Costs covered by ACC: Treatment, compensation and other support
Rehabilitation: Helping you regain your independence
Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 70
If you’re covered by ACC, you’re entitled to rehabilitation services to help you regain your health and your independence as much as practicable. You’re responsible for taking an active part in your rehabilitation with the goal of leading as normal a life as possible, given your injuries.
Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 6
You’re entitled to:
- Social rehabilitation – to restore your independence in your everyday life.
- Vocational rehabilitation – to restore your independence in your working life.
How your rehabilitation plan is decided
Accident Compensation Act 2001, ss 75–80 & Schedule 1, clauses 7–10
If you need longer-term support (more than 13 weeks), ACC will prepare an Individual Rehabilitation Plan for you as part of deciding what treatment and rehabilitation you need. The plan will set out targets and appropriate services and support. It will be updated so that it records the steps as you get better, including the results of occupational and medical assessments.
Your Individual Rehabilitation Plan must include:
- the outcome that’s aimed for and a target date (for example, going back to your old job in three months)
- necessary initial assessments (occupational and medical)
- any treatment or rehabilitation that’s in place or about to be approved, and whether ACC will fund this
- the services that are appropriate in your case, and
- when you and your ACC case manager will meet next to monitor your progress.
ACC must meet the cost of preparing the plan as well as the cost of any assessments agreed in the plan.
ACC must develop the plan “in consultation with” you (and with your representative, if you want to have one). You have a right to negotiate the contents of the plan with ACC. If ACC simply presents you with a draft plan to sign, this probably falls short of real “consultation”. An Individual Rehabilitation Plan is sometimes described as a “contract”, with rights and responsibilities for both parties.
Note: You should normally get advice from a lawyer before you sign an Individual Rehabilitation Plan.
Developing an Individual Rehabilitation Plan involves negotiation. You may need mediation to reach a reasonable resolution to disputes around the contents of the plan. If you unreasonably refuse to agree to the plan ACC have proposed, ACC can finalise the plan and treat it as if you agreed to it, or it can refuse to provide you with something you’d otherwise be entitled to, such as weekly compensation.
If you have a problem with your Individual Rehabilitation Plan, including if ACC take away entitlements because you didn’t follow the plan, you can apply for a review (see “Challenging an ACC decision” in this chapter).
Independence in your everyday life: Social rehabilitation
Accident Compensation Act 2001, ss 79, 81–84, Schedule 1, clauses 12–23
Social rehabilitation is help provided by ACC to make you independent again, as far as possible, in your everyday life, outside work.
You’re entitled to:
- aids, appliances and equipment
- personal care (“attendant care”)
- childcare (for children under 14)
- education support if your injury is causing you difficulties at school
- home help (including help with cleaning, laundry and shopping)
- modifications to your home (like adding handrails)
- training – for example, in how to use the equipment you’ve been given
- transport – including the cost of public transport, and help with buying or modifying a vehicle.
ACC also has discretion to provide other social rehabilitation, if this other rehabilitation would help you become more independent. This could include help to restore your independence in: cognitive tasks of ordinary daily living (like listening, planning your day, and getting tasks done); communicating; domestic activities; taking part in education; managing money; health care; keeping clean; mobility; motivation; keeping safe; and sexuality. For example, ACC can agree to provide you with sexual dysfunction products such as Viagra, to help restore your independence in the area of sexuality.
There will be assessments and reassessments to ensure that the social rehabilitation you’re getting is:
- required as a direct result of the personal injury (caused by accident) that is covered by ACC
- intended to restore your independence to the greatest extent (within reason)
- necessary, appropriate and good enough to do the job
- of the type normally offered by a provider
- agreed in the Individual Rehabilitation Plan (if you have one).
When does vocational rehabilitation come to an end?
If you can’t go back to your old job and you can’t find a new job, the vocational rehabilitation provided by ACC stops when you’re able to work full-time in some job for which you’re suited by your training, experience and so on (that is, when you have “vocational independence”).
But ACC doesn’t have to keep helping until you actually have a job.
The maximum period of time for ACC-funded vocational rehabilitation is usually three years.