Reviews and appeals of a Centrelink decision

You have the right to ask us to review a decision we've made about your Centrelink payment.

To request a review of a Child Support decision, read about objections to Child Support decisions.

Your review rights

If you think a decision about your Centrelink payment is incorrect, you should contact us. We will check the details and explain our decision.

And, if you still think the decision is incorrect, you can ask us to review the decision and if applicable, ask us to pause debt repayments until we complete your review.

You can also have further review rights by:

  • applying to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of the decision we made, and
  • submitting an appeal of the AAT's decision with the Federal Court

Ask for a full explanation

Contact us for a full explanation of our decision. We'll check the details and thoroughly explain to you how we made the decision. This gives you a chance to correct any misunderstandings and present new information.

Request an internal review

You can ask for a review if you think the decision is incorrect. An independent Authorised Review Officer will review the decision.

Ask for a review by:

Timeframes for requesting a review

Decisions about your debt

You can ask us to review our decision about your debt at any time, except debt for ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children payments. You can also ask us to pause your debt repayments until our review is complete.

If the review finds you owe less money and you have no other outstanding debt, we will refund the money you have repaid.

Decisions about a claim or entitlement

You should ask for a review of a decision about your claim or entitlement within 13 weeks from when we tell you about the decision. If you make a request after 13 weeks, and we can change it, you may only get your entitlement from the date you requested the review.

Decisions about Family Tax Benefit

You should ask for a review about some Family Tax Benefit within 52 weeks from when we tell you about the decision.

Decisions about ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme

You should ask for a review of debt from ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children within 3 months from when we tell you about the decision. There is no time limit to ask for a review of other ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children decisions.

If you think the Authorised Review Officer’s decision is incorrect, you may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of their decision.

Where you can’t apply to the AAT, you can seek a review from the Minister for Social Services. You'll need to request a review by writing to the Minister and sending it to:

Branch Manager
Work and Study Payments
Department of Social Services
GPO Box 9820
Canberra ACT 2601

Decisions about Paid Parental Leave scheme

Parents

If you are a parent, you should ask for a review of your Paid Parental Leave scheme decision within 28 days after the day we make the decision. You can't request a review of a decision about who provides your Parental Leave Pay or dispute resolution matters.

Employers

There are different rules for employers. The Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit provides information about reviews and time limits for employers.

Decisions about rural ex-gratia payments

We administer a range of rural programs including payments not covered by legislation. These include:

  • Climate Change Adjustment Program
  • interim income support payment
  • Transitional Income Support
  • Professional Advice and Planning Grant
  • Small Block Irrigators Exit Grant Package, and
  • Exceptional Circumstances Exit Grant

While we can review decisions about these payments, you may not be able to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision.

If you're not happy with the review outcome, you can make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman considers if our decision or actions were fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

Read more about how to make a complaint on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

If you think the Authorised Review Officer’s decision is incorrect, you may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of their decision.

AAT process

The AAT is an independent tribunal. They have the power to change decisions but only according to the law and only after an Authorised Review Officer has reviewed the case.

There may be a different process for reviews and appeals about:

There are 2 levels of review by the AAT. If you disagree with the outcome of the AAT's first review, you may be able to apply for a second AAT review. You should make an application for a second AAT review within 28 days of getting the first AAT review decision.

Applying to the AAT

You should make an application to the AAT within 13 weeks of us telling you about the Authorised Review Officer’s decision.

If you apply after 13 weeks, and we change the decision, you may only get your entitlement from the date you applied for the review.

Read more about requesting a review of decision by the AAT.

After you've submitted an application with the AAT, we'll submit a statement of reasons for the decision and relevant departmental documents to the AAT. You'll also get a copy of our statement and documents.

Decisions made by the AAT are binding on both you and us. Either of us may appeal a second AAT decision to the courts, but only on a question of law.

How much it costs

There’s no charge to make an application to the AAT. However, we won't assist you with the costs of pursuing a review by the AAT. The AAT can’t award you costs if you're successful and, we won’t ask you to pay our costs if you aren't successful.

Legal assistance

You can, but don’t have to, have your own legal representative if you seek a review of a decision.

Free advice and assistance is available from the:

Claiming compensation from us

If you think we've made a mistake that has caused you a financial loss or other harm, you may be able to claim compensation. This doesn't apply if you seek a review of the decision.

Page last updated: 27 August 2017