04
Jun
09

Personal Letter to My State Legislators

June 4, 2009government

Personal Letter to My State Legislators

Although I have signed various petitions, I have never written a letter to my state legislators. I don’t think I ever understood clearly about the functions of senators & congressmen who have offices in Washington and those who have offices at the state capitol.

Now I’m starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The legislators who have offices in Washington, DC can help you with problems related to federal programs & organizations. The ones whose offices are at the state capitol can help you with state programs & organizations. Since much of my difficulties have arisen because of the school employees retirement system (SERS) which is a state retirement system, I need to write to the state legislators instead of the federal legislators.

Here is the letter I sent regarding my personal experiences with SERS. I also sent a letter making suggestions which will appear on my next post.

computer, woman4—————————–

Dear State Legislator,

I sent you an email a few days ago regarding changes which I believe need to be made regarding the state retirement systems. This email includes my personal experiences with SERS which led to me write to you in the first place.

My doctors tell me that I have a closed head injury including brain stem dysfunction, problems with circulation to my brain, a type of migraine which causes stroke-like symptoms, tremor, problems with walking and balance, depression and anxiety and it all started in July of 2004. That’s when I was rear-ended by a truck and my car was totaled. I went to Urgent Care and was told there was nothing broken and my problems were most likely due to whiplash. I continued to be in a lot of pain, have headaches, nausea, memory problems, etc. which continued to get worse.

To make matters worse, I had just lost my job due to millions in school budget cuts and I needed to find work. Still thinking that my problems were just soft tissue damage and that I would be as good as new with a little help, I went to a chiropractor who assured me he could help me with my pain. Never did he tell me of the risk of stroke associated with neck adjustment, or the symptoms of stroke. I faithfully received treatment from him.

Unfortunately, my problems then got worse – I couldn’t talk without stuttering, I had a hard time following conversations and remembering what I had said, I had difficulty walking, could barely sit up for 15 minutes at a time; walking 15 feet from my couch to the kitchen and back wore me out.

I went to see some real doctors and a couple of them thought I had a brain injury from the car accident, as well as migraine, torn rotator cuff, cervical and sacro-lumbar sprain. I tried Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapies so that I could hurry up, get better and get on with finding a job. Though I qualified for reduced medical costs, these costs quickly became a few thousand dollars.

I found a lawyer who was experienced with brain injury cases. While the judgment was in my favor, the insurance company lawyers worked hard to minimize my symptoms and the award was not enough to cover legal expenses; I received nothing and was left with trying to pay off about $130,000 worth of medical expenses.

My experience with SERS (State Employees Retirement System) has been the same as the lawsuit in that they have bullied me and worked tirelessly to pay me as little as possible.

To support myself right after the accident, I went through my savings, and borrowed against some annuities I owned. I was told I did not qualify for disability pension through Social security because my money was being paid into the state retirement systems for about 15 years as mandated by state law.

Finally in April 2005, I learned that I might be able to apply for disability benefits with SERS since I was still paying into SERS at the time of my accident.  I turned in my application by June 2005. Over the next 4 months, they sent me to 3 doctors whom they hired to examine me.

In March 2006 they sent me a letter denying me disability pay, saying there was nothing wrong with me.  I appealed their decision, by submitting additional findings from my doctors. They were not very prompt in getting me an answer.

But, eight months later, at the end of Oct 2006, I received a letter from them saying..oops, I am disabled but not from the accident so they didn’t have to pay me any back pay because according to them the accident didn’t cause my problems. For some reason their board determined I had first become incapacitated on Sept 1, 2006.  When I called them asking about this, they told me that this was their decision and there was nothing I could do about it. My advocate and I called numerous bar associations trying to find a lawyer who dealt with SERS cases on a contingency basis, but could find none.

(Click here to read more)

© Angela Cramer, 2008-2009

Clipart is the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008-2009 www.clipart.com

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