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What is a lifestyle effect?
A lifestyle effect is a disadvantage, resulting from an accepted condition that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a role that is normal for a veteran of the same age without the accepted condition. GARP rates four components of a veteran's life that may be affected by war-caused incapacity:
- Personal relationships,
- Recreational and community activities, and
- Employment and domestic activities. More →
Personal relationships refer to the veteran's ability to take part in and maintain customary social, sexual and interpersonal relationships. GARP attempts to establish how the physical and psychological effects of accepted conditions affect these relationships.
Mobility refers to the veteran's ability to move about effectively in carrying out the ordinary activities of life. GARP measures the effects of the accepted conditions on the veteran's mobility. It allows for the veteran's ability to use available forms of transport. Both physical and psychological impediments to mobility are taken into account when determining a mobility rating.
Recreational and community activities
Recreational and community activities refer to the veteran's ability to take part in any activities of the veteran's choosing. When determining a rating the limitation placed by the accepted condition on the veteran's normal recreational and community activities is measured. The need to modify recreational activities or seek alternatives is taken into account.
Employment and domestic activities
Employment activities refers to the veteran's ability to work and domestic activities refers to the veteran's ability to sustain effective routines in a domestic environment The effects of the accepted conditions on the veteran's ability to work and/or perform domestic activity is taken into account.
Assessment of lifestyle effects
Lifestyle effects are used to calculate an overall lifestyle rating. The rating is expressed as a number on a scale from zero to seven. A zero rating indicates that the veteran's lifestyle is only negligibly affected by the accepted condition. A rating of seven indicate that the effect of the accepted conditions on a veteran's lifestyle is of the utmost severity.
Overall lifestyle rating
Veterans can use three optional methods to have their lifestyle effects rated:
- self assessing whereby the veteran completes a Lifestyle Rating Self Assessment Form,
- completing a [glossary:lifestyle questionnaire:], or
- choosing not to self assess, whereby a decision maker will make a decision based on the level of [glossary:medical impairment:] More →
Self-assessed lifestyle ratings
A person’s lifestyle rating is expected to be broadly consistent with the degree of medical impairment from the accepted conditions. In most cases, a lifestyle rating that falls within the shaded area of Table 23.1 of GARP V is broadly consistent with the degree of medical impairment. Accordingly GARP V states:
“The self-assessed rating should not usually be queried although further information may be requested if necessary. It is expected that the self-assessed lifestyle rating would be broadly consistent with the level of impairment. A delegate may reject a self-assessment of lifestyle rating because it overestimates, or underestimates, the level of rating that is broadly consistent with the level of impairment from accepted conditions”
However, 'broad consistency' is not equivalent to the shaded area only. As lifestyle ratings are inherently subjective, it is possible for a client's self-assessed lifestyle rating to be above the shaded area, should the effect on the client's lifestyle warrant it. The lifestyle effects of a knee injury on a professional triathlete are likely to be greater than the lifestyle effects of a knee injury on a person who enjoys only sedentary activities.
In addition to this, the DVA form D2670 – Lifestyle Rating (the form sent to clients to enable them to choose the optional methods of lifestyle assessment in accordance with Chapter 22) states, “The Department relies on your honesty when filling in the self assessment. However, we will check a small number of forms and may ask for more information. It is important that you fill in the self assessment carefully.”
Delegates should accept a client self-assessed rating unless there is evidence to indicate that it is a vast over or underestimation. That a self-assessed lifestyle rating falls outside the shaded area does not automatically invalidate the self-assessed rating, except in situations where it is clear that the self-assessed rating is not supported by the evidence.