ACC and Welfare

June 23rd, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The proportion of long-term clients moving on to benefits has surged since the corporation adopted a tough new stance, which has fuelled allegations that they are being forced off compensation before they are rehabilitated.

That may be the case, it may not. Let’s look at the numbers.

But yesterday’s figures show that the proportion of long-term claimants leaving ACC and going on to health-related, unemployment or domestic purposes benefits rose sharply from early 2009.

In the five years to 2008, the proportion going on to benefits was 12.1 per cent, but during 2009 that rose to 16.4. In the first five months of 2010, the most recent data held by ACC, the proportion rose to 19.4 per cent.

ACC figures also showed the corporation had reduced the number of long-term claimants on its books by 3644 or 25 per cent to 10773 in the three years since June 2009. That reduction is well ahead of ACC’s targets.

Okay so 3,644 people have gone off ACC, and 19.4% have gone onto . First of all that presumably means 81% or 2,937 are now in employment which is a good thing.

Of the 707 who have gone onto welfare, the data suggests 441 would have been on welfare under the previous trend. That means an extra 266 have gone onto welfare.

At a macro level, an extra 266 on welfare for an extra 2,937 back in work seems pretty reasonable. But this shouldn’t really be about the macro level. In an ideal world no one would be declined ACC support who genuinely is unable to work due to an injury, and no one would remain receiving ACC support who is capable of resuming full-time work after their injury. There will always be some in both categories, and the aim should be to minimise both.

Of the 266 extra people on welfare, a key thing might be what benefit have they gone onto. If they have gone onto an invalid’s benefit or even a sickness benefit, then it suggests there could well be a problem. If however they are on the unemployment benefit, then that may just be because the jobs market is still subdued.

So that data is interesting and worth investigating more. But it is not conclusive of itself.

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30 Responses to “ACC and Welfare”

  1. Steve (North Shore) (4,587 comments) says:

    You will only get an invalid/sickness benifit if you qualify. Any money in the bank or being a property owner and you will get sweet fuck all. Been there, done that. No income for 9 months and nealy lost my house if not for a mortgage holiday.
    Bastards

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  2. dave (988 comments) says:

    Farrar reports

    Okay so 3,644 people have gone off ACC, and 19.4% have gone onto welfare. First of all that presumably means 81% or 2,937 are now in employment which is a good thing.

    That may be the case. It may be not. Let’s look at how many of the 81% are in employment, and whether it is full time or not. Of those who are not on welfare (e.g they have an earning partner), lets see whether they are fit enough to work.

    Of the 707 who have gone onto welfare, the data suggests 441 would have been on welfare under the previous trend. That means an extra 266 have gone onto welfare.

    Or it means that an extra 266 can’t find jobs or are (most probably ) too injured to work and should have been on ACC, lke most of the 707 who have gone onto welfare .

    In an ideal world no one would be declined ACC support who genuinely is unable to work due to an injury….and the aim should be to minimise (this)..

    This obviously means that ACC does not live in an ideal world – and its aim is clearly not to minimise those who are kicked off ACC and are unable to work due to their injury.

    If they have gone onto an invalid’s benefit or even a sickness benefit, then it suggests there could well be a problem.

    Which is exactly what is happening. No “if” about it.

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  3. Daigotsu (465 comments) says:

    “If however they are on the unemployment benefit, then that may just be because the jobs market is still subdued.”

    Or because they’re lazy bludgers who vote for Liarbour and the Greens.

    Blaming the jobs market when you just can’t ge toff your arse is disgusting behavior

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  4. Viking2 (11,552 comments) says:

    http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/27308-housing-nz-order-upsets-paraplegic.html

    Here’s one who needs a boot up the behind.

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  5. Viking2 (11,552 comments) says:

    Daigotsu (308) Says:
    June 23rd, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    “If however they are on the unemployment benefit, then that may just be because the jobs market is still subdued.”

    Or because they’re lazy bludgers who vote for Liarbour and the Greens.

    Blaming the jobs market when you just can’t ge toff your arse is disgusting behavior

    So you think that jobs abound do you. You must live in another country because all the stats and information available point the opposite way.
    Try engaging your brain and assembling the truth.

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  6. Daigotsu (465 comments) says:

    Viking, ever been on Trademe? Full of jobs, mate

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  7. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    There ARE plenty of jobs…..there’s just a lack of motivation to take them.

