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3.5.3 Assessment of NEL
When assessing the NEL suffered in respect of a veteran’s injury, it is emphasised that:
- NEL is a subjective concept of the effects of an injury on the veteran’s life,
- The veteran must be aware of the loss suffered, and
- While veterans may have equal rating of impairment it would not be unusual for them to receive different ratings for non-economic loss because of their different lifestyles.
- Unlike an assessment of permanent impairment under s 24, NEL is not to be assessed objectively by reference to ‘the functional capacity of a normal healthy person’.
- Delegates must make a determination as to the actual effects of an injury on the claimant’s lifestyle.
Prior to making a determination as to the NEL suffered by the veteran as a result of an injury, the delegate must consider all of the available evidence before them. This includes the self-reported impacts that each injury has on a claimant’s lifestyle as set out in the claimant’s NEL questionnaire, as well as any other available or relevant medical evidence. The delegate should seek further information from the veteran if they require further information or clarification about the specific losses suffered.
If the delegate identifies there to be an ‘overlap’ between the NEL that has resulted from the injury being assessed and NEL that the claimant has received in respect of a separate or previous injury then the delegate must, based on the evidence before them, make a determination as to the NEL suffered by the claimant as a result of the specific injury that they are assessing. This should, in practice, draw a distinction between any NEL that has resulted from the injury being assessed and NEL that has resulted from the separate/previous injury.
For more information about the NEL questionnaire and assessment of NEL scores, see Chapter 5.8. NEL Tables 1-5 and Questionnaire.