Don’t Handle Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Appeal This Way…

July 17, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you have been struggling and frustrated with the North Carolina Social Security Disability appeals process, you are not alone.

Some people take rejection, setbacks, and bureaucracy very personally. Indeed, a 49-year-old man in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Mr. Louis Jerome Smith, got so frustrated and fed up with the kinks in his claim that he threatened to assault and murder employees of the Social Security Administration. Unsurprisingly, he was arrested and indicted. In February, he pled guilty to three counts in US District Court. But thanks to help from the office of his local Senator, Thad Cochran, Mr. Smith may soon get a new disability hearing.

According to the Hattiesburg American, a local paper in Mississippi, the 49-year-old had been struggling with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The night before his last scheduled hearing before Judge Lanier Williams, police arrested Smith because he made threats against personnel.

The Hattiesburg American article had some jaw-dropping quotes about the affair: “Smith said his troubles with the Social Security Administration have been going on for some time. ‘I’ve been applying for Social Security ever since I was – gosh, in my 20s… I’ve just had a hard time struggling with working in society.’ Smith has been diagnosed with several disorders at different times by different doctors, including paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and various personality disorders. He said he has had more than 150 jobs in his life.”

The Hattiesburg American article also said that Smith alleged that he was physically and sexually assaulted in prison. He also claimed that he did not intend to threaten SSA personnel – he was actually making veiled suicidal threats, instead! “I didn’t mean like I was going to do anything…I never had any intention to do anything to Social Security.”

If you are just casually reading this article or blog post, you might shrug off Smith’s actions as bizarre, inspired by lunacy and essentially irrelevant to “real” cases of frustration with the North Carolina Social Security Disability application benefits. After all, the article seems to suggest that Smith has serious mental problems as well as a history of clashing with authority figures.

But the SSD and SSI system can often lead to fraught and frustrating decisions and can challenge the tempers of even calm people who have never done a thing wrong in their lives.

One root cause of this frustration is lack of knowledge. When your life is uncertain — when you are not sure whether you will get significant benefits or not — you face challenges planning your life appropriately. In some ways, not knowing is worse than getting a negative decision. If your claim is denied, then so be it. You figure out some other way to manage your finances, and you move on. But when you are in a holding pattern – in limbo – you can literally find yourself paralyzed with inaction.

Fortunately, an experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm can explain your rights, options, and possible strategic paths to take.

More Web Resources:

Mr. Louis Jerome Smith’s assault case

Hattiesburg, Mississippi