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9.1 Overview

9.1.1The avenues of review available to clients if they are dissatisfied with departmental decisions or administrative practices include:

  • Decisions subject to review specified in the VEA
  • decision made by a delegate of the Commission to grant, vary, reduce or cancel disability pension, war widow's/widower's pension or attendant allowance, with further right of review to the VRB and AAT
  • determination made by a delegate of the Commission to vary, cancel or suspend an income support pension, with further appeal to the AAT
  • decision made in respect of an application for certain Part VI allowances or other benefits, with further right of review to the AAT
  • decisions concerning income support supplementary benefits such as the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, with further right of review to the AAT.
  • Decisions on social security age pension subject to review under Social Security Law
  • the review guidelines contained within the Guide to Social Security Law. DVA employees act as delegated agents of Centrelink. Further right of review is available through the SSAT and the AAT.
  • Higher Courts
  • adverse decisions of the AAT may be appealed to the Federal Court on a question of law, with further appeal to the Full Court. Special leave application may then be made to the High Court.
  • Other Avenues of Review
  • representation to the Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • application to the Federal Court under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

The review process differs for income support, disability and social security pensions. This chapter contains information on each process. Recovery of a debt is not affected by the review process, although negotiating a repayment may be difficult where a request for review is pending. Legal proceedings and garnishee action should not be commenced until the review has been finalised. Limiting the pension by the limitation rate is an appropriate course of action where a retrospective decision to reduce is the subject of a request for review.