Appealing A DecisionIf Centrelink continues to assess you as a sharer after you purchase the "changing your situation" document, and alter your circumstances appeal the decision. Point out your new circumstances to Centrelink. This should be enough to win the appeal. If they still want to argue this point contact me and I will help you to appeal the decision (if I have the time). I will also help you with any additional higher level appeals listed below (again, if I have the time).
Lodging an appealAppeals/Reviews should (if possible) always be requested in writing. The reason for this is that there is actual physical evidence of the request and the date it was requested). If possible take it to your Regional Office and get it date stamped and keep a copy with the date stamp on it for you files. Now, having said that, an appeal/review does not have to be requested in writing. Appeals can be can also be requested in person, by phone, fax, or e-mail etc. If you do this make sure that it is noted somewhere on your Centrelink file to prove that it has been lodged. Note down the name of the person you talk to (and get a receipt number if you talk to a call center).
The levels of appeal are:• Original Decision Maker (O.D.M.) Appeal/Review: The person who made the original decision goes over the decision again to see if it was correct. Errors are rare, but they do happen. If you want to be back-paid, then you need to request this within three months of the original decision.
• Special Circumstances Appeal/Review: These reviews under section 1184 of the Social Security Act of 1991 and are where a clients own individual special circumstances can be taken into account. "The special circumstances provision will be applied only in highly unusual, unforeseen and exceptional circumstances when it is considered that the application of the normal compensation provisions will result in an outcome which could lead to extreme hardship or create an inequitable situation." (to quote a S1184 Letter). If you want to be back-paid, then you need to request this within three months of the previous appeal/review or, if that did not happen, within three months of the original decision.
• Authorised Review Officer (A.R.O.) Appeal/Review: For these type of reviews the paper files and any other material needed are sent outside the section that made the original decision. The review is then completed by an independent Authorised Review Officer that has not previously dealt with the matter, and a decision handed down. If you want to be back-paid, then you need to request this within three months of the previous appeal/review or, if that did not happen, within three months of the original decision.
• Social Security Appeals Tribunal (S.S.A.T.): The Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) is independent of Centre link and it can look at your case To request an appeal call the SSAT or complete and post a green appeal form (included with a letter from the ARO) If you wish to be back-paid, then you need to request an appeal within three months of the date you received your ARO letter.
• Administrative Appeals Tribunal (A.A.T.): Lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) - if you wish to be back-paid, then you need to request an appeal within 28 days from the day after you received the SSAT decision
• Supreme Court:
Appeals rarely go beyond the level of A.R.O. as people usually give up or get what they want by then. If you think that a Centrelink decision is wrong (debt etc.) you may as well appeal to get the decision checked again. Although most decisions will stand a small proportion will be reduced or waived (raised incorrectly or under the wrong legislation). The chances of a debt being increased do exist but are small. If you do have a current debt and your financial circumstances are poor contact Centrelink and apply for the debt to be repaid over time at a rate that you can afford.
The Legal Services Commission of South Australia has more produced a "Law Handbook". The law book contains a hell of a lot of useful information. There is a large section on Centrelink called "Pensions, Allowances and Payments" (I recommend reading it). The information relating to lodging an appeal is much more detailed than the brief description above.
Some of the relevant Centrelink related subjects include: