Relevance within the context of a particular subject can branch out into parallel areas of substantive issues; thus, it may be “relevant” that in Set-X, subset a,b,c…w be included in the discussion of the primary issue. But relevance may not be the proper criteria to apply; rather, it may be important to consider the “intended audience” in an effort to tailor, streamline, and make succinct that which can become potentially unwieldy.
In a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the compilation of the evidence needed in order to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Federal or Postal employee is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement, will necessarily involve the selective customization of the evidence to be presented.
One can argue, in compiling a case, that everything is “relevant” — from one’s history of a personal nature (which then resulted in one’s education, one’s background, how one came to become a Federal employee, etc.), to the historical genesis of one’s agency (to the extent that the Federal Disability Retirement applicant’s involvement and intersection with the agency came into being); and many other “relevant” facts.
By such logical connections, one can argue that every event which occurs around the world has some logically relevant connection to every Federal Disability Retirement application. Obviously, such an approach would be absurd, and ultimately untenable.
How to temper the inclusion of all that is “relevant”?
Always keep in mind the intended audience of one’s submission. Then, ask yourself the questions: What is the intended audience seeking? Will this information help or obfuscate the main point of my application? Will the intended audience have the time to read through this corollary issue? And many other similar questions.
Questions are asked not only to seek unknown answers; they are also pointedly applied in order to self-correct the potential pitfalls which the questioner may be advocating.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire