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Tribunal: Senior Member P J Clauson AM

The AAT decided to affirm the decision of Centrelink in this case because the applicant’s spine injury did not meet impairment requirements when he applied for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

To claim the DSP, a person’s medical condition must score a rating of 20 points or more on the impairment tables. These tables are used to assess the impact of a person’s condition on their ability to work.

In this case, the applicant first applied for DSP on the 16 January 2018. This date was within a preclusion period which related to a compensation claim he had received. He sought a review of that period by the AAT in the form of a first review of Centrelink’s decision.

As a result of this first review, the AAT varied the end date of the preclusion period to 6 March 2018. Shortly after this date, Centrelink re-assessed the applicant’s claim for the DSP and determined that his conditions were not fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised and therefore could not attract a rating of 20 or more points under the relevant impairment tables.

The applicant then applied to the AAT to seek a second review of the decision.

If an applicant disagrees with our first review decision, we can conduct a second review of most decisions.

Second reviews of Centrelink decisions are conducted in the General Division of the AAT.

A hearing was conducted by the AAT on 29 November 2019 to review the department’s decision to reject the applicant’s DSP claim.

After reviewing the medical evidence available to the Tribunal for the purposes of this review, the Tribunal decided that at the date of the qualification period of 23 March 2018, the applicant’s spinal condition could not be classified as fully treated and fully stabilised.

Accordingly, the Tribunal was unable to assign any impairment rating to his spinal condition as at that time and therefore decided the applicant did not qualify for DSP because his conditions are unable to be assigned any impairment points during the relevant period.

Read the full decision