A person can appeal to the Social Services and Child Support Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) against any decision by an authorised review officer [see Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth) s 142]. As there are two levels of review available this is referred to as a 'first review'.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is completely independent of Centrelink. Its primary purpose is to review decisions made by Centrelink and the Child Support Agency (both now part of the Commonwealth Department of Human Services) and make a determination on whether they have been made correctly. Its decisions are binding on both parties. Either party to can lodge a further appeal to the General Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a 'second review' if they do not agree with the decision.
In reviewing the decision the AAT will have regard to the information supplied to it by Centrelink and that supplied by the person seeking the review. Whether or not Centrelink have made the correct decision will depend on whether they have followed the Social Security legislation.
You can only apply for an AAT review if you have completed the internal review process, see Internal review. To apply for an AAT review you will need to contact the Administrative Appeals Tribunal . You can apply for a review over the phone or in person, but it is better to do it in writing.
Review by the AAT is usually done by a hearing. These hearings are fairly informal and either yourself, or someone on your behalf, can present your version of events to the tribunal.
Following the hearing the AAT will provide you with a written statement of their decision, outlining the reasons for it.
If you are considering appealing to the AAT it is a good idea to get some independent advice from either the Uniting Communities Law Centre or the Legal Services Commission. Furthermore you should consider making a Freedom of Information application for a copy of your file, see How to make a request to Centrelink for your file.
In order to be eligible for any back pay to which you may be entitled, you must appeal within 13 weeks after receiving notification of the decision.
If you are unhappy with the decision of the AAT, or the AAT agreed with the decision of Centrelink, you can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a 'second review', see Review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Second Review).
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.