Dealing Constructively With a Setback In Your SSD Case
Few Social Security Disability (SSD) cases lack complications. From outright claim denials to lengthy appeals, setbacks are part and parcel of the process. Unfortunately, they cause constant stress, which can only further harm your already compromised health. The better you can handle inevitable setbacks, the better outcomes you’ll enjoy, both for your legal case and your personal health.
A shocking 65 percent of SSD claims face initial denial. Many more people struggle to obtain the evidence they need to win appeals. With such tough odds, the saying “Expect the worst and hope for the best” definitely applies.
Focus on the Big Picture
An immediate victory would be amazing, but that’s simply not how it works for many people. With SSD applications, it’s all about persistence. You stand a strong chance of success if you work diligently with your attorney, but you can kiss benefits goodbye if you throw in the towel at this early stage.
Emphasize Next Steps
Stop worrying about your previous inability to secure SSD benefits; shift your focus to the road ahead. Meet with your attorney to discuss a viable backup plan. Write a brief to-do list based on that plan, and tackle at least one task each day. If nothing else, prompt action will prevent you from ruminating on your latest SSD failure.
Determine a Plan B
You’re dead set on securing SSD benefits, but what if that doesn’t happen? You’ll feel far more confident if you plan for the worst case scenario. Outline the likely impacts of repeated claim denials, and draft a step-by-step plan for how you’ll get by even if you never achieve the benefits you deserve.
If you face an unexpected setback in your Social Security Disability case, look to Smith, Wallis and Scott for advice. Our respected law firm can quickly get your case back on track. Call us at (770) 214-2500.
5 Must-Read Books About Overcoming Adversity to Inspire Your SSD Benefits Journey
Life with a disability involves endless challenges. In addition to the physical and mental struggles of chronic health issues, you may face numerous obstacles in your quest for disability benefits. As you embark on the Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits journey, take solace in these excellent reads:
- Supernormal: The Untold Story of Adversity and Resilience
Although Meg Jay’s “Supernormal” primarily addresses victims of childhood adversity, it’s a valuable resource for those currently dealing with difficult circumstances. The book shares insights from several people who have overcome great odds to lead rewarding lives.
- The Burgundy Journey: Using Hope, Humor & Faith to Conquer Adversity
Authored by a woman who endured extensive physical suffering, “The Burgundy Journey” demonstrates how anybody can defeat the odds by maintaining faith and a positive outlook.
- The Power of Now
Eckhardt Tolle’s classic manifesto highlights living fully in the present as the best path to enlightenment. The book has changed millions of lives and just might transform yours.
- Love Your Life: O’s Handbook for Your Best Today — And Tomorrow
This collection from O Magazine features musings from a variety of award-winning writers. Simple guides offer actionable advice for dealing with conflict.
- Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame to Disability Pride
In “Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars,” Institute on Disability Culture founder Steven E. Brown outlines his inspiring journey from pain and shame to a vibrant, rewarding life. After you’ve completed this inspiring read, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities and capable of advocating for yourself.
The aforementioned books are excellent resources to consult as you seek SSD benefits. For the legal insight into your Georgia Social Security Disability case, consult Smith, Wallis and Scott. Get in touch right now at (770) 214-2500.
Delegating Chores Effectively With an Injured Back
From shoveling the driveway to folding laundry, you never realized the important role your back played in household chores until now. Unfortunately, as you recover from a debilitating back injury, you’ll likely find it exceedingly difficult to keep up with household obligations. Effective delegation can ensure that you contribute to the household without experiencing undue pain.
Perform Mental Chores
From budgeting to taxes and even sorting through junk mail, you’re still probably capable of completing a variety of essential tasks. As you divvy up these chores with your partner, children and household assistants, allow somebody else to do the heavy lifting. You can contribute by tackling paperwork and other low-impact activities.
Learn How to Perform Chores Properly
Select chores may still be possible if you’ve suffered a mild to moderate back injury. Avoid additional pain by performing tasks correctly. For vacuuming, raking and mopping, this means turning your trunk with your feet planted, rather than extending your arms while bending at the waist.
Invest in Outside Services
Caregivers suffer a huge burden; in addition to their usual responsibilities, they must provide round-the-clock care and take on a greater share of the housework. Landscaping or cleaning services could make their lives far easier, removing at least one item from their ever-increasing to-do list. If you can’t afford professional services, hire a local teenager to mow the lawn or boost your kids’ allowance in exchange for a little extra help around the house.
