News » ACC Changes Opens Door for Exited Claimants

Press Release – 27 June 2008:   The Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Amendment Bill (No 2) is set to come into effect on 1 August 2008. One of the significant changes to the current legislation is that ACC must take into account a claimant’s pre-injury earnings when determining if a claimant has a capacity to work.

Previously, claimants could be exited from the scheme if ACC determined they could work 35 hours a week in any job that matched their skills. For example, a Builder with a pre-injury income of $70,000 a year, but unable to return to that employment because of injury, would lose entitlement to weekly compensation if ACC determined they could work as a Stock Clerk, a job that pays about $27,000 p.a.

From 1 August 2008 ACC will be required to provide vocational rehabilitation that will return a claimant into employment that not only matches their skills but also taking into account pre-injury income.

The amended legislation not only affects claimants currently receiving weekly compensation. It also affects those claimants who have been exited from the scheme. If a claimant’s capacity to work has deteriorated since being exited then they can asked to be reassessed. This means a Builder who was found to be able to work as a Stock Clerk could be reassessed for jobs that match their pre-injury earnings, thereby eliminating Stock Clerk as a job option.

“This opens the door for thousands of exited claimants to re-enter the scheme” says Mr David Wadsworth, Claimant Advocate and Principal of Access Support Services. “Not only could former claimants regain entitlement to weekly compensation, their level of entitlement would be paid at the same rate as before.”

Mr Wadsworth urges claimants to consider seeking a reassessment under the amended legislation. “Existing claimants should seek a reassessment of the medically sustainable job types in order to receive meaningful rehabilitation back into the work-force. Former claimants should seek a reassessment if their capacity to work has deteriorated since being exited.”

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