ACC is now welfare

Marty Sharpe at Stuff reports:

The number of families of suicide victims granted support from has declined since changes to legislation in 2010.

A woman whose daughter took her own life after suffering an abusive relationship said the changes meant surviving family were not considered victims.

The woman said her 21-year-old daughter took her life in Christchurch in November 2010. She left behind a young son.

The woman, now a sickness beneficiary and living in Wellington, had been struggling to pay the $7000 for her daughter’s funeral.

She sought help from ACC but was told the corporation no longer provided cover for families of suicide victims, unless the suicide was due to a mental injury caused by physical injury, sexual abuse or a work-related mental injury.

“I’ve got it [the funeral bill] down to about $4500 . . . It’s just been devastating. It really has. I don’t think people know what it’s like. Anyone in that situation needs all the help they can get,” the woman said.

Losing a loved one to suicide must be one of the most devastating things that can happen.

However it is not the role of ACC to fund funeral costs for those who kill themselves. The original intent of ACC is that if people get injured in an accident, they kept receiving their work income, and had medical costs covered.

If low income families are unable to pay for the funeral costs of a family member who has died, then the appropriate support should be via WINZ – and as I understand it there are such grants.

But we must change ACC from being a universal funder of everything bad that happens to someone, to what it was set up for.


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