Don’t Trust Reduced Pain
The pain from your injury may ease up, but that’s doesn’t mean you’re ready for tough physical labor. Don’t trust suddenly disappearing pain; visit your physical therapist or physician to confirm that you’re ready for heavy lifting or other physically demanding jobs.
As you delegate chores to members of your household, delegate the legal aspects of your disability case to Smith, Wallis and Scott. We’re standing by to discuss your options. Call us at (770) 214-2500.
Dr. John Sarno: Reflections on Chronic Workplace-Related Back Injuries
An influential, yet controversial figure, Dr. John Sarno hypothesized a psychosomatic condition known as tension myositis syndrome. Also referred to as tension myoneural syndrome (TMS), the condition characterizes a variety of nerve issues that lack an obvious physical trigger, including, most notably, chronic back pain. His research provides an alternate perspective for those suffering chronic pain months, even years after a workplace injury.
Is Back Pain Physical or Mental?
In “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection,” Dr. Sarno claims that pain not relieved by typical medical treatments can be blamed on repressed emotional problems. He doesn’t suggest the pain is inside your head; he argues that it’s real and it results from an intense battle within your mind. It’s a controversial theory, but his allegedly successful treatment of over ten thousand patients indicates that psychosomatic issues may indeed play a role in ongoing back pain.
The Link Between TMS and Workplace Injuries
Your workplace accident may be to blame for initial back pain, but per the TMS hypothesis, post-traumatic issues could be at fault for at least some ongoing symptoms; Dr. Sarno believes psychological struggles can manifest as physical pain. He argues that your pain will continue until you unearth and deal with repressed emotions.
Blogger Paul Ingraham offers a more in depth review of Dr. Sarno’s work in this series of posts. This obituary in the New York Times offers another valuable perspective. Notably, the Times writes: “Some of [Sarno’s] ideas, like his assertion that there is no correlation between chronic back pain and herniated discs, have been validated by research published in The New England Journal of Medicine.”
Healing the Body With the Mind
Irrespective of what you think about the TMS hypothesis, workplace victims can take the following away from Dr. John Sarno’s books: Mental attitude can have a huge impact on physical recovery. Although your current pain likely originated with a legitimate injury, it might now be treatable. If you have a clean bill of health but lingering pain several months after your accident, it may be time to explore what mental triggers could be impeding your success.
Regardless of the nature of your workplace injury, it is imperative that you seek counsel from a lawyer you trust. Look to the team at Smith, Wallis and Scott for exceptional representation. We’re available for a private, confidential consultation at (770) 214-2500.
Taking Care of Your Back After a Workplace Accident
A shocking 80 percent of Americans experiences back pain at some point in their lives. While many witness gradual onset with age, others suffer acute pain due to workplace accidents. Quick recovery hinges on prompt medical attention and proper care at home.
Eager to eradicate back pain? This is obviously not a medical blog. And you should never change your exercise or dietary regimen before speaking with your doctor—but you might find these insights useful:
Rethinking Bed Rest?
Medical experts once prescribed rest as a cure-all for back problems, but recent research suggests that prolonged rest could hurt more than it helps. Today, authorities generally recommend gently resuming physical activity soon after an accident. A simple stroll every day can make a world of difference, as can recovery-oriented yoga classes.
Take Regular Breaks
Instead of committing to long, uninterrupted periods of bed rest, talk to your doctor/therapist about taking regular breaks to avoid overloading your back. Breaks may prove necessary for both physical and sedentary activities. For example, instead of sitting at your desk all afternoon, stand up and move around at least once every half hour.
Be Diligent About Physical Therapy
Merely visiting your physical therapist on occasion is not good enough; honor all appointments and complete any recommended exercises. Be honest with your physical therapist about your routine and current pain. Avoid underplaying or exaggerating what’s happening with you.
Don’t Expect an Immediate Recovery
Moderate your expectations. Anticipate weeks, possibly even months of difficulty following your back injury. Don’t get frustrated if your back doesn’t heal as quickly as you initially hoped. If you push recovery and try to return to your regular routine before you’re ready, you could suffer even worse injuries.
As you focus on recovery, let Smith, Wallis and Scott handle the legal aspects of your workers’ compensation ordeal. Call us at (770) 214-2500 to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation.
