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Communtity Law Manual | Work & Income | Challenging medical assessments: Going to a Medical Appeal Board

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

Benefit decisions that involve medical assessments are reviewed by a Medical Appeal Board. This includes decisions about whether you’re entitled to:

  • Jobseeker Support on the ground of sickness, injury or disability (the old Sickness Benefit)
  • a Supported Living Payment on the ground of sickness, injury or disability (the old Invalid’s Benefit)
  • a Child Disability Allowance.

Medical Appeal Boards also hear challenges to assessments of whether you’re able to carry out certain obligations – like part-time work obligations or work preparation obligations – while you’re:

  • on Jobseeker Support, either because of sickness, injury or disability, or because you’re unemployed
  • on Sole Parent Support
  • on a Supported Living Payment, either because of sickness, injury or disability, or because you’re caring for someone at home
  • a partner of someone who’s on one of the main benefits.

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’re unhappy 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 (although you can appeal 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” in the chapter, “Dealing with government agencies”).

A Medical Appeal Board’s decision will no longer be binding if your medical condition changes.

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