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Costs associated with attending a Social Security Appeal Authority or Medical Appeals Board Hearing

If you appeal to the Social Security Appeal Authority, the Authority might ask you to attend the hearing.

If you need to attend a hearing, the Ministry of Social Development will pay your actual and reasonable costs for travel, accommodation, and meals.

What is reasonable will depend on where you live, your family circumstances, and any disability you might have.

Travel

We will pay for the costs of:

  • public transport to the hearing, usually bus or train;
  • using your own car if public transport isn’t available;
  • flights for longer distances, and taxi fares to and from the airport;

If you are using your own car, you can either claim the fuel costs of the trip or claim a mileage rate based on the Automobile Association rate for average running costs* as detailed in the table below. These rates are calculated annually by the Automobile Association and are updated in April of each year and for this reason may differ from the rates payable for various income support assessments such as Disability Allowance.

Running costs in cents per kilometers

Petrol driven vehicles

Engine capacity (small) 0 to 1500cc - 22.0 cents

Engine capacity (compact) 1501 to 2000cc - 26.0 cents

Engine capacity (medium) 2001 to 3500cc - 31.3 cents

Engine capacity (large) 3501 cc plus - 37.2 cents

Diesel driven vehicles

Engine capacity (small) 0 to 1500cc - 20.7 cents

Engine capacity (compact) 1501 to 2000cc - 24.7 cents

Engine capacity (medium) 2001 to 3500cc - 30.2 cents

Engine capacity (large) 3501 cc plus - 35.6 cents

Hybrid

18.6 cents

Electric

8.5 cents

*Running costs taken into account by the Automobile Association include fuel, oil, tyres and general repairs and maintenance.

Accommodation and meals

If you can’t travel to and from the hearing in one day, we will pay for your accommodation and meal costs. Your case manager will arrange and pay for the accommodation for you.

The maximum rate for meal costs is $63.00 for each 24 hour period away from home, and $35.00 for a part day.

Legal costs

If your appeal is successful, the Social