Medical board hearing
If you don't agree with a decision we've made on medical grounds about your eligibility or obligations, you can ask the Medical Appeals Board to take a fresh look.
This independent body will review the impact of your medical condition on your capacity for work to see if the decision made was correct and fair.
You need to apply for a Medical Appeal Board hearing within 3 months of being told of our decision.
What you can appeal
When the benefit is: When the decision is about: whether you qualify for the benefit
(eg work obligations or drug testing obligations)
Child Disability Allowance √ × Jobseeker Support √ √
Supported Living Payment on the ground of health condition, injury or disability
(this includes countries where New Zealand has a Reciprocal Agreement under which clients can receive the Supported Living Payment)
√ √ Supported Living Payment on the ground of caring for a person requiring care × √ Sole Parent Support × √ Veteran's Pension, and you are under 65 years of age with a medical condition, injury or disability that is not related to your service √ × Partner of a person on a main benefit (eg, Jobseeker Support, Supported Living Payment, Sole Parent Support, Emergency Benefit) × √
What you can't appeal
You can't appeal:
- how much money you get if you're on a benefit, eg Disability Allowance
- whether you're eligible for a benefit based on reasons that aren't medical
- what supplementary payments or extra help you're entitled to.
For these decisions you need to follow the process for Review of a decision
A step by step guide to the medical appeal process
Try to resolve the issue with us first
Speak to your case manager or a Work and Income staff member about the decision you disagree with. We're keen to try and resolve things before you consider taking it to the Medical Appeals Board which will take time and commitment.
Complete a Medical Appeals Board hearing application
If you've talked through your concerns with us and you aren't happy with the outcome, you need to complete an application for a Medical Appeals Board hearing.
If you can't print the form we can send you a copy or you can pick one up at your local service centre.
When we receive your appeal application, we'll do an internal review involving a regional health and disability advisor or doctor.
We'll write to you to tell you the outcome of the review - usually within 2 weeks of receiving your application.
If we change our original decision, we'll let you know what this will mean for you.
An appeal goes to the Medical Appeals Board
If we think the original decision is correct, or part of it is correct, your appeal will be lodged with the Medical Appeals Board so a hearing can be held.
You'll be contacted by the Medical Appeals Board to arrange a suitable date for a hearing.
We'll then confirm with you the details of the hearing and also send you the report we have prepared for the Medical Appeals Board.
Attending the hearing
We encourage you to attend the hearing so you can present your case and hear the appeal being considered.
If you need help with transport costs to and from the hearing, we can help with this. If it's going to be difficult for you to attend, we might be able to help, eg arrange wheelchair access, an interpreter, or for you to take part by phone.
You can bring others with you, eg a support person, agent or lawyer. Let us know before the hearing if you want to bring someone with you.
What happens at a hearing
The hearing is a meeting lasting about an hour where the members of the Medical Appeals Board consider all the information used to make the original decision.
Before the hearing takes place we encourage you to give us and the board any further medical documents or evidence you'd like considered.
If you attend the hearing, we'll also attend to explain how the original decision was made. If you decide not to take part, we won't either.
The board may ask you to have another medical examination. We'll pay for this and any travel or related costs. If you don't want to be re-examined, you need to let the board know.
When a decision is made
No decision will be made at the Medical Appeals Board hearing. We'll write to you with the board's decision and send you a copy of its final report. This is generally about 3-4 weeks after the hearing.
We'll also explain any changes we'll need to make to your benefit because of the board's decision.
Sometimes the board will ask for more information, so getting a decision may take longer.
What if you still disagree?
The decision of the Medical Appeals Board is binding for you and us and there's no right of appeal. You can talk to us if you want something clarified.
Can you make a late appeal?
If it's more than 3 months since the Work and Income decision you disagree with was made, and you want to appeal, you need to tell us the reason for the delay.
If the reason for delay is a good one, the Medical Appeals Board will meet to consider this and may decide to go ahead with a hearing. If it doesn't think the reason is good enough, the original decision will stand.
What if you change your mind?
You can withdraw your appeal at any time. To do this you need to contact the Medical Appeals Board co-ordinator as soon as possible. You can find their phone number on the letter we sent you about the hearing, or you can call us on 0800 559 009 and we can put you in touch with the Work and Income service centre that was dealing with the matter.