ACC scheme doesn't cover mosque-attack mental injury claims

5:28 pm on 26 March 2019

ACC says mosque attack victims' claims for mental injury, without having suffered a physical injury or it occuring while working, will not be eligible for cover.

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Under the current parameters of the scheme only those who suffer mental trauma as a result of physical injury Photo: 123RF

Fifty people were killed and dozens were injured in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques on 15 March.

ACC chief operating officer Mike Tully said there had been 23 claims for mental injury, including 10 claims for people who did not suffer a physical injury, nor did the mental injury occur through the nature of their work, so they were ineligible for cover under the current boundaries of the ACC scheme.

"We are very working closely with other agencies - such as the DHB, Police, Victims Support and MSD - to ensure these people are receiving the counselling support they need."

Under the current parameters of the scheme only those who suffer mental trauma as a result of physical injury, or those who received mental injury as a result of carrying out their jobs, were eligible for ACC.

This meant only Mosque workers or first responders, such as the police or parademics who attended the scenes of the two attacks, were eligible for mental trauma claims if they did not also suffer a physical injury.

In total, ACC has received claims for all 50 victims killed in the mosque attacks. There are also 94 injury claims, including 53 involving gunshot wounds.

"All acute medical care costs will be taken care of for everyone with injuries, as well as support with longer-term medical treatment. Anyone who was working in New Zealand will be entitled to weekly compensation while they recover. We will also provide a range of supports such as home help, transportation assistance, and child care where required.

"We've received 28 weekly compensation claims; 20 are completed already. Two clients are ineligible because they're receiving a benefit, and we're seeking more information from six," Mr Tully said.

"ACC continues to operate a dedicated team in Christchurch, supported by an 0800 number and a direct email address, to ensure all claims relating to this tragedy are fast-tracked so the victims and their families receive the support they need as quickly as possible," Mr Tully said.

"We are still receiving a small number of new claims, and are working closely with other agencies, including the Police family liaison officers, to connect with the families of everyone who may have been injured in the attack."

ACC has produced a fact sheet explaining the entitlements and support available in Malay, Indonesian, Farsi, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, and Arabic.