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Truncated Id in a merge field

I am writing an s-control which needs to use a merge field to get the Id of the current record so that child records can be retrieved and displayed.  I am using the merge field {!DDEmployee__c.Id} and for some strange reason the Id that is returned is truncated to 15 characters, so I'm getting "a05700000025Clo" instead of "a05700000025CloAAE".  In searching through the discussion board archive I found mention of this truncation problem related to SOA and a solution of setting a useCaseSafeIds option, but I have no idea how that solution relates to my problem, or if it is related.
The last 3 digits of the 18 digit ID are added to overcome potential case sensitivity issues. There is a description of how the last three digits are calculated in the help and training docs here.  Thus, the 'true' Id of the record you're referencing is 15 digits long and should be appropriate to use in your s-control.