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What is the VRB and how does my case end up there?

The Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) conducts independent merits review of decisions about disability pensions, war widow(er)’s pensions, and attendant allowance under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA); and rehabilitation, compensation and other benefits under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

The VRB is independent of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission. It reviews decisions ‘on the merits’. This means that the VRB takes a fresh look at the facts, law and policy relating to the decision and arrives at its own decision. The VRB must make the legally correct decision or, where there can be more than one correct decision, the preferable decision.

How will the VRB deal with my case?

The VRB holds a hearing to decide most cases. Cases are decided by a panel of three members — a Senior Member, a Services Member and one other Member. However, if a member is ill or unavailable, a case may be decided by two Members.  All hearings are held in private and the VRB encourages every applicant to take an active role in the hearing. You do not have to attend the hearing, but the Members usually find it helpful to talk to you.

Whenever it decides a case, the VRB must apply the law as set out in the VEA or the MRCA, and other related legislation.

After your hearing, the VRB will send you a copy of its decision and reasons. If you are dissatisfied with the VRB's decision you may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Is there a time limit to apply?

Yes. There is a time limit for making an application to the VRB. The time limit depends on the particular decision you want reviewed. For some decisions it’s longer and for others it’s shorter.

The VRB will receive a request for a review relating to a claim for a pension or attendant allowance within 12 months from the notification of the original decision.

The VRB will receive a request for a review relating to rates of pension, refusal to grant pension on the grounds of insufficient incapacity, cancellations, suspension or dates of recommencement of pension within 3 months from the notification of the original decision.

Can I have / do I need a lawyer?

You may choose whether or not to attend your hearing and whether or not to be represented at your hearing. You may be represented at your own expense by anyone other than a lawyer (although a lawyer may help you prepare your case). People with legal qualifications are prohibited from appearing for veterans, widows and dependants at VRB hearings.

Some Ex-Service organisations, veterans’ advocates, and some private individuals, provide assistance and representation for applicants. Most provide their services free, but some may charge a fee. Most organisations have only a limited number of representatives, so there is usually some delay before they can finalise the preparation of your case. For a list of major Ex-service organisations please see the Ex-service organisations page

Generally, if you have a representative it will take longer to schedule a hearing then if you don’t have one. This relates to the schedule of the representative.

To apply to the VRB of review please download the Veterans' Review Board Application for Review form.

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