Defn of disability to be expanded to episodic impairments

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 9/18/2008 11:26 AM (GMT -6)   
In the news today:

House approves bill expanding protections for people with disabilities.

The New York Times (9/18, A21, Pear) reports, "Congress gave final approval on Wednesday to a major civil rights bill, expanding protections for people with disabilities and overturning several recent Supreme Court decisions." The House of Representatives voice vote "clears the bill for President Bush," who indicated that he would sign it. The legislation "expands the definition of disability and makes it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It explicitly rejects the strict standards used by the Supreme Court to determine who is disabled." It also "declares that the court went wrong by 'eliminating protection for many individuals whom Congress intended to protect' under" the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lawmakers claimed "that people with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments had been improperly denied protection because their conditions could be controlled by medications or other measures." Therefore, "in deciding whether a person is disabled, the bill says, courts should not consider the effects of 'mitigating measures' like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and artificial limbs." Furthermore, "it says, 'an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.'"

        The AP (9/18, Abrams) adds, "The bill directs the courts toward a more generous application of the ADA's definition of disability, making it clear that Congress intended the ADA's coverage to be broad and to cover anyone facing discrimination because of a disability." Echoing that sentiment, CQ (9/18, Wayne, Demirjian) quotes House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) as saying, "Tens of millions of Americans will enjoy even fuller rights -- the rights we intended for them when we passed the first ADA. ... Over the last 18 years the court has chipped away at that promise. We said we wanted broad coverage for people with disabilities and for people regarded as disabled."

49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering.
Asacol/5ASA maintenance for 20+ years, usually 3 pills 2x day. 
Currently tapering OFF prednisone from lingering flare;
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Tested gluten intolerant and started gluten-free, soy-free, etc. diet which resolved flare. Also Replete probiotic, DGL (licorice root, slippery elm), Permeability Factors. Slow-release iron and B-12 shots for severe anemia.
Sept: Mild case of thrush in throat, prescribed antifungal mouthwash.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 327
   Posted 9/18/2008 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, this seems to be fabulous news! Thanks for posting.
40 years old and female
Dx ulcerative proctitis, 3-5 cm, June 2008 (after 5 weeks of blood and mucous) and still flaring
UNTIL 9/4/08: Canasa 1000 mg suppositories nightly, 25 mg hydrocortisone suppositories in a.m.
CURRENTLY: Proctofoam at bedtime
Effexor 37.5, Clonazepam .5 mg (or more) and Trazodone 50 mg for sleep
2.5 mg methimazole for thyroid
Recently started probiotic (Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra) and acupuncture
Osteopenia (and I haven't even taken steroids!)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 9/18/2008 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   
What does this mean oh wise law-smart person?
Sean - 31
Prednisone again for another 12 days, 25mg
UC Since April 2006, diagnosed 2007 (Flex-Sig)
4 x Liada (4 am)
175mg Azathioprine
2 x Imodium (on days where I have to leave the house)
Remicade infusion starting
1 x 1000mg Fish Oil Cap
Activia yogurt and SCD-like foods to see if I can make a change. Just got in my 4 day trial of Haldi.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 96
   Posted 10/8/2008 11:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Peety: Could you email me the procedure for applying for disability with UC? Thanks. BTC

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 10/9/2008 7:52 AM (GMT -6)   
BTC, this legislation relates to freedom of access and non-discrimination in employment for people with recognized disabilities. It would mean that if you can perform the job with reasonable accommodations (eg., freedom to leave your work space and visit the bathroom when needed), you could not be denied the job or fired because of your disability.
A common misconception is that if you're covered under the ADA act, you have to be hired or can't be fired or the employer has to do whatever is necessary to enable you to do the job. A blind person, for instance, would not be able to get a job that required driving a car and then demand a driver to transport them (although if they could perform the job duties using public transportation, they would be protected.) It also doesn't protect people from being terminated because of excessive absences.
When you speak of applying, I think you're speaking of Social Security Disability. This is a completely separate process, which provides benefits to people whose disabilities prevent them from working. In order to initiate that process, contact your local Social Security office or go to and click on the disability link.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 10/9/2008 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Right, this is about reasonable accomodations. Well said, Judy.
Sorry, I don't know how to apply for SS disability. If you can't find out on the government internet sites, your Congressional office might be able to help you.
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering.
Asacol/5ASA 2400 mg maintenance for 20+ years; use prednisone & Rowasa for flares. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Tested gluten intolerant and started gluten-free, soy, dairy-free diet. Replete probiotic. 
Achieved remission for the first time in many, many years!? 
Seemed so, but colonoscopy Oct. 6 proved not so, heavy inflammation in ascending colon & now recovering from irritation scope caused. Will be using Rowasa again. But I AM better.

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