You are here

Hearings and Decisions by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)




Nature of Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) hearings

The AAT is required, under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, to conduct proceedings with as little formality and technicality and with as much expedition as possible. There is no requirement for a person to be represented by a member of the legal profession at an appeal and claimants may represent themselves if they wish. The AAT's hearings are generally open to the public, although the hearing can be closed by the AAT to receive confidential information.

Proximity of Tribunal hearings

The Tribunal generally sits in the capital city nearest to the appellant's home but also sits elsewhere in Australia. Where appropriate, hearings may be conducted using telephone conference facilities.

Options available to the AAT

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, requires the AAT to stand in the shoes of the original decision maker and make a decision taking account of all the evidence that is available up to the date that it hands down its decision. This means that the applicant can bring forward material that was not put to the original decision maker.

When hearing a case, the AAT has the power to:

  • uphold a decision,
  • vary a decision,
  • substitute its own decision for that of the Commission, or
  • direct the Commission to reconsider the matter in accordance with any directions or recommendations that it makes. The case is then referred to a primary delegate for decision. The right of review under the VEA is again afforded to the applicant.
Right of review for reconsidered decision

A decision made by the Commission in accordance with s57 of the VEA of is considered to be a decision made at the primary level, and carries a right of review to the AAT, of which the claimant or pensioner must be informed.    

More ?

AAT decisions only affect individual cases

Decisions of the AAT are not binding on DVA except in the individual case. Delegates must apply the law in the light of the policy laid down by the Repatriation Commission.

Effective dates of payment



Where the application for review has been lodged within the three months time limit, and the AAT:

  • grants:
  • varies the rate of pension payable,

the effective date of grant or variation cannot be earlier than the date that Commission could have set at the time of its primary determination. The effective date may be later if the application for review is lodged after the expiration of the three months time limit.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal.



Administrative Appeals Tribunal.



According to Section 179 of the VEA, the Commission is a body corporate under the name of Repatriation Commission.



Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.



The CSHC is intended to assist those retirees and other eligible veterans, war widow(er)s and their partners of pension age who fail to qualify for an income support pension from DVA or a pension or benefit from Centrelink. The card entitles the holder to pharmaceuticals listed on the PBS at a concessional rate and seniors supplement.