The bureaucratization of society becomes a problem when conformity to a standardized process results in thoughtless action. We have all seen scenes from movies, or read stories or books, of the proverbial drone-like monologue, shown in cinematographic hues in monotony, of emotionless workers who robotically stamp papers and call out, “Next!”.
To some extent, preparing and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, requires such conformity. The standard forms themselves (SF 2801 series for CSRS employees; SF 3107 series for FERS employees; and for both CSRS and FERS employees, SF 3112 series) require a foundation of such conformity. And while continuation sheets and attachments are not prohibited (yes, the double-negative in grammar means that it is a positive, and you may do what is proposed), it is nevertheless constraining when one is putting together a Federal Disability Retirement application.
On the other hand, standardization provides for uniformity and ease of information. If everyone just submitted his or her own version of selective information and sent it in to OPM, there would be greater chaos than there already is at the singular agency which processes all Federal Disability Retirement applications.
Thus, conformity to standardized procedures can be a good thing. The problem, however, is when such conformity leads to thoughtlessness — and, in a Federal Disability Retirement process, one should expect to encounter such bureaucratic mindlessness. This, too, must be dealt with; and sometimes the need to use legal authorities as a sword, and not merely as a shield, is the only way of effectuating a required response.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire