The proportion of long-term ACC 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.
. . . 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.
National likes to portray itself as ‘fiscally responsible’, bringing ‘real world’ skills and business acumen to government. Well this is as fiscally irresponsible as you can get. ACC claimants who transition back into work become taxpayers: an asset to the state, while beneficiaries are a fiscal liability.
But under National, ACC aren’t incentivised into transitioning people back into work – they’re only incentivised to get people off their corporation’s books, and its easier for ACC staff to move people onto welfare and collect a nice bonus than it is to transition them back into paid work.
Since they came into government National has spent a LOT of time and energy ranting about getting touch on beneficiaries and reforming the welfare system to reduce benefit dependency, while at the same time they’ve retooled ACC into an organisation that increases the number of beneficiaries.
Update: Adam Bennett from the Herald comments on his story:
The reduction of 3,644 long term claimants is a net figure. 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 these people 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. Suffice it to say they weren’t particularly happy about this state of affairs.