What support can I get?

Artificial limbs

If as a result of an injury you need an artificial limb, replacement limb, limb repair or associated limb consumable, we may be able to help with costs.

What help can I get?

We may be able to pay for:

  • your first artificial limb (also known as prosthesis)
  • a replacement limb
  • repairs or adjustments to your artificial limb
  • consumables needed for your artificial limb, such as stump socks.

We buy artificial limbs and services directly from the New Zealand Artificial Limb Service, which has Limb Centres in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

If you have an accident and your injuries include damage to an existing artificial limb, you will need to make a new claim as we consider this to be a new personal injury.

What do I need to do to get help?

  • Talk to us about what kind of help we may be able to provide
  • Visit or contact your doctor, hospital or surgeon, who will refer you to the nearest Limb Centre to be assessed
  • Attend the assessment consultation. The Limb Centre will need to know your ACC claim number, the date of your injury and your ACC client services contact’s name and contact details. They will give us an assessment report
  • If your artificial limb needs repair due to an injury, see your doctor to lodge a new claim and then take it to the nearest Limb Centre
  • If you need a replacement limb, talk to your ACC client services contact
    A replacement may be due to:
    • growth, particularly when a child needs a prosthesis
    • deterioration due to normal wear and tear
    • lifestyle change, such as if you were to take up more demanding work
    • major metabolic change, such as significant weight loss or gain
    • damage that has cover as a new personal injury claim.

    How am I eligible?

    You will need to meet all of the following criteria:

    • you need the artificial limb because of an injury
    • we’ve accepted your claim for cover
    • The Limb Centre Clinical team confirms that you need the artificial limb
    • the artificial limb is necessary, appropriate and of the right quality to help you regain your independence.

    The help you will get depends on your individual circumstances. Contact us to confirm if you qualify, or to identify other ways in which we can help.

    How long might ACC take to determine if I am eligible?

    We regard 21 days, from the date of your referral, as a reasonable timeframe for making a cover decision. Contact us if you have not heard from us after this period of time.

    What happens next?

    • Based on the Limb Centre report, we decide whether we’ll fund the limb and contact you about the decision. If we approve the payment, the Limb Centre will fit you with your limb
    • If we decline your claim, we’ll tell you why
    • The Limb Centre also provides an ‘Artificial Limb Rehabilitation Plan’, which gives details of the type of limb that has been fitted, the consumables you will need and any follow-up appointments and treatment needed, such as physiotherapy
    • We add this information to your ACC individual plan, which is developed by you and your ACC client services contact and, if appropriate, your employer and treatment provider
    • We buy the limb directly from the Artificial Limb Service; there are no extra charges for you to pay. You are responsible for care of the limb. We cannot pay for repairs of an artificial limb damaged through abuse, misuse or neglect
    • We’ll pay for repairs costing less than $1,000 (excluding GST) without prior approval, allowing you to have minor repairs done quickly and without fuss.

      If the repair is more than $1,000, you have to get approval from us before the limb is repaired.

    If you are unhappy with a decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed. See What if I have problems with a claim?

    Related legislation

    Accident Compensation Act 2001

    Related websites

    Updated: 22 April 2016

    Reviewed: 21 March 2016