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Reviews Under Section 31
What is a section 31 review?
When can a section 31 review be requested?
- it is still within the time limits for application for VRB or AAT review, (i.e., within 12 months of a VRB decision for a VRB review of a decision relating to eligibility for a pension and within three months otherwise), or
- an application has been made to the VRB or AAT for a review, and
- the VRB or AAT has not yet made a determination.
It is not the usual practice of the Commission to have a matter before the AAT referred back for section 31 review.
When can a section 31 review be made without a request?
The Commission can review decisions under section 31 without a request from the pensioner in certain circumstances. These include:
- a manifest error in the date approved by the VRB in its decision substituting a Commission decision,
- a decision the Commission made with evidence before it that was false,
- where the Commission is satisfied that disability pension or attendant allowance should be cancelled, suspended or is higher or less than it should be, and
- where the Commission is satisfied that the rate of pension payable to a veteran is higher than it should be because the degree of incapacity for accepted conditions for war caused injury or disease is less than 10%.
Section 31 review does not preclude VRB review
Applicants may seek review under both section 31 and from the VRB if they wish to do so. A decision made under section 31 does not remove the right of the applicant to proceed to a VRB hearing on the matter, but in many instances this will be unnecessary. To protect later review rights of the claimant, a VRB application is sought at the same time as the section 31 application.
Section 31 review at the discretion of the Commission
Whether the Commission conducts a section 31 review is at the Commission's discretion. If the Commission refuses or fails to review a decision under section 31, neither the VRB nor the AAT can review that refusal or failure to review.
Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal.