Dalziel On ACC Lump Sum Compensation
23 March 2002
ACC Minister Lianne Dalziel today said the hype around the restoration of lump sum compensation was unhelpful with the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation & Compensation (IPRC) Act 2001 set to take effect in just over a week.
“The focus of the hype is lump sum compensation for sexual abuse, despite the fact that this is only one small aspect of the scheme.
“The reaction has been fuelled by the controversial, but unrelated, Wakefield’s letter drop, targeted at people who have been sexually abused, and which is the subject of a complaint to the Law Society,” Lianne Dalziel said.
“The media has played a role by confusing the two issues, claiming that ACC is bracing itself for a flood of sex abuse claims (TV3 News 23/3/02), with the restoration of lump sum compensation on 1 April, despite the fact that not one person could claim lump sum compensation on 1 April,” Lianne Dalziel said.
Lump sum compensation under the new Act will only be available where:
- the injury or abuse occurred after 1 April 2002 and,
- rehabilitation has been completed and,
- the condition has stabilised and,
- an assessment of permanent impairment under the American Medical Association guidelines establishes an impairment rating over the 10% threshold.
Counsellors provide treatment rehabilitation but eligibility for lump sum compensation will be determined by an independent assessor, who must be a registered medical practitioner, contracted by ACC.
“Claims for sexual abuse which occurred before 1 April 2002 will not covered by the new Act,” Lianne Dalziel said.
“This means that the earliest claim for lump sum compensation would be 2004, but only if the abuse occurred after 1 April this year, a claim for cover was accepted and rehabilitation commenced this year.
“To say ACC is “bracing itself for a flood of claims’ is patent nonsense.”
Lianne Dalziel believes that the confusion has arisen as a result of the Wakefield’s letter, which uses the word “lump sum” to describe backdated payments of the independence allowance, which may or may not be available to claimants depending on an assessment of their level of impairment.
Lianne Dalziel said she was concerned that many of the 3000 claimants had not been advised in the Wakefield letter that they would have to undergo a medical assessment to establish a claim for independence allowance, which requires a “clinically significant behavioural, cognitive or psychological dysfunction’.
The former lump sum scheme provided a separate lump sum for “pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life’. Under the new IPRC Act, there is no lump sum compensation for “pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life’.
“ACC has made statements covering all these points, but there are those, determined to make a meal of the high level of misunderstanding, despite knowing there is no comparison between the old lump sum provisions, and the new provisions to be introduced on 1 April, and they know the Wakefield’s letter is irrelevant to both,” Lianne Dalziel said.