Gradual decline or ascendancy is a concept which is difficult to grasp, precisely because one’s training to render judgements is based upon viewing an object or issue in its entirety. Darwinian evolution is a paradigm based upon minute, incrementally selective alterations, imperceptible in any slice of time, but which slowly and progressively alters the genetic make-up of a species. The question of consciousness and the Cartesian mind-body problem also involves the idea that, beyond the compilation of complexities inherent in the human brain, there is something more in existence than merely the physical in the wholeness of man.
Such concepts are also applicable in the administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement claim submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS. For, on the one hand, the very reason why many Federal or Postal workers remain in the position at their agency is precisely because of incrementalism — in progressive decline, or in hopes of ascendancy.
Often, medical conditions are characterized by a gradual decline, increasingly debilitating, and imperceptibly deteriorating over time. If one views one’s medical condition at the beginning of the year, then again at the end of the same year, the progression may well be noticeable; but on any given day, because of the incremental nature of the disease, one may perceive the condition as merely static.
Conversely, the hope of ascendancy — that “tomorrow brings a new day” — is likely an evolutionary paradigm built into human nature for survival benefits. But the reality is that most people who suffer from chronic and progressively deteriorating medical conditions need to reach a period of rehabilitative rest in order to get better.
Recognition of the subtle but insidious nature of incrementalism is vital to survival. It may be time to consider thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS before it is “too late”; for, while time passes in gradual ascendancy, the deterioration and decline of the human body and mind waits not for a better tomorrow.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire