiding help may be less than rational. For instance, you may balk at the upfront costs of going to a financial planner… without analyzing the costs of NOT going to a planner and continuing to spend, borrow, and plan as you currently do – that is, inefficiently.

For instance, maybe a consultation with a planner will cost you $500… but not consulting with a planner may lead you to overspend by $2,000 over the next year.

Also, you have to remember that, when you’re sick, injured, and frustrated, you may put off certain key planning tasks and then suffer penalties and fees as a result. For instance, say you’re a small business owner who needs to pay quarterly taxes. But you can’t get around to doing the paperwork because you’re ill. You may end up having to pay serious fees and penalties when you do your next year’s taxes. While a financial planner obviously can’t solve all of your woes, he or she can point out pitfalls and keep you on a better track.

Another important resource is a North Carolina social security disability law firm. A quality law firm can leverage resources to ensure that you get the right benefits and complete assistance during the appeals process.

More Web Resources:

Why to do financial planning

SSD and SSI scams

North Carolina Social Security Disability Fraud – Could What Happened in NY Happen Here?

April 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Earlier this week, police arrested a man named Raymond Pompey in Peekskill, New York for trying to steal his deceased cousin’s identity to commit Social Security disability fraud – Pompey’s case has many in the North Carolina Social Security disability community concerned. Could other people be trying to bilk the system, like Pompey ostensibly did? If so, might that have a negative impact that redounds to harm those who need these crucial benefits to pay bills, fund medical costs, and protect their families during hard times?

Before we get to these bigger questions, let’s review a little bit what happened in the Pompey case. According to various news reports, the 48-year-old Pompey last year got a Maryland drivers license by applying for the license in his cousin’s name. Earlier this year, he pulled the same stunt in New York State and then went to the Social Security Office for the purpose of collecting his cousin’s SSD payments. Thanks to the work of two NYSP investigators, Shawn Morgan and Kelly Pawlak, Pompey’s scheme got busted up. He has been slapped with a variety of felony charges, including:

• Falsifying business records
• First degree ID theft
• First degree providing false instrument for filing
• Two first degree counts of falsifying business records
• Two second degree forgery counts

It took a multi-jurisdictional investigation to pin down Pompey for forgery, ID theft, and the other fraud charges discussed above.

Pompey’s story will no doubt spark powerful emotions from those who depend on North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits to survive. But it’s important to place the story in some kind of context. When you need money to live, and you read about someone blatantly breaking into the program that supports you for devious ends, it’s easy to find your blood boiling and imagine the problem to be worse than it actually is.

In reality, many different factors siphon energy and money from the SSD program and make it less efficient and less useful for beneficiaries. And while fraud certainly contributes to the degradation of the program’s integrity, it’s not the only problem – nor is it probably even the biggest problem.

All that said, it’s easy to get lost in philosophical discussions about how to fix Social Security disability – that is, to make it more responsive, less bureaucratically ensnared, more “fair” to recipients, etc.

If you’re in the middle of wrestling with a benefits question – for instance, if you have been unfairly denied benefits or you’re simply confused about how to file efficiently – a qualified North Carolina Social Security disability law firm can give you guidance and answers. Given that your physical and financial health may be on the line, you owe it to yourself and your family to do all you can to secure maximal SSD benefits with minimal effort.

More Web Resources:

Raymond Pompey Fraud Arrest


Is the Social Security disability fund doomed?

 
 

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