Destruction rarely comes as a sudden, tumultuous event; that is why tornadoes and hurricanes are noteworthy news items. Instead, it is the slow rot of incremental deterioration which represents the commonplace thread of destroying lives, sort of like the metaphorical water torture where the progressive drip of each drop of destructive degeneration defines the dilapidation of deferred degradation (have we now engaged in enough alliteration to satisfy one’s amusement?).
Life itself is complex; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must contend with such complexities, and it is often prudent to “separate out” the admixture of various issues in order to arrive at the best decision for each particularized life and circumstances. Like splitting a cluster of atoms, separating a neutron can result in an unexpected implosion if one does not have a clear path and exit strategy, including having full knowledge of the consequences potentially resulting from each action engaged. To the extent possible, one should never begin a bureaucratic process without knowing the resulting impact, whether foreseen or unforeseen.
The decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management by the Federal or Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, can never be taken in a vacuum; the medical condition may have had its inception several years before; the agency may have undergone multiple changes of supervisors, where previous bosses signed off on liberal use of SL, AL & LWOP; where travel was curtailed with a wink-and-a-nod, and a loosely-held network of implicit understandings allowed for continuation in a position despite one’s inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job.
Then, one day, in walks a fresh face, and the other side of humanity suddenly disappears. Complaints are whispered, or perhaps even officially filed as an EEO suit. Stress levels are increased, and suddenly medical conditions which were previously managed and quietly maintained flare up into major impediments and life-events bordering on crisis and turmoil.
One must understand, however, that the progressive and incremental deterioration was always in existence; it is precisely because of the slow, almost imperceptible nature of the rotting which was occurring, that few noticed. Federal Disability Retirement is often the most prudent exit strategy in solving the problem of the incrementalism of havoc wrought by years of aggregated difficulties.
The first step in the process of preparing to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, however, is to sift and separate the relevant from the ancillary, without unintentionally splitting the proverbial atom, and to recognize that the crisis point is less of a singular event, and more likely a flashpoint resulting from years of neglect.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire