Serious injury & disability
What does ACC pay for?
Anyone in New Zealand who has an accident resulting in disability or a significant impairment receives help from ACC for as long as they need it, regardless of the cause of the injury.
- Hospital treatment and specialist rehabilitation
- Living in the community
- Income support
- What ACC can’t pay for
ACC contributes to the costs of emergency transport to the nearest hospital and pays for your emergency treatment. If you have to be moved to a specialist hospital like Starship Children’s Hospital or a spinal or brain injury rehabilitation unit, we cover the costs of the transfer.
Your ACC cover pays for support during your stay in hospital or a specialist rehabilitation facility. This may include:
- your rehabilitation team of doctors, nurses and therapists
- rehabilitation care
- food, linen and laundry.
ACC may also be able to help your whānau/family members with the costs of visiting you in hospital or your rehabilitation unit. Find out more about help with transport.
- Your Support Coordinator
- Personal care
- Medications and pharmaceuticals
- Medical consumables
- Disability support services
If your injury has left you with a disability or a significant impairment, a Support Coordinator from ACC’s National Serious Injury Service will visit you before you are discharged from hospital or your rehabilitation unit.
Their job is to make your return home as smooth and stress-free as possible.
If you plan to return to the home you were living in before your injury, ACC may be able to pay for support to help you manage the ordinary tasks of daily living. If you are not able to return home, your Coordinator will help make alternative arrangements. This could be to a Residential Support Service that provides specialised medical care and therapy in a residential setting.
Depending on your needs, ACC can pay for someone to help you with tasks like taking medications, personal hygiene and grooming, household chores and child-care. Find out more about how ACC may be able to help with personal care needs.
We will contribute to the costs of any drugs and medicines prescribed by your doctor, as long as they are related to your injury.
If your sexual functioning is affected by your injury, we can pay for erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra®. If your fertility is affected by your injury, we can pay for fertility treatments.
ACC contributes to the costs of medical consumables such as catheters for bladder management, colostomy bags and continence pads. We also contribute to the costs of delivering these items from the medical supplies companies to your home.
Equipment such as wheelchairs provided to you in hospital or during rehabilitation may need to be changed to suit your long-term needs.
We cover the cost of someone coming to your home to assess your equipment needs, and for the cost of replacement equipment.
Depending on your needs, we can also pay for other equipment you need at home, such as:
- bed hoists
- assistive communication devices
- aids such as personal alarms
- environmental controls like automatic door openers.
We pay for repairs to your equipment, and for it to be replaced when it reaches the end of its useful life. Find out more about the specialist equipment ACC can fund.
If as a result of your injury you need physical therapy like physiotherapy or occupational therapy, we can pay for the therapy and the costs of travelling to your therapist or their coming to your home. We may also be able to provide speech language therapy and specific skills training such as on how to use an assistive communication device.
Depending on your needs we can pay for modifications to your home, such as wider hallways, access ramps and wet-area bathrooms. Find out more about housing modifications that ACC can help with.
Transport assistance, such as mobility taxis and the purchase and modification of a vehicle is available. Find out more about how ACC may be able to help you with transport.
Specialised services to help you to achieve your employment and community participation goals are available. The services currently funded by us are:
- Supported Activity Programmes: a day-long programme providing social interaction and respite for families providing attendant care
- Supported Living: a service that helps people with disabilities to adjust to living in their communities. By getting the right amount of support, guidance and confidence, you can live an everyday life. Find out more about making plans for the future
- Supported Employment: a service specialising in helping people with disabilities to find and stay in paid employment. Find out more about planning your return to work
- Transition: a service for school-leavers to help them to plan for and realise their further education and employment aims. Find out more about what happens after secondary school
- Behaviour Support Service: a service providing skills training and support for people affected by inappropriate or antisocial behaviours that are often a consequence of a traumatic brain injury.
Social and vocational rehabilitation services are available to all ACC clients, including client with disabilities from injuries.
If you can’t work because of an injury, you may be able to get up to 80% of the income you were earning prior to your injury. We call this ‘weekly compensation’.
Lump sum compensation is also available if your injury happened on or after 1 April 2002. Find out more about income support.
We are only able to pay for assistance you need as a direct result of your injury. We can’t pay for:
- home maintenance such as house painting
- house and contents insurance
- rates and utilities such as energy and telecommunications
- vehicle maintenance and running costs.
These are expenses that any home and vehicle owner has, and are not related to having an injury.
Treatments and therapies
We are only able to fund treatments and therapies that are proven to give rehabilitation benefits. This means we are not able to fund treatments or therapies that do not have a body of sound scientific research that demonstrates their effectiveness. Stem cell therapy is an example of a treatment that does not yet have enough evidence to prove that it works.
We only pay for the most cost-effective solutions
Our legislation specifies that we must choose the most cost-effective solution for meeting your injury-related needs.
This means that you have to pay for any extra-cost features you may want.
This can apply to equipment and housing modifications, where you may want a specific fitting to match the décor of the rest of your house. Our contribution will generally be for the lowest cost base model fitting – you’ll need to pay the additional costs for a higher-specification fitting.
For advice on what to do if you disagree with ACC's decision see: What if I disagree with ACC's decision?