In economics, the concept of cumulative growth is important in understanding the progressive and incremental increase, no matter how minimal in the short term, over decades and centuries upon an individual’s and the greater society’s wealth accumulation. It is based upon the theoretical construct of cumulative growth that fortunes are created and retirement wealth is amassed.
As a hypothetical parallelism, what consequence would such incremental but cumulative impact have upon one’s health and well-being? If repetitive physical stress of a seemingly insignificant quantity were to impact a wrist, a knee, a shoulder, etc., would such de minimis physical pressure acquire a different result years and decades down the road?
Is it not tantamount to radioactive exposure, where the human tissue or organ can have effective resistance to contained amounts, but over time, can begin to deteriorate and cause tumors and mutated cells resulting in cancer? Or like the prisoner who digs his way out of prison with a pen knife — one scrape at a time until a hole large enough to accommodate one’s head and body is created over months and years? Or of stresses resulting in anxiety and panic attacks; perhaps at first a twinge of needle pricks, then after months and years, an overwhelming inability to breathe properly, until reactions of the need to take sudden flight, or paralysis of muscle movements and an inability to speak or move?
For Federal and Postal employees who have had a long and productive career with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service, the mystery of cumulative impact upon one’s health, through repetitive, incremental, and insidious influences withstood over time, often results in self-denial and a sense of failure. But there is a limit as to what the human body and psyche can take on.
Federal Disability Retirement benefits are simply an employment component offered to all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, filed ultimately with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and is merely an intelligent recognition by the Federal Government that the limitations of human invincibility can be addressed by allowing for a change of careers, by providing for a foundational security to one’s livelihood. Federal Disability Retirement — a viable option in recognition of the age-old concept of cumulative impact, both in economics and in the complex world we occupy.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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