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1996 July - August

Consideration of Pain and Other Factors in Rating Disabilities

By Ronald B. Abrams & Meg Bartley

Veterans who are service connected for musculoskeletal disabilities often experience limitation of motion and pain caused by their service-connected conditions. In DeLuca v. Brown, the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals addressed the issue of whether pain and weakness in plaintiff's left arm, caused by a service-connected muscoloskeletal condition, should be considered in addition to the limitation of motion caused the by the left-arm condition.

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Recent Legislation Eliminates Drug Addiction and Alcoholism as a Basis for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits

By Ethel Zelenske & Thomas Yates

The Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, Pub L. No. 104-121, eliminated drug addiction and alcoholism as a basis for disability in both the social security (Title II) and supplemental security income disability programs. This article gives a summary of the legislation and of the Social Security Administration's implementing instructions, as well as practice tips for advocates.

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Kokkonen Redux

What Works, What Doesn't, and Why, When Settling a Case Conditioned on Dismissal

By Brian Lawlor & Elizabeth S. Noling

Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance of America established a relatively bright-line jurisdictional rule for determining whether a party can return to the federal forum to seek enforcement of a settlement agreement obtained on condition of dismissal of the underlying lawsuit. This article revisits the problems posed for litigators by Kokkonen and discusses strategic options to assure that parties are not inadvertently prevented from returning to federal court to vindicate the terms of a settlement agreement.

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Protecting the Safety Net

Food Stamp Benefits and the Waiver Process

By Patricia Collins Murdock & Deborah L. Stein

Unlike the liberal waiver authority granted to the Department of Health and Human Services under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act, the authority of the Department of Agriculture to waive provisions of the Food Stamp Act has strict limitations. This article explains the food stamp waiver process and suggests ways for advocates to influence the process.

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