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ACC reviewing burn victim's case after compo bungle

Tuesday, June 19 2018 - Brittany Keogh, NZ Herald
ACC has told a burns victim he's only entitled to half the compensation he expected while off work recovering from reconstructive surgery because he was a child and wasn't working when he was burned. A lawyer who specialises in ACC claims says the man should be entitled to full compensation. The lawyer believes thousands of people, including hundreds who were sexually abused as children, are likely to be in the same situation and is calling for a law change.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12066437

Ministerial support for ACC’s advocacy service muddied by expectations

Wednesday, May 23 2018 - Simon Maude, NZ Doctor
ACC minister Iain Lees-Gal­loway is enthusiastic about a service planned to help ACC cli­ents navigate its claims system but it might not be the service he is expecting. Specialist ACC lawyer Warren Forster claims the corporation and minister’s ambitions are at odds, with the former opting for a low-cost service while the lat­ter is expecting all the “bells and whistles”.
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sHBemGY8Gs8J:https://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/article/print-archive/ministerial-support-accs-advocacy-service-muddied-expectations+&cd=12&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz

‘Frustrated’ claimant support group out

Monday, April 9 2018 - John Gibb, Otago Daily Times
Claimant support group Acclaim Otago is "disappointed and frustrated" with the latest restructuring of ACC’s community liaison committees and will no longer take part. Acclaim spokeswoman Dr Denise Powell has represented Acclaim on the committees for 13 years, most recently as a member of ACC’s advocates and representatives group (ARG), since 2012. Restructuring ARG was "a slap in the face", given that a review report by consultants Martin Jenkins suggested ARG had not been "timely or productive".
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/%E2%80%98frustrated%E2%80%99-claimant-support-group-out

Talk to the phone, not the face

Sunday, March 25 2018 - Piers Fuller, Stuff
ACC phone into dispute hearings despite a judge ruling this method was ineffective. ACC set up a Resolution Services team last July. Staff are based in Dunedin, Lower Hutt, Hamilton, and Auckland, and generally teleconference into local meetings. Furthermore, the Government agency does not consistently file pre-hearing submissions. Claimants have technical jargon thrown at them in the dispute resolution meetings they cannot prepare for, feeling like the system is stacked against them.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/102470235/talk-to-the-phone-not-the-face

ACC claimant 'devastated' after signing over her payout to advocate

Sunday, March 4 2018 - Cate Broughton, Stuff
An ACC claimant who signed over every cent of her backdated payout to an advocate says the Government should provide free legal support services. Christchurch woman Natasha Howell, 44, was awarded $84,797 in compensation in a settlement with ACC after her weekly payments were cancelled. Howell suffers from severe pain related to spinal surgeries. She had signed a contract handing over any backdated compensation to an "accident compensation law specialist" in June 2017 to help her challenge ACC's decision to cancel her payments.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/101435666/acc-claimant-devastated-after-signing-over-her-payout-to-advocate

Court forcing ACC to pay legal fees above $3000 cap brings justice - advocate

Wednesday, February 28 2018 - Cate Broughton, Stuff
A "game changing" court decision to make ACC pay legal costs above a $3000 cap is a major victory for justice, an ACC advocate says. The Crown entity was required to pay a maximum of $3000 in legal costs for cases it loses, irrespective of the actual fee incurred, since a ruling in 2008. But a new ruling from District Court Judge Grant Powell orders ACC to pay $7500 of one successful claimant's $8800 costs. The cap had been a huge barrier to justice for claimants, ACC barrister and researcher Warren Forster said.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/101849058/Court-forcing-ACC-to-pay-legal-fees-above-3000-cap-brings-justice-advocate

Disquiet still around ACC’s use of tool

Saturday, February 10 2018 - John Gibb, Otago Daily Times
Questions are still being asked about the Accident Compensation Corporation’s use of a predictive software tool, amid continuing claims it could implicitly discriminate against clients on "problematic grounds such as age, ethnicity or gender".
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/health/disquiet-still-around-acc%E2%80%99s-use-tool

ACC consultancy bill more than tripled in four years

Wednesday, February 7 2018 - Ruby Nyika, Stuff
Fees paid to consultants working with ACC have more than tripled in the last four years. The last financial year saw a hefty consultancy bill of over $58 million, according to figures released under the Official Information Act. It's a dramatic rise from the $17.5m spend during the 2013/14 year.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/100996511/acc-consultancy-bill-more-than-tripled-in-four-years

ACC denial focus highlights need for fundamental change

Friday, February 2 2018 - Lynda Hagen, LawTalk
In 2005 Dunedin lawyer Warren Forster took on the ACC on behalf of his mother, who was declined compensation despite suffering a serious back injury. The experience was career-changing – he became a leading advocate for claimants turned down by ACC, and a key influencer of current reforms to the ACC appeals process. Now, he was recently awarded the Law Foundation’s 2017 International Research Fellowship Te Karahipi Rangahau ā Taiao and is researching new approaches to disability assistance that would remove the causal discrimination underlying the ACC system.
https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/practice-resources/practice-areas/acc/acc-denial-focus-highlights-need-for-fundamental-change

Injured New Zealanders stung by huge tax bills after receiving ACC back-payments

Wednesday, December 20 2017 - NZ Herald
Almost 300 injured New Zealanders were stung by huge tax bills last year after receiving hefty back-payments from ACC - an issue which has been repeatedly brought to the Government's attention for more than a decade. Hundreds of Kiwis receive back-payments from ACC each year either because they lodged a late claim, because they won a case for compensation which ACC had previously refused, there were re-calculations or because complex claims required a lot of investigation to determine cover.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11963405
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