Review of a decision

If we've made a decision that you don't agree with, you can ask for a formal review.


You need to ask for a review within 3 months of the decision being made. After that time a review will happen only if there's a very good reason for the delay.

Fix it over the phone

If you don't think we have this right or there's something you don't understand, call us – we can usually fix it over the phone.

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You also have the right to ask us to review the decision formally.

Apply for a formal review

Apply for a Review of Decision within 3 months of the decision being made.

If you disagree with a decision made on medical grounds, eg your eligibility for a benefit based on your health condition or your capacity to work, you need to ask for a review of a medical decision

Who can apply for a Review of Decision

  • Your advocate or agent (who has signed permission to act on your behalf).
  • You as the person applying for a benefit.
  1. Apply for a Review of Decision

    You need to tell us the date you heard about the decision, what the decision was about and why you disagree with it. Here are the ways you can do this:

    You don't have to use legal language.

  2. Internal review

    We'll look again at the information you gave us, which we based our decision on, to see if we missed anything or made a mistake which means the outcome should be different.

    We may call you if we have any questions or need more information.

    Sometimes we contact other people to get more information during the internal review, for example, if it's a Sole Parent Support decision about who the main caregiver is for the child, we may contact the other parent to talk about the review and ask them who the main caregiver is.

  3. The outcome of the internal review

    We'll write to tell you whether the decision has been overturned or upheld. We aim to write to you within 2 weeks of receiving your request for a review.

    Decision is overturned

    You'll be asked to sign some forms to put the new arrangement in place. The review process stops here.

    Decision is upheld

    If we believe we made the right decision in the first place, we'll send a report to the Benefits Review Committee asking them to take a fresh look at your case.

  4. Benefits Review Committee hearing

    The Benefits Review Committee is made up of two people from the Ministry of Social Development who weren't involved in the decision being reviewed, and one other person appointed by the Minister for Social Development.

    Someone from the Committee will contact you to set a date for a hearing, so they can look at your case and make a decision on what happens next.

    The hearing is an informal meeting which takes about 40 minutes. We encourage you to attend so you can answer any questions or provide more information.

    You can bring a support person, advocate or lawyer with you. Or you can send a lawyer in your place.

  5. Benefits Review Committee report

    You'll get a report from the Committee letting you know what the final outcome is. They'll send this to you about 10 working days after the hearing.

    If the Committee agrees with you and the decision needs to be overturned, the service centre you've been dealing with will put things right.

  6. What if you still disagree?

    If you disagree with the Benefits Review Committee decision, you can appeal to the Social Security Appeal Authority. The authority is made up of people who work for the Ministry of Justice.

    The report you receive from the Benefits Review Committee will tell you how to lodge an appeal, or you can call 04 462 6660.

  • Can you apply late for a review?

    If you apply for a review more than 3 months after the decision you disagree with was made, you need to tell us the reason for the delay.

    The Benefits Review Committee will meet to consider your reasons for delay 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 application for review at any time. To do this you need to contact the Benefits Review Committee 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 unit or person that was dealing with the matter.


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