Home | Browse Topics | Jobs, benefits & flats | Dealing with Work and Income | Going to a Benefit Review Committee

Jobs, benefits & flats

Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals

Going to a Benefit Review Committee

Social Security Act 2018, ss 391–394, Sched 7

Except for decisions reviewed by Medical Appeal Boards, reviews of Work and Income decisions are heard by Benefit Review Committees.

A Benefit Review Committee is made up of:

  • two Work and Income staff members (they can’t be from the same service centre as the original decision-maker), and
  • a community representative appointed by the Minister of Social Development.

Before the review hearing

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 for the Benefit Review Committee and a hearing will be scheduled. The hearing should happen within four weeks after you applied for the review.

You’ll be sent a copy of Work and Income’s report so that you can prepare and present a response at the Committee’s hearing.

What happens at a Benefit Review Committee hearing?

You can bring a support person, a benefit-rights advocate or a lawyer to the hearing with you if you want. You can also have a lawyer appear for you if you don’t want to go yourself.

A Benefit Review Committee hearing is a formal process where a Work and Income representative presents their case, and then you (or your advocate or lawyer) respond. Committee members can ask questions. After the formal part, everyone except the Committee members leaves and the Committee makes its decision.

Usually the hearing is held in the Work and Income service centre that you usually go to.

The Benefit Review Committee should notify you of its decision within two weeks after the hearing.

Can I appeal a decision of a Benefit Review Committee?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 395–399

Yes. If you’re not satisfied with the Committee’s decision, you can appeal to the Social Security Appeal Authority, see below, “Right of appeal to independent Tribunal: Going to the Social Security Appeal Authority”.

Did this answer your question?

Dealing with Work and Income

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and, depending on your situation, may be able to provide ongoing support.

Work and Income


Phone: 0800 559 009

This website contains information about who qualifies for the different benefits and payments and how to apply for them.

Benefit rates

For information about the benefit rates that apply from 1 April 2021, visit:


Beneficiary advocacy groups

There’s likely to be an advocacy group for beneficiaries in your area. Look for them online. If you’re not able to find one, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (see below).

Auckland Action Against Poverty


Phone: (09) 634 0591

AAAP provides a free advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income. They have also published a 30-page “Beneficiary Rights Booklet”, which you can download from their ‘Resources’ page.

Address: 120 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Email: advocates@aaap.org.nz

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone: 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)

Every Citizens Advice Bureau has volunteers who can provide information, particularly on where to access beneficiary advocacy services.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top