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Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals

Challenging medical assessments: Going to a Medical Appeal Board

What decisions are reviewed by a Medical Appeal Board?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 411–415

Any decisions that involve medical assessments are reviewed by a Medical Appeal Board. This includes decisions about whether you’re entitled to a benefit, or whether you have to carry out certain obligations.

Decisions that involve medical assessments include:

  • whether you can get Jobseeker Support, either because:
    • you’re unable to look for full-time work because your ability to work is limited by a health condition, or
    • you’re currently employed, but because of a health condition, you’re not currently working or you’re working at a reduced level
  • whether you can get a Supported Living Payment on medical grounds
  • whether you can get a Child Disability Allowance based on your child’s health condition
  • whether or not you’ll be expected to carry out certain obligations, such as:

Who sits on a Medical Appeal Board?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 411–415

A Medical Appeal Board is made up of three health professionals who are appointed by Work and Income and who have no connection with you. They can be doctors or other health professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists or occupational therapists.

What happens at a Medical Appeal Board hearing?

The Board will hold a hearing, which you and a support person or representative can attend. You can present whatever evidence you want at the hearing as well as explaining in person why you disagree with the decision and answering any questions the Board might have. The hearings usually last about one hour.

Work and Income present a written report to the Board. If you go to the hearing, a representative from Work and Income will also be there.

Can I appeal a decision of a Medical Appeal Board?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 395–399

No. You can’t appeal a Medical Appeal Board’s decision to the Social Security Appeal Authority (unlike decisions of Benefit Review Committees).

However, you can challenge the decision on limited grounds by applying to the High Court for a judicial review (see: “Challenging decisions and conduct of government agencies”).

A Medical Appeal Board’s decision will no longer be binding if your medical condition changes. In that case, you could reapply for the benefit with your new circumstance.

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Dealing with Work and Income

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)

See Work and Income’s website for information on whether you qualify for a benefit and how to apply for them.

Website: www.workandincome.govt.nz
Phone:  0800 559 009

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP)

AAAP is a free nationwide advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income.

Website: www.aaap.org.nz
Email: advocates@aaap.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/aucklandactionagainstpoverty
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAAPNZ/

Helpful resources for beneficiaries: www.aaap.org.nz/resources

Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Services (BAIS)

BAIS provides free advocacy and support for beneficiaries and low-income families in Auckland’s North Shore, Rodney and Hibiscus Coast districts.

Website: www.bais.org.nz
Phone: 09 444 9543
Instagram: www.instagram.com/bais.northshoreandrodney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BAISnorthshoreandrodey   

Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust (HV BEST)

The HV BEST provides information and support to beneficiaries in the Hutt Valley. 

Website: www.hvbest.co.nz
Email: hvbest@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 04 529 8108

Beneficiaries & Unwaged Workers Trust (BUWT)

BUWT provides information, advice and support to people on low incomes in Nelson.

Website: www.buwt.wordpress.com
Email: buwtcs@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 03 548 8171
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/282105670089970/?locale=pt_PT

Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

The BAS provides information and support to beneficiaries in Christchurch.

Website: www.bas.org.nz
Email: bas.cprc@gmail.com
Phone: 0800 00 00 43
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeneficiaryAdvisoryService

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB provides free, confidential and independent information and advice. See CAB’s website for valuable information on a range of topics.

Website: www.cab.org.nz
Phone: 0800 367 222
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/citizensadvicenz

Find your local CAB office: www.cab.org.nz/find-a-cab

Zero Data

Zero Data is a new digital support that allows anyone with a mobile device, phone or tablet to access essential Government information for free. No data is used.

Website: www.zero.govt.nz

What do I need do I need for it to work?

  •  The device is on.
  •  The device is connected to Spark, Skinny One NZ, 2Degrees, Slingshot or Orcon.

You can access information from the following agencies:

  • Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora | Ministry of Social Development
  • Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education
  • Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs
  • Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand
  • Kāinga Ora | Homes & Communities
  • Te Tāhū o te Ture | Ministry of Justice
  • Te Kaporeihana Āwhina Hunga Whara | Accident Compensation Corporation

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