It is a long, bureaucratic process. Such is the state of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the Office of Personnel Management. The funny thing about stress is that we all recognize that we are the “gatekeepers” of stress, to a great extent. Unless a catastrophic external force is about to immediately impact our lives, the majority of stressful issues invade the essence of our conscious world only when we allow it in, and to that extent, the old adage of “ignorance is bliss” is a simplistic, but profoundly uncomplicated truism.
Federal and Postal workers who are constantly being criticized and bombarded with the stresses of completing their daily positional duties, and now under greater stress because of the economic and political megaphonic voices shouting about the excesses of benefits for Federal and Postal employees; that, combined with the daily criticism that Federal and Postal employees constitute waste, fraud and overcompensation; that they receive excessive benefits, and undeservedly so; and, additionally, when one is medically disabled and in need of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be forced to wait for longer periods of time because of the bureaucratic backlog of Federal Disability Retirement cases at the Office of Personnel Management — this is, indeed, a time of stress, whether through activity or the enormous stress of inactivity.
Waiting is a stressful activity; don’t think that inactivity is merely the art of doing nothing; if it impacts one’s conscious state, it is a stressful time. But patience is a virtue precisely because it is one of the ultimate tests — and the conundrum is this: to deal effectively with the stress of inactivity, it is sometimes best to engage in an alternate form of activity, whether mental or physical, such that the activity will satisfy the emotional needs of the individual.
Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS is a long and arduous process, whether defined by activity or inactivity, and how best to deal with the stress of the latter is often defined by the character of the former.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire