ACC claimants kept in the dark

Published: Sun 30 Jul 2006 02:47 PM
ACC claimants kept in the dark and fed bull-droppings
Access Support Services find the majority of ACC claimants we see do not understand the legislation surrounding the individual rehabilitation plan (I.R.P.) used by ACC when planning their rehabilitation. It would appear ACC’s employees have the same problem.
Nearly every I.R.P. we see lacks what we consider to be comprehensive rehabilitation and many plans contain entries that simply should not be there. The following are 2 examples of I.R.P. entries ACC sought the claimant’s agreement too.
“If Mr XXX [the claimant] is still determined to pursue a self-employed venture, the vocational independence interview will occur and weekly compensation will cease 3 months later.”
“Mr XXX is aware that if he completes the full vocational rehabilitation process without finding suitable full-time work then ACC will advise the cessation date of weekly compensation and arrange for a transition to Work and Income Services”
We asked ACC’s Complaints Office to investigate these entries because we felt this amounted to misinformation. ACC’s investigator found there was no breach of the Code of ACC Claimants’ Rights and commented “The particular wording used in the rehabilitation plan is generic and is used in the majority of rehabilitation plans throughout ACC.”
If these entries are indeed generic, then we think this is outrageous! We consider these types of entries have absolutely no basis in law and certainly no place in a claimant’s rehabilitation plan. Rather than using the I.R.P. to plan comprehensive rehabilitation, it appears it is often used by ACC, and other insurers, as a device to exit claimants from the scheme.
Clause 7(c), Schedule 1 of the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001 states ACC must to tell claimants about their “right to have a representative involved in the preparation of the plan”. However, ACC policy does not inform claimants of this right.
It is certainly our experience claimants who have representation are significantly better off than those who don’t, which may explain why ACC neglect to tell the claimant about their right. Once again, we call upon ACC to comply with the Act rather than continuing to keep claimants in the dark and fed bull-droppings.

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