Taking Care Of Somebody Who’s Been Concussed in a Car Accident: Part 2
A mild form of traumatic brain injury, concussions lead to intense pain, sensitivity and a whole host of other symptoms. Although these side effects typically disappear after a few days, some sufferers take weeks, even months to recover. Detailed below are a few of the best ways you can encourage prompt recovery for a loved one concussed in a car accident:
From colds to concussion, rest is nearly always the best solution. Your loved one may feel tempted to tough it out and get back to regular life, but this could cause further injury, followed by an even longer recovery period. Be the voice of reason during this difficult time, and encourage as much rest as possible—assuming that’s what a qualified physician suggests, of course. You can help by volunteering to take care of your loved one’s kids, completing chores or cooking meals. If you want to hang out, choose relaxing at-home activities instead of hitting up local bars or clubs.
Be Your Loved One’s New Memory
Remembering details can be all but impossible in the aftermath of a concussion. Your loved one may struggle to recall dates for medical appointments or other essentials. Implement an easy-to-use system for recording notes and providing deadline reminders. Google Calendar and other apps can work wonders, but you may have to navigate the app on your own, as concussion victims often find mobile devices difficult to use.
Help With Transportation
It could be some time before your loved one can resume driving, biking or even riding the bus safely. Ideally, this person will rest at home as much as possible, but your help can ensure easy access to medical services and other necessities. If you lack time for actual car rides, arrange for grocery delivery or home health care.
Offer Emotional Support
Sometimes, concussion victims just need a shoulder to cry on. Recovery can be intensely painful, but also frustratingly boring. Be prepared to listen as your beloved concussion sufferer shares the worst aspects of his or her experience. Your patience will not be forgotten. Seek additional support from Smith, Wallis, and Scott, LLP. Call us today at (770) 214-2500. We can help your loved one obtain fair, complete compensation for damages related to the car accident.
Taking Care Of Somebody Who’s Been Concussed in a Car Accident: Part 1
Concussions are currently a major point of alarm for athletes, their coaches and their parents. This concern may be warranted, but athletic injuries are far from the only source of concussions. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that car accidents cause 14.3 percent of traumatic brain injuries.
The recovery process can be long and difficult for those concussed in car accidents. Caretakers play a critical role in diagnosis, symptom management and improving general of quality of life. In this series, we’ll explore steps you can take to support a loved one dealing with a car crash induced concussion.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
With concussions—as with most injuries—quick diagnosis is always better. The car accident alone should obviously indicate possible trouble. Look for the following common symptoms:
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Failure to remember the event that led to the concussion
Victims may not exhibit memory or concentration problems until several days have passed. With time, light sensitivity, sleep disturbances or personality changes may also emerge. Watch vigilantly for signs of second-impact syndrome, in which an additional concussion causes rapid swelling and symptoms mimicking the initial concussion—but worse. If you suspect a second concussion, get your loved one to the emergency room ASAP.
Seek prompt medical attention as soon as you note the symptoms outlined above. Additional resources for Atlanta area concussion victims and their caregivers include:
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
- Brain Injury Association of Georgia
- Emory Support Group
- Mild Brain Injury Support
Have you or a loved one suffered a concussion due to a negligence-based car accident? The team at Smith, Wallis, and Scott can help you recover the damages you deserve. Call us to schedule a consultation.
3 Inspiring and Useful Podcasts For Caregivers of the Disabled
The Caregiver Action Network reports that 29 percent of the United States population offers an average twenty hours per week of unpaid care for a sick or disabled individual.
Although selfless and inspiring, caregiving can be an exhausting, thankless job. Without support, caregivers may fall into depression or even become susceptible to physical ailments of their own. The following podcasts provide much-needed insight, inspiration and stress relief:
Broadcast in San Antonio every week, this excellent caregiving podcast is also available online. The show’s impressive lineup includes acclaimed gerontologist Carol Zernial, broadcaster Ron Aaron and Dr. James Huysman. Top issues discussed on the show include:
- Advanced care planning
- Caregiving and human rights
- Aging research
- Faith and spirituality in caregiving
Your Caregiving Journey
Hosted by the founder of Caregiving.com, this podcast explores several practical topics, such as managing money and setting realistic expectations for recovery. The show also offers a chat room, where listeners can share experiences and advice with one another.