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  8. nasska (11,787 comments) says:

    You are neglecting the fact that people coming off ACC are not always fit for all work. ACC state only that a person must be capable of some type of work for thirty hours a week but they have absolutely no responsibility to ensure that such a job is available. Eg. A truck driver disabled with a lower back injury may be capable of serving in a shop but is he suited educationally or does he have the people skills required before anyone would hire him to do the job.

    Additionally, why would an employer choose someone who may have been out of the workforce for a couple of years or need a workplace to be altered for them?

    Anyone less than 100% fit & suitable for a job will face an uphill battle when seeking employment regardless of their attitude or willingness to work.

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  9. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    nasska: not so. If someone used to be a truck driver, and now needs to work in a shop, then they need to get the skills to work in a shop. It’s not the responsibility of everyone else in NZ, many of whom are working in jobs that they’d rather not do, to pay for the lifestyle of someone who is choosing not to do a job that is available to them.

    In my company we regularly hire people with disabilities, and make allowances. It’s hard to get good people, I’m happy to make allowances for them if I can find them. Better still, they know you’re making allowances and they’re 10 times as loyal because of it.

    Dave: If they have an earning partner, and they are work fit for some jobs but cannot find one, when did it become the responsibility of every other NZer to pay for them to not work. Their partner can pay for them to stay at home, or they can get a job.

    The problem here is that people think that ACC is free, and that of course anyone who cannot work should get paid for. That’s often the fault of successive governments who have presented it as such. But in reality it is an insurance scheme, and any insurance only pays out for accidents, and only until you’re fit to return to work. Try private injury insurance some time and see what it covers. Just because the government collects the premiums doesn’t mean it should be any different.

    Or put it another way. How about we collect the premiums directly from employees, rather than from employers. That’s effectively what is happening anyway – your employer factors the ACC cost into the cost of employing you, whether they give the cash to you and you buy insurance, or they buy the insurance directly, makes little financial difference. Politically it makes it look like the evil employer is paying, but that’s not true.

    Then offer every employee two insurance policies. A cheaper one that covers them whilst unfit to work, but which may have an obligation to get a different sort of job if your old job isn’t suitable any more. And a more expensive one that covers you if you’re unfit to work in your specific job any more. See what the difference in price between those two policies is. See which one people pick.

    Having the government in the middle of all this is distorting people’s perspective. Similar to health insurance in the US – because your employer supposedly buys it for you, you obviously want the most rolls-royce one available. One part of the reason their health care costs are so astronomical. But if you were spending your own money, you’d never spend what that costs.

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  10. nasska (11,787 comments) says:

    PaulL

    Not all people are suitable for all work regardless of how hard they may try to make it so & many former ACC “clients” are well past being picky about what they’ll take on. It is good to hear that your company does hire those with disabilities & I agree that such an attitude would ensure a very loyal workforce but if you look around you may find that you are in the minority.

    ACC at 80% of former earnings may not encourage someone to actively seek work but facing the prospect of living on the dole & losing everything they’ve worked for motivates all but the totally hopeless.

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  11. trout (944 comments) says:

    The Left seem hell bent on recasting ACC as a welfare scheme. It is an INSURANCE SCHEME that requires earners and vehicle owner’s to pay a PREMIUM. In my own dealing with ACC I have found them to be receptive and efficient; they have analyzed my work situation, provided an employment assessor whose job it was to look at alternative options if I was not able to resume my occupation. And offered retraining opportunities if required. In fact I needed none of the above but I was impressed with their desire to get the injured back to work rather than leaving them on the couch feeling sorry for themselves. And re the above stats it is true that many of the injured have other health issues unrelated to their injury that limit work ability. ACC cannot fund these people after the injury is healed.

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  12. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    ACC at 80% of former earnings may not encourage someone to actively seek work but facing the prospect of living on the dole & losing everything they’ve worked for motivates all but the totally hopeless.

    Which is exactly the point of this policy. So the problem is?

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  13. nasska (11,787 comments) says:

    PaulL

    The problem is that incentive does not equate opportunity in the job market as so glibly suggested at 12.39pm, 1.11pm & 1.12pm. We all acknowledge that people need to go back to work but only one of us suggests that although there are jobs offering they may not be offered to those coming off ACC.

