It is always a challenge to persuade someone that an X exists despite its subjective nature, despite the lack of visual verification. This is a visual-centered world, and while blindness can be compensated to a certain degree by assistive technology, the plain fact is that sight is the first order to ascertaining the existence of X.
“Pain”, as a subjective phenomenon, fails to exist without certain “circumstantial evidence”, as they say in criminal law. The presentation of circumstantial evidence can include a multitude of vector-like variables pointing to acceptable indicia of that which cannot be seen, including: MRI and other diagnostic results showing the basis of subjective pain; consistent clinical encounters where declarations of pain are noted by the doctor; observations noted by third parties describing visual validation of gait dysfunction or facial expressions of discomfort; individual instances of weakness, inability to bend or lift, etc.
There is, as well, the ultimate source of information: The person who is in pain; and further, the logical fallacy of “reputation argumentation” can also be employed — of “I am George Washington and cannot lie” argument, etc. In the end, the utilization of any and all of the above is the only way to move the needle of the gauge which is entitled, “Do I experience pain?” from the left side of the spectrum (where the indicator points to “unbelievable”) to the right side where it clearly states, “Fully Verified”.
Why the U.S. Office of Personnel Management continues to be suspicious of subjective elements such as “pain” is a mystery; for, the law is clear in a Federal Disability Retirement application as to the acceptability of subjective medical evidence, but nevertheless, OPM continues to ride the wild horse of deniability in order to deny Federal Disability Retirement applications.
Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.