Reviews and appeals of a Centrelink decision

If we’ve made a decision you don’t understand or agree with, you can ask for a review.

Review rights and process

1. Talk to us

If you don’t understand or agree with a Centrelink decision, please contact us. We’ll check the decision, explain why we made the decision and correct any errors. We may be able to resolve things quickly without you having to go through a formal review. A discussion explaining a decision is not a formal review.

2. Ask for a formal review

If you still disagree with the outcome, you can ask us to review the decision.

You can ask for a review by:

You can return the form and any supporting documents online or by post to:

Centrelink
Reply Paid 7800
Canberra BC ACT 2610

However, if you get ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children you need to complete a different form. You need to fill in the ABSTUDY and Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Review of Decision form. You can return it to us using the details listed on the form.

An Authorised Review Officer will action your request for review. They are independent officers who can change the decision if it’s wrong, but only according to the law.

There is no fee for a formal review.

Timeframes for requesting a review

Decisions about a debt

You can ask us to review our decision about your debt at any time. However, this doesn’t apply to a debt for ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children payments. There’s a time limit for these debts.

You can ask us to pause your debt repayments until our review is complete. You can do this when you ask us to review our decision.

The review may find you owe less money. If that’s the case and you have no other outstanding debt, we’ll refund the money you’ve repaid.

Decisions about a claim or entitlement

You can ask us to review our decision about a claim or entitlement. You should do this within 13 weeks from the date we tell you about the decision. You can still request a review after 13 weeks. However, if we can change the decision, you may only get your entitlement from the date you request the review.

Decisions about Family Tax Benefit payments

You can ask for a review about most Family Tax Benefit decisions. You should do this within 52 weeks from the date we tell you about the decision.

You can request a review of a decision based on your estimated family income. But not until after the end of that financial year.

Decisions about Child Care Subsidy

For Child Care Subsidy decisions there are 2 timeframes depending on the type of decision. You should ask for a review of activity test decisions within 28 days of a change in your activity.

For other decisions, you should ask for a review within 13 weeks from when we tell you about the decision.

Decisions about Paid Parental Leave scheme

Parents

You can ask for a review of your Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay decision. You should do this within 28 days after the day we make the decision.

You cannot request a review of a decision about who provides your Parental Leave Pay or dispute resolution matters.

Employers

There are different rules for employers who want to ask for a review. The Paid Parental Leave Scheme Employer Toolkit has information about reviews and time limits for employers.

Decisions about ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme

You can ask for a review of a decision about ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme payments.

If the decision is about the recovery of a debt, you have limited time to request a review. You must request a review within 3 months from the date we tell you about the decision. If you disagree with the review, you may ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review it.

If the decision isn’t about a debt, you can ask for a review at any time. If you disagree with the outcome of the review, you may ask the Minister for Social Services to review it. To do this, you 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

Only use this address to ask for a review relating to ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If you disagree with the Authorised Review Officer’s decision, you can ask the AAT to review it. You can also ask us to pause your debt repayments until the AAT’s review is complete.

The AAT is an independent tribunal. They can change decisions but only according to the law and after an Authorised Review Officer reviews the decision.

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

When to apply to the AAT

Decisions about Paid Parental Leave Scheme

You can ask the AAT to review a decision. You should do this within 28 days from the date of the Authorised Review Officer’s decision.

Decisions about other payments

You can ask the AAT to review a decision. You should do this within 13 weeks from the date of the Authorised Review Officer’s decision.

You can still request a review after 13 weeks. However, if the AAT changes the decision, you may only get your entitlement from the date you request the review.

How to apply to the AAT

To apply for an AAT review of a decision, go to the AAT website. You need to follow their instructions.

After you submit an application, we’ll send the AAT a statement. It will contain the reasons for the decision and relevant departmental documents. You'll also get a copy of our statement and documents.

There are 2 levels of review by the AAT.

You may disagree with the outcome of the AAT's first review. If you do, 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 receiving the first AAT review decision.

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.

Costs

For some types of decisions, there may be an AAT application fee.

We’re unable to assist you with the costs of pursuing a review by the AAT. The AAT is also unable to award you costs if you’re successful. We don’t ask you to pay our costs if you’re unsuccessful.

Read more about applying for an AAT review of a decision on the AAT website.

Legal assistance

You can choose to have your own legal representative if you seek a review of a decision.

Free advice and assistance is available from the:

Compensation claims

In some cases you may be able to claim compensation. This is if you think we've made a mistake that has caused you a financial loss or other harm. You should explore options such as review or appeal before you consider a claim. Keep in mind that time limits may apply to lodging an appeal.

Read more about claiming compensation from us.

Page last updated: 31 May 2019

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