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  14. simonway (387 comments) says:

    Viking, ever been on Trademe? Full of jobs, mate

    The thing is that there are more people applying for jobs than there are jobs available, so not everyone is able to get a job. Understand? It’s some pretty complicated mathematics, I know, so it might be a bit tough to wrap your head around. You’re obviously struggling with that fact, so let me try a comparison: imagine I have 10 pieces of chocolate that I want to share with my 19 friends (so there are 20 of us in total, including me). There are more people than there are pieces of chocolate, so that means that some people don’t get any chocolate, even if they ask really nicely.

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  15. mikenmild (11,661 comments) says:

    You forgot about breaking the chocolates up into pieces – casualised, part-time chocolate.

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  16. Viking2 (11,552 comments) says:

    Good analogy but in the world of the unreal there are still plenty of jobs on Trademe even if they are in some far away place or you haven’t god the required skills.

    IN the BOP youth unemployment was running at 37% but has dropped a bit latley. And guesss what. It wasn’t youth who wrote the employment rules or the rules that bar them from getting jobs and its unlikely most youth are able to create jobs. Its not a difficult equation but it seems those that got thru in the good times have no idea how tough it is.
    There are more than a few hanging in there in their jobs becuase its mioney despite wanting to do work that would be their passion, which is the best way of work.

    Key this week was ready to berate CEO’s of major companies for not taking on youth who had been to “bootcamp”.
    Well all Key has to do is to reinstate youth rates and that will be fixed very smartly.

    It beggars beleif that I can hire the 14 year old lass from over the road to babysit for $8.00 per hour but that same lass is not allowed to be employed in a workplace after school for less than $13.50.
    She can however sell stuff on Trademe or have an Internet business that earns her any amount of money or go to the markets on the weekend and sell and earn but still can’t be employed at a satisfactory rate that suits her and an employer.

    My freinds girls have a horse. They would be absolutley delighted to work a few hours for $8.00 per hour just to have more horsy stuff. Can they get that work hell no.

    I see Anna Stretton had a go at Key and company this week at her fashion show. She is seriously concerned at the govt. debt as are many of the rest of us. Streeton also adopted the approach that we should beat up on the youth, like its all their fault, they jsut don’t want to work etc etc.
    Well the adults made the rules and I would be much more impressed if the angewr had been vented at the lazy twisted politicians who allowed the useless Bradford to railroad them into stopping kids working. Stretton needs look no further than many of her women clients to see why kids and youth are discriminated against in the work place by rules made by disengenuos adults.

    It’s time some decent Lawyer took the legislation against young people to court. Its discriminarary and should be up before the appropriate Court. Its against our constitution. If Helen Kelly took a case on that even I would praise her.

    Actaually I think Kelly and Garret would win a case like that.

    Stop moaning about the youth and give them oppourtunities.

    Off topic yep.

    And I will remind the person who said this that: anyone who earns and pays paye pays ACC. so you are not funding anyone who works thay are payiong into their fund.

    The problem here is that people think that ACC is free, and that of course anyone who cannot work should get paid for doing nothing.

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  17. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    simonway: if we have chocolate available, and some of the chocolate is uneaten, then logically there is still chocolate available for people who want some. Are there some jobs unfilled?

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  18. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    mikenmild: so of course nobody out there wants a part time job. No, everybody should have a unionised 9-5 job, with no working on the weekends. Sorry, your general distaste for anything other than government sanctioned and centrally determined “what’s good for us” is a large part of the problem from where I’m sitting. Government cannot and does not meet everyone’s needs, or even a great proportion of people’s needs. Once the government is involved things generally go wrong. Most people should be free to mostly do what they want, the government should only be involved where something cannot be settled between individuals, and where the government can actually meaningfully help. I’ll agree that there are some things that cannot be done without government, but that is a relatively short list of things.

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  19. wynkie (86 comments) says:

    David, there are many people tossed off ACC unable to work more than 30 hours a week (ACC definition of independence) and unable to claim a WINZ benefit.

    Many of those exited are not effectively rehabilitated which is sustained ability to work 30+ hours/week.

    Also many are exited, not through vocational independence – the legal way, but a deliberate strategy to use complex legal technicalities, which most claimants unless armed with a lawyer will never succeed in regaining entitlements. E.g., ACC will exit you via a Section 103 for uncovered injuries because ACC has deliberately not covered the injury, or has sent you to an assessor who is not qualified to assess the specific nature of the injury, or ACC withholds critical medical reports from the assessor so he does not have complete accurate and up to date information.

    The levy payer/taxpayer funds ACC to fight themselves.

