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

 
 

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