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What happens after I lodge my application?

We send you a confirmation letter explaining what will happen next.

We also notify other parties to the review that we have received the application. As well as you, the parties are:

  • Centrelink
  • in some cases, another person affected by the decision, such as the other parent or carer of the child in a review of a family assistance care percentage decision.

You can look at the Guide to Social Services and Related Jurisdiction for more information about what happens after you lodge the application. You can also watch our video guide.

If representing yourself, we will usually call you within 6 weeks after we receive the application to explain the review process and ask whether you need additional assistance, such as an interpreter.

What if we cannot review the decision?

We will write to you and give you a chance to tell us why you think we can review the decision. If you do not respond or cannot show us that we can review the decision, we might dismiss the application. Sometimes a hearing is held to decide if we can review the decision.

Does the decision continue to operate during the review?

The decision will usually continue to operate during the review. In some cases, you or Centrelink might want to ask us for an order which ‘stays’ (suspends) the operation or implementation of the decision until the second review is finalised.

For example:

  • if, on first review, we decided that you must repay a Centrelink debt, you can apply to us to stop Centrelink from recovering the debt while we are reviewing the decision;
  • if, on first review, we decided that you are entitled to a pension, Centrelink can apply to us to stop payment of the pension while we are reviewing the decision.

You or Centrelink can use the Request for stay order form to ask for a stay order.

Documents relevant to the review

T documents

Centrelink will send us the decision and all relevant review documents within 28 days after being told the application has been received. These are called ‘T documents’.

T documents will also be sent to you and any other party.

T documents are provided under section 37 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.

Confidential T documents

Centrelink can ask the AAT for a direction that certain information within the T documents is not to be disclosed to you or any other party. You can also ask the AAT for a direction if there is information you do not want a party other than Centrelink to see. We will consider any application and tell you our decision.

Request the T documents earlier

You can ask for the T documents to be provided earlier if a delay would cause you hardship. You must complete the Request for order to shorten time for lodging documents form. We will consider any request and tell you our decision. 

Giving us new information

You can give us new information that you think supports your case.

Confidentiality orders

In limited circumstances, we can order that:

  • the hearing is held in private
  • the name or address of a party or witness, or other information that we hold, be kept confidential
  • a written decision is not made public.

You or another party can ask for a confidentiality order at any stage of the review by telling us in writing what it is that you want to be kept confidential and why.

We will only make a confidentiality order if we are satisfied there is a good reason for doing so.

Alternative dispute resolution

We use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to:

  • talk with the parties to the review about the decision and the issues in dispute
  • if possible help the parties reach an agreed outcome before a hearing
  • if an agreed outcome cannot be reached, prepare for a hearing.

We will usually hold a conference first. Many cases are resolved without the need for a hearing.

You can check the Alternative dispute resolution guidelines for more information.

Directions hearing

We might decide to hold a directions hearing by telephone or in person at the AAT's offices to talk about any issue in the review. This could happen if you or Centrelink request it, or if we decide it is necessary.


If the review is not resolved at an earlier stage, we will usually hold a hearing.

The hearing is an opportunity for you to present information and talk about why you disagree with the Centrelink decision under review.