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Complaints about an income support or pension decision

Review of Decision

The Review of Decision process is what happens when you disagree with a decision the Ministry has made about your income support, pension or an application you have made.

These information sheets and flowchart detail the process:

How to start the Review of Decision process

It's always a good idea to speak to the Ministry staff member who made the decision you disagree with first. If this does not work, you can apply for a Review of Decision.

If you apply for a Review of Decision, include the date you heard about the decision, what the decision was about and why you disagree with it. You don't have to use legal language.

Here are the ways you can apply:

  • fill in a Review of Decision Application Form and send it or take it to your local Work and Income service centre
  • submit your enquiry online – open the dropdown menu and choose ‘Review of Decision’
  • post a letter or email to your nearest Work and Income service centre.

If you apply late for a review

Usually, you need to apply for a Review of Decision within 3 months of a decision being made. We can accept later applications if there's a good and sufficient 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 your reason is good enough, the original decision will stand.

Reasons for delay could include:

  • you were unwell
  • your health condition, disability or stress impacted you
  • problems related to your language (e.g. not reading or understanding English)
  • you didn't have access to the information you needed
  • you didn't understand the decision and have now got advice from an advocate or lawyer
  • waiting until a criminal prosecution related to this decision progressed.

You may have other reasons for the delay. It's important you tell us about them so we can consider it at the hearing.

Decisions heard by the Medical Appeals Board

If you don’t agree with a decision made by the Ministry on medical grounds, generally your appeal will be heard by the Medical Appeals Board.

Getting free legal and benefit advice in your region

These are information sheets about organisations that you can go to for free, independent legal and benefit advice.

They have been broken down regionally.

Information for trespassed clients

Information for people who have been served a Trespass Notice from one or more Ministry of Social Development offices.

Advocacy groups

An advocate deals with the Ministry on someone's behalf; they can only do what the person they represent has said they can do. This consent must be in writing unless the person is present with the advocate.

What if you still disagree?

If you have been through the above process and received your Report from the Benefits Review Committee and you would like to take your case further you can go to the Social Security Appeal Authority.

The Authority is an independent judicial tribunal made up of people who do not work for the Ministry of Social Development.

Whats new


Information for those involved with Benefits Review Committees

Information pack for community representative

Aug 2022

Panel members decision checklist

Jun 2019

Community representative role description

Jun 2019

Expense claim form

Oct 2018

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