DB Disability Law Ledger™ – June 2011
Crohn’s Disease, A Disabling Medical Condition
In our practice, we have seen many clients suffering from Crohn’s disease. For some, Crohn’s Disease can be quite debilitating and can interfere with daily living including holding down a steady job. Unfortunately, Crohn’s Disease is yet another condition that disability insurance carriers often try to disprove because the precise cause of Crohn’s Disease still is unknown, and because with the right medical treatment, clients may have long periods of remission.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ultimately it inflames the lining of the digestive tract. The symptoms include extreme diarrhea, severe stomach pain, and can sometimes lead to malnutrition. In the worst case scenario, Crohn’s Disease can be life threatening.
The medical community stresses that diet affects the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. As for the cause, research suggests that heredity plays a large part as does your own immune system.
And although, as with many other debilitating conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and even LUPUS, for example, Crohn’s Disease can cause many people to suffer severe pain and anguish and completely alter their lives, many insurance carriers still will challenge treating physicians and medical documentation. Perhaps that’s because they can. Many carriers would rather stall for time than to pay disability benefits, regardless of whether those benefits are well deserved.
Other Complications . . .
If not treated properly, Crohn’s Disease can lead to other serious medical conditions such as ulcers, anal fissures, and/or bowel obstruction.
If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and it has developed into a disability, make sure you get the proper medical treatment, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and seek the advice of a knowledgeable disability attorney.
Federal Employees Call On VP Biden To Help Protect Their Pensions
Government employees’ unions joined forces to ask for the Vice President’s help in protecting their pensions. Given the recent calls among some legislators to cut government spending, some have suggested requiring federal employees to contribute more to their pensions. Specifically, unions objected to a proposal that would call for a five percent increase.
Unions regard this increase in contributions as a payroll tax increase. And in their letter to Vice President Biden, they argue that such an increase would violate the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on those earning under a quarter million dollars a year.
The Unions maintain that a two-year pay freeze already has been imposed upon their ranks.
More Pain At USPS
In May, nearly 2500 USPS employees received reduction-in-forces notices (RIF), many of whom will be terminated, demoted or transferred by the end of this summer.
Due to the restructuring, there will be vacancies in some departments. And, those USPS employees who have been terminated may apply for positions. However, should they apply, the positions either will be lateral or as much as three levels below their pay grades at separation.
If USPS employees who have been terminated do not apply for and get new positions, they will be separated from service by September 9, 2011.
LEGISLATIVE NEWS . . .
Federal Workers’ Union Calls On Senator McCaskill To Protect Critical Services, Health & Retirement Programs
Washington, D.C. . . . Hundreds of Missourians rallied today in front of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) office urging her to stand up for federal workers and to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as Congress works to balance the budget. During the rally, Senator McCaskill met with representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees, Missouri Jobs with Justice, Paraquad, Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform, Missouri Budget Project, GRO and Pro-Vote.
AFGE asked the Senator to oppose cuts to federal pensions, extending the federal pay freeze and any effort to undercut public services by cutting federal jobs across the board.
“It’s time to focus on creating good jobs and making the rich and big corporations pay a fair share. That’s the way to generate revenue,” stated AFGE National Vice President Mike Kelly. “Undermining retirement security by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and slashing the federal work force is not the answer. Vital federal services such as food and water safety, mine inspection, border patrol and caring for our veterans keep families and communities safe and secure. The federal government budget should not be balanced on the backs of the working class.”
The general public was asked to sign a petition at the rally to Missouri Senators, which read, “We urge you to stand strong and protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and the federal workers who deliver our essential services. A cut to our federal budget and workforce is a cut to Missouri.
We have sacrificed enough. Now, we urge you to raise revenues. It’s time for the rich and big corporations to pay their fair share. We do not accept that there have to be spending caps, cuts to essential services or “balanced budget” amendments.”
Steve Hollis, of AFGE Local 3354, represented the union in the meeting with Senator McCaskill. “We want to make it clear to all of our elected leaders that federal employees did not cause the deficit. A stable, well-trained work force is needed to do the work of government. Missouri’s farmers and rural communities depend on federal employees to deliver adequately funded Rural Development and Farm Loan programs. Senior citizens depend upon a Social Security Administration that is fully staffed to get the correct amount to them on-time. Our wounded and sick veterans depend upon the highly dedicated Veterans Administration Hospital staff to take care of them. Federal employees put their lives on the line guarding and protecting our borders, airports and prisons,” explained Hollis. “There are more than 54,000 federal workers in Missouri. Federal workers already are under a pay freeze. Cuts to our pensions, cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid hurt us even more and is the wrong economic policy to pursue. We did not cause the economic problems of this country. Raising revenues is the cure. Cutting the federal work force is not.”
AFGE was joined by members from Missouri Jobs with Justice, Missouri Health Care for All, Missouri Budget Project, GRO, Missouri Pro-Vote, Paraquad, Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform and Metropolitan Congregations United.