Friday, February 13, 2009

Economic Stimulus and People with Special Needs

Many Americans have been following action in Congress on legislation designed to stimulate the economy. CHADD members, donors, and supporters have a variety of views on this legislation, reflecting viewpoints across the nation. CHADD has been actively engaged in this effort. Given the variety of opinions, I wanted to share our thinking and approach.

For over 21 years, CHADD’s volunteer citizen board of directors and volunteer citizen public policy committee have developed the organization’s public policy platform. The platform advocates proactive federal support of the health, education, employment, and related supports for those individuals affected by AD/HD who require such supports. Not every person with a diagnosis of AD/HD requires this level of support. CHADD also advocates for research on the causes and treatments of AD/HD as well as efforts to promote prevention and wellness.

CHADD did not initiate a national government economic stimulus program; the leadership of the United States did. Once Congressional leaders launched such an effort, CHADD joined our sister national associations to advocate for enhanced funding for

• special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
• disability in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Prevention and Wellness Fund;
• electronic medical records promotion to increase the likelihood of coordinated and integrated medical services; and
• increased Medicaid services at a time of significant job loss.

There are many other support and research programs important to people with AD/HD and related disorders contained in the legislation. Coalitions to which CHADD belongs have supported some of these other programs. The four above have been CHADD’s priorities for work.

Promoting jobs, preventing job loss, mechanisms to promote economic recovery and protection—these are big-picture legislative goals. If legislators act, our role is to advocate for supports helpful to those people with AD/HD and related disorders who need such supports.

Click here for details on the legislation.

Let us pray that the efforts undertaken by our leaders work for America.


You can read this blog and others like it at the HealthCentral website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I felt compelled to share my story after reading the post entitled "Economic Stimulus and People with Special Needs"--not for sympathy, but to simply let people know that what happened to me can and does happen.
I have been unemployed since January 24th, 2008, when I was discharged from my position as a flight dispatcher for a major U.S. air carrier, the functions of which I had performed competently for 18 years prior to my discharge.

The reason for my discharge was a positive drug screening for amphetamine. Coincidentally, I have AD/HD and manage the symptoms with Adderall and mountain biking. I informed the medical review officer (MRO) of this during the verification interview. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, if the employee offers a legitimate medical reason for the positive test result during the verification interview the MRO is supposed to verify the result as negative or is supposed to give the employee a chance to present relative evidence. She did neither but instead reported the test result to both the airline and the F.A.A. Absolutely nobody cared that I had been denied my right as a U.S. citizen to the Constitutional guarantee to due process of law.

The airline immediately terminated my employment and denied me unemployment insurance benefits. Since the airline is required by law to report my positive drug test to any future employer, but it is not required to offer any clarification as to it having been a prescribed medication, I have been made unemployable (unless I choose to work somewhere that doesn’t ask or care about my work history). The F.A.A. exercised its “emergency revocation authority” to revoke my Aircraft Dispatchers license. If I ever want to work as a flight dispatcher again, I will have to prove that I have gone through an F.A.A. drug rehabilitation program.

I should have been able to sue the F.A.A., the airline, and the MRO under 42 U.S.C. 1986, however the only attorney who would return my call charged me $1700.00 to read the collective bargaining agreement that I was under, and said that there was nothing that he could do for me. Any action would have had to have been filed within a year, so I’ve pretty much written that off.

I was “disabled” by the F.A.A., but I was denied disability benefits to cover my living expenses while I attempted to regroup and find a way to generate some income. I had to withdraw $55,000.00 from my IRA last year because I could find no other employment (going from making $86,000/yr to $0/yr will really get your attention if it ever happens to you). My tax liability, which I have not the slightest clue as to how I will be able to pay it, is $4700 (federal) and $600 (state).

Since nobody would hire me because they think that I’m a “drug king pin,” I had to create my own job. In the last year since my unfortunate termination, I formed a new age/meditation CD production and book publishing company, and found a distributor to facilitate the distribution of my books and CDs to over 8000 retailers throughout North America.

I will see no income from this until at least July or August. I have been told that there are programs to assist people such as myself, but I have been denied all assistance that I have asked for. My mother seems to think that I should not be living alone, but I believe that because my requests for assistance have been articulate, my need is not believed. I find it hard to believe that anyone is able to benefit from any of the government and non-profit assistance programs that are out there, because it seems that anyone who can endure the application processes—well…I don’t understand how they can because I find that I simply can not even ask for help anymore.

This isn’t a request for help, and I’m not whining—I hope that my sharing will increase awareness of the challenges and difficulties that adults with AD/HD face and hopefully what happened to me can be prevented from happening to anyone else.