Life Is a Sacred Journey
In Blog Talk Radio’s Life is a Sacred Journey, host Michael Pope explores the aging process and the caregiving experience from a variety of angles. The show features several knowledgeable guests, including MemoryWell co-founder Jay Newton-Small, caregiving advocate Anthony Cirillo and family therapist Margaret Cullen, among others.
NPR Caregiving Resources
NPR lacks a specific podcast targeted at caregivers, but this link leads to an extensive collection of previous stories that you may find relatable. Stories explore training for caregivers, platitudes about ‘everything happening for a reason’ and the effect of memory loss on loved ones.
In addition to listening to the podcasts above, consider turning to Smith, Wallis, and Scott for insight into the legal aspects of caregiving. Call us at (770) 214-2500 to schedule a consultation.
Crash Course on Living Well and Getting What You Need With a Slimmed-Down Budget: Part 2
You’ve determined your budget, your goals and how much they cost. Now, the real fun begins: saving! This thought may strike up images of an austere lifestyle, but with a little planning, you can achieve a nice balance between frugal and enjoyable. Keep reading to find creative solutions for living a rewarding life on a limited income:
Find Affordable Substitutes
Platitudes about skipping Starbucks and drinking coffee at home may feel cliche, but they’re worth repeating. You can achieve the same satisfaction from many of your favorite endeavors for a whole lot less. For example, if you can’t afford a fancy vacation, head out on a day trip or explore an unvisited park in your hometown. Instead of buying new DVDs, check them out from the library for free. Little by little, you’ll save for the things in life that really matter.
Find Sources of ‘Unearned’ Income
Cutting back may not prove as necessary as assumed; your desire to maintain disability benefits may prevent you from taking on gainful employment, but with Social Security Disability (SSDI), there’s no limit on unearned income. This category refers to anything arising from assets, benefits, or cash from loved ones. Effective asset management could let you tap pretty significant income while still maintaining your eligibility for SSDI benefits.
Take Advantage of Scholarship and Disability Programs
From educational institutions to local businesses, many organizations strive to lighten your financial burden. If your chief goal is to finish college, explore scholarships targeted at aspiring students with physical or cognitive disabilities. Even discounts on bus fare can help; Atlanta’s transit system allows disabled riders to pay just $1.00, compared to $2.50 for regular fare. That little bit can add up quickly, especially if you ditch your car and rely on public transit instead.
A knowledgeable SSDI or worker’s compensation lawyer can help you secure the benefits you need to get by as you recover from your injury. Contact Smith, Wallis, and Scott today to learn more.
Living Well and Getting What You Need With a Slimmed-Down Budget [for Social Security Disability Claimants]
A reduced disposable income may prevent you from previous pursuits, but with careful budgeting and a better assessment of your spending, you can live a full and rewarding life on a minimal income. In a two-part series, we’ll explore life on a slimmed-down budget.
Before you can live your best life on a slimmed-down budget, you need to know just how slim it is—and where you have room to cut back.
Budgeting doesn’t come naturally for most of us. In a 2015 Bankrate.com survey, 82 percent of Americans claimed to keep a budget—but most of their methods were suspect. Mental budgets won’t cut it, nor will scrawling numbers on an old receipt. Thankfully, a variety of smartphone apps and online budgeting systems make things easier to manage. For some, however, pencil and paper suffice.
Begin by taking stock of all fixed income and expenditures. These could include Social Security benefits, income from a part-time job, rent, or student loan payments.
Finally, estimate variable costs. These include food, entertainment and transportation. After you’ve constructed your initial budget, continue tracking these expenses to determine the accuracy of your original estimates.
Choose Goals and Assign Costs
Outline your financial goals and your personal goals, and determine where they overlap. Highlight your top aspirations and estimate their cost. For example, a frugal beach vacation might cost you $1,000 for lodging, flight and food. Now that you’ve established your budget, you can determine how many months it will take to save up for this goal while maintaining your current income.
Determining How You Want to Spend Your Budget: Spending on Things or Experiences?
Ample research indicates that people derive far more satisfaction when they spend their money on experiences, rather than on material objects. You may have little cash available for either, but some of life’s most exciting experiences are surprisingly affordable. When tempted to splurge on items you previously would have deemed essential, think carefully: do you actually need these material goods? How long will you enjoy them, or how soon will they collect dust in the closet?
No matter the scope of your goals, you can benefit from high-quality and cost-effective legal representation—especially if you’re dealing with SSI or SSDI claims. Look to Smith, Wallis, and Scott for exceptional legal counsel.