A while back I was asked to create a resource for claimants to help with the many hurdles faced when dealing with the ever changing ACC system:
Please read and feel free to share
1. Own your rehabilitation ensure that proactively you undertake all things offered to you as
this shows ACC your doing your best to meet your obligations and it actually empowers
you to your journey to recovery
2. Meet with your case manager in person this allows you to build a 'working together'
rapport and can be a successful key to a successful outcome.
3. Where possible take a support person with you to any ACC appointments including
assessments having another set of eyes and ears can truly make the world of
difference in both understanding areas or just simply being able to reflect with after your
4. Everything in writing this method of communication is going to serve you well as it
creates a brilliant method of a 'paper trail ' along with that documenting all communication
can reduce misleading information and create a good platform to reference back to if
needed. Ever had a phone conversation and followed up at a later time with receiver and
had them not have any recollection of what was agreed upon? ensure that email and
written correspondence is your only form of communication with ACC, ensure you have
noted down in your IRP (individual rehabilitation place) this is your only contact method.
Sign a ACC email form and ensure to update your information if this changes to ensure
5. Your IRP (individual rehabilitation plan) is the most important document/plan you will be
signing with ACC self management and owning your rehabilitation is key in this area.
NEVER just sign it and return it without you're medical teams input. Your GP is your
gatekeeper to a successful rehabilitation. Ensure they outline clearly what is to be put
forward in your recovery. Any specialists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists,
psychologists need to outline in this plan what is required with a measurable time frame.
ACC need to outline any assessments in this plan with the reason for this and have your
medical team comment. Remember this is your rehabilitation ensure you own it.
6. Meeting overviews take notes in any ACC appointments or assessments, then follow up
with the key points summarizing what topics were covered and in writing (email) ask your
case manger or assessor to comment and invite them to confirm these points covered. It
creates many areas which includes a reference of the meeting and an opportunity for
both parties to reflect and make changes if needed.
7. Your ACC file that's right its YOURS. Under the official information act you have the right
to a copy of this file which holds every entry ACC make on your claim in their system.
ACC have 20 working days to provide you with a copy of this after you request this in
writing. Review this file periodically as it gives you insight to your claim management
processes along with a window to ensure the information ACC hold is correct.
8. Remember ACC is a government department which is bound by legislation do your best
to view ACC processes and decisions OBJECTIVELY .If there is something you feel is
not correct or your having a problem be ok with obtaining your case managers team
leader, email them in the first instance to outline your concerns, invite to meet with them
both at the branch ( bring a support person, take notes etc) follow up with your concerns.
If you need further assistance go through ACC complaints department. They are an
independent body who look at the concerns and notify the branch manager which gives you a higher level point of view. Independent advocates can also work great when areas
9. Work with your place of work to have a return to employment plan during your
rehabilitation. ACC is a costly business and injured employees cost ACC money ACC
fundamental goal is return you to work as soon as practicable. Ensure that your medical
team collaborate well with the correct outlook to achieve this goal. Ensure that your given
the right support in the safest return to work manner. Always ensure that you express the
goal of return to employment to ACC as unfortunately to often claimants are stigmatized
to "choosing" to be on ACC especially chronic pain claimants.
10. Keep your STRESS levels at a low when dealing with ACC. Its a challenge to be in a
system you had no choice in needing to be, but remember NZ is a unique country who
has this "no fault" accident compensation system so while you're having to utilize it
always try to look at things without "emotional" based views and just look at the practical
sense this system is set up for. PAIN is real unless the person holds a medical degree
don't discuss the outcomes etc with administrators of claims, ask for (in writing) the
branch medical adviser to make comment or the specialist not your ACC case manager.