Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals
What kinds of Work and Income decisions can I challenge?
Work and Income make hundreds of decisions a week, and not all of them are correct. Any decision made by a Work and Income staff member can be challenged and their decision can be reviewed, for example:
- declining your request for a benefit (including a main benefit, supplementary assistance, or hardship assistance)
- setting the start date of your benefit
- setting the level of supplementary or hardship assistance
- any change Work and Income makes to your rate or payment (for example charging income)
- reducing your benefit (a “sanction”) on the alleged grounds that you failed the work test, or didn’t declare income, or are in a relationship with someone.
Tip: You should always ask for a decision to be given to you in writing (a letter or an email) because you need the decision in writing before you can challenge it. Sometimes, Work and Income will tell you that you are not eligible for something, but will not provide you with the decision in writing, which means they have not formally ‘declined’ your request for assistance.
How do I apply for a review?
You can either:
- complete a Review of Decision Application form (available from: workandincome.govt.nz/documents/forms/review-of-decision-application-form.pdf), or
- simply write Work and Income a letter, stating the decision you’re challenging and why you’re challenging it.
When you apply for a review, you can add any extra information (for example, further medical evidence) that might support your claim.
How long do I have to apply for a review?
You can apply for a review of decision anytime, but if it is more than three months after you were notified of the decision, you must provide a ‘good and sufficient’ reason for the delay in requesting a review. For example, you didn’t understand the decision until talking with a lawyer or advocate.
What happens after I apply for a review?
After you apply for the review, Work and Income will first carry out an internal review of the decision. The staff member who made the decision will prepare a report for the manager of the relevant service centre to consider.
If this internal review does not change the decision, Work and Income will prepare a report and a hearing will be scheduled. The hearing will either be with a Benefit Review Committee, or a Medical Appeal Board (if the decision was based around a medical assessment).
You’ll be sent a copy of Work and Income’s report so that you can prepare and present a response at the hearing.
The hearing should happen within four weeks after you applied for the review.