    ACC has set claimants up to fail so the Corporation can line it’s pockets by taking advantage of injured New Zealanders. ACC’s costs – legal, medical, DRSL, Court etc all fully funded by the taxpayer. The claimant off ACC has income and no ability fight

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  20. trout (944 comments) says:

    Does the ‘taxpayer’ fund ACC in any way? or do the levy payers and motor vehicle users (and sports clubs) pay the cost of non-work injury to people other than themselves.

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  21. Viking2 (11,552 comments) says:

    Trout, mostly funded by levies. Govt, I think contributes for the non working.
    But here a good question.
    Does the Govt. take ACC from beneficiaries>

    Is the benefit reduced by an amount that covers the beneficiary. If it isn’t then it should. That’s equal and fair and sends the correct signals to beneficiaries.
    Same for those in jail. Why should they not get a bill?

    We can attach the earners incomes and we can deduct Kiwisaver but it seems we can’t deduct into personal accounts things like unemployment insurance or medical or the like.
    situations where one partner loses their ACC and has to be supported by the other despite them both paying ACC etc are really stupid and of course unfair to both.

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  22. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    In the five years to 2008, the proportion going on to benefits was 12.1 per cent, but during 2009 that rose to 16.4. In the first five months of 2010, the most recent data held by ACC, the proportion rose to 19.4 per cent.

    So, disregarding DPF’s spin about how it isn’t really all that many extra people going onto benefits, what happened in 2009 that caused a sudden increase in the proportion of long-term claimants shifting from claimant to beneficiary? Any chance it might have something to do with the incoming govt getting ACC to implement financial incentives and penalties to encourage ACC staff to get long-term claimants off its books?

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  23. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    PM: by similar logic, what happened that drove a large proportion of those claimants back into work, instead of being on the ACC “benefit”. I suspect those two things are closely correlated, and it’s hard to have one without the other.

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  24. mikenmild (11,661 comments) says:

    For ACC, it seems the result is the same, whether a claimant returns to work or magically becomes ‘sick’ instead of ‘injured’ and so can be shunted onto a benefit. Just makes it more of a mockery t have a system that treats illness and injury in fundamentally different ways.

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  25. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    PM: by similar logic, what happened that drove a large proportion of those claimants back into work, instead of being on the ACC “benefit”.

    I didn’t see where the article reported an equally dramatic increase in the number of long-term claimants who’ve rejoined the workforce – perhaps you could point it out?

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  26. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    I believe that was in DPF’s analysis above. Happy if you dispute that analysis, but it’s clearly in this post/thread.

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  27. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    What’s in DPF’s post is that lots of them have gone back into the workforce. So what? That hasn’t changed – lots of them went back into the workforce in earlier years too. What has changed is that the proportion going onto a benefit has increased dramatically since National introduced financial incentives for ACC staff to get long-term claimants off the books. Any chance those two things are connected, do you think?

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  28. Bogusnews (477 comments) says:

    I suspect what National is doing here is to try to get things honest again. There was so much social manipulation going on with the last government to allow adjustment of statistics (such as large numbers of people going onto sickness benefits to make the unemployment rate look better.)

    There was something fundamentally wrong with ACC as was shown when National first came to power. Helen had done her usual trick of hiding the real state of the books so that the huge debt was not revealed until after the election. The key question I would like to have answered is how many people are going onto invalids or sickness benefits (out of genuine need). That will answer whether a change of policy under Labour had been done to help hide unemployment.

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  29. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    There was no “huge debt” – there was a huge liability, an accounting convention used only because National insists on pretending ACC is a kind of insurance company. The supposed financial crisis at ACC existed only in Nick Smith’s propaganda.

    And if you’re looking for “social manipulation” by a govt involving ACC, look no further than the current one giving ACC staff a financial interest in pushing long-term claimants onto the welfare system – there’s a govt caught in the act.

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  30. Adam Bennett (2 comments) says:

    “Okay so 3,644 people have gone off ACC, and 19.4% have gone onto welfare. First of all that presumably means 81% or 2,937 are now in employment which is a good thing.”

    A couple of things about that:

    The reduction of 3,644 is a net reduction. There were, according to the figures I got from ACC, just under 9000 “1st time entries” over the period. Therefore somewhere between 12,000 and 13,000 long term claimants left ACC over the period.

    The second thing is I don’t think you can assume that if they didn’t go on benefit they went into employment. Based on emails I received in response to this story some folks didn’t get work and for whatever reason weren’t eligible for a benefit.

    That is all.

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