What support can I get?

Survivor's grant

A survivor’s grant is a one-off payment to a spouse, children and other dependants of someone whose death was the result of an injury caused by an accident. Payments are non-taxable and are calculated based on the date of death.

What do I need to do to get help?

We understand this can be a very difficult time, so we do everything we can to make claiming simple.

  • The first step is to contact the nearest ACC office and make a claim. For more information about making a claim, see Injury causing death
  • Our staff are understanding, flexible and will help you to make the claim and collect the information required
  • Someone outside the immediate family can make the claim, eg a friend, member of your extended family and whānau, the funeral director, or your minister or priest. The ACC21 application form must be signed by the executor of the estate or next of kin
  • We have Māori, Pacific and Asian advisors who can provide support and help.

How am I eligible?

Before we can make any payments we have to confirm the death is covered by ACC. After we’ve confirmed that a claim for accidental death is acceptable, we’ll need to confirm your status as a spouse, child or other dependant.

How does ACC decide if I am a spouse?

We consider a spouse someone who was legally married or living with the deceased in a relationship in the nature of a marriage. They also need to be:

  • financially supported by the deceased immediately prior to the death
  • living with the deceased immediately prior to the injury (unless separated due to imprisonment, employment or health problems).

Note:
We recognise that by this definition the deceased may have had more than one spouse at the time of their death. The survivor’s grant is divided equally between all eligible spouses.

Example:
If the deceased had separated from a marriage and was living in a de facto relationship with another partner, while still financially supporting their previous partner, both may be considered spouses. The survivor’s grant would be split equally between both spouses.

How do we decide who are the children of the deceased?

We consider the nature of the relationship of the deceased with a child to determine if they were a parent. Children need to be under 18 years at the time of death and either:

  • the natural, or biological, children of the deceased
  • an adopted child of the deceased
  • a foster child, stepchild or other child for whom the deceased acted as a parent.

How does ACC decide who other dependants are?

We recognise other dependants as people who were not a spouse or child of the deceased but who were financially dependent on the deceased because of mental or physical disability.

Example:
If the deceased had a son who was over 18, but the son was financially dependent on the deceased due to being mentally disabled, then ACC would consider the son as an other dependant.

  • Important:
    The help you may get depends on your individual circumstances. Contact us to confirm if you are eligible, or to identify other ways in which we can help.


Confirming your relationship with the deceased

We’ll also need to confirm your relationship with the deceased. The table below shows the sort of information ACC may need.

If you are claiming as a….

then we may ask for…

spouse – legally married and living together at date of death

a copy of the marriage certificate or civil union licence

spouse – de facto relationship and living together at date of death

a statutory declaration from yourself and friends or family members, about the nature of your relationship

copies of your financial records and assets, eg bank statements, bill payments to prove joint financial interdependence

details of your living arrangements, eg who you lived with and how long you were living together

confirmation from employers or GPs that you were listed as next of kin

spouse who was not living with the deceased because of employment obligations

the information for a spouse as above

confirmation from the employer or training institution

spouse who was not living with the deceased because of health obligations

the information for a spouse as above

information from your medical practitioner that you were not able to live together due to your or your spouse’s health

spouse who was not living with the deceased because of imprisonment

the information for a spouse as above

confirmation from the Department of Corrections

child by birth

a full birth certificate with the deceased named as a parent

child by adoption

adoption papers showing date of birth and the deceased as an adopting parent

stepchild – child of surviving partner

a full birth certificate

marriage certificate of parents if applicable or de facto information as above

proof that the deceased acted as a parent (normally a statutory declaration from relevant people to confirm the deceased acted as a parent)

child of the deceased not by birth, adoption or marriage

a full birth certificate

proof that the deceased acted as a parent (normally a statutory declaration from relevant people to confirm the deceased acted as a parent)

other dependant

details of why you were financially dependent, that is, whether your mental or physical disability made you dependent

documentation to show that you were financially dependent on the deceased

medical confirmation of your medical or physical disability

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

ACC will generally decide your claim as soon as we have all the information we need to establish your relationship with the deceased. If you claim is likely to be delayed we’ll contact you to discuss.

Contact us if you have not heard from us within a reasonable period of time.

What happens next?

Once we have confirmed your eligibility we’ll write to you to advise you of our decision. If you are eligible we’ll make a payment either by direct debit into your bank account or by cheque if we have no bank account details. If you are not eligible we’ll write to you and tell you why.

When someone dies as a result of an injury there are other ways that ACC may be able to help, see:

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

Related legislation

Accident Compensation (AC) Act 2001

Updated: 28 April 2015

Reviewed: 24 April 2015