If you think Centrelink or DHS has made a decision about you that isn’t right, you can ask for the decision to be checked. This is called appealing the decision. Sometimes it can mean the decision will be changed. If you want support appealing a Centrelink decision, you can contact Social Security Rights Victoria (an advocacy group), the Youth Disability Advocacy Service or another advocate.
If a decision is changed after an appeal, you might get some of the money you missed out on because of the wrong decision. But you can generally only get this money (called ‘back payment’) if you appeal less than 13 weeks after you got the first decision in writing.
There are steps to take if you want a decision reviewed (checked).
First, you can ask for an internal review. This means that somebody at Centrelink who didn’t make the decision will check that it’s right. This person is called an Authorised Review Officer. If the decision is wrong, they can change it. You can ask for a review by calling Centrelink, visiting a Centrelink Office or sending in a Review of Centrelink Decision form. Make sure you say you want the decision reviewed by the Authorised Review Officer.
If you are still not happy with the decision, you have 28 days to ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to check it. You don’t need to pay anything to use these tribunals. But sometimes you might have to pay to get medical reports. You should get advice from Social Security Rights Victoria or a Community Legal Centre before you pay for a medical report.
If you are still not happy, you can take your case to court. You will generally need a lawyer to help you. You have the right to go to court, but remember that court cases and lawyers cost money.