22 Jun 2012

ACC claimants removal motive denied

1:46 pm on 22 June 2012

ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart denies he was put in the job to move claimants off the scheme, despite a large drop in the number of long term claimants in the last year.

Official documents have revealed that some ACC staff have performance targets linked to the number of claimants they move off the books.

Mr Stewart told Morning Report that the number of long term claimants has dropped by 1200 to about 10,400 since November.

He said ACC has two priorities: to rehabilitate claimants and to manage finances, but only 20% of its staff incentive relates to rehabilitation.

Mr Stewart, who has resigned from ACC after nine months in the role, acknowledged that people's trust in the corporation needs to be improved.

Advocacy groups are calling for a review of the cases of everyone who was taken off the scheme in the past year to see whether those decisions were justified.

A lawyer specialising in ACC cases, John Miller, says the bonus scheme is yet another example of the corporation having its priorities wrong.

Another lawyer, Peter Sara, says the policy is unprofessional and immoral.

ACC Minister Judith Collins says she doesn't have a problem with people being encouraged into work.

Incentive scheme blamed

An Otago woman says the incentive scheme offered by the Accident Compensation Corporation is to blame for her poor health and financial state.

Rebecca, who asked that her surname not be used, was assessed by ACC two years ago and told she was fit to work 30 hours per week, rather than the 15 she had been doing.

She says offering incentives to staff is having a big impact on those who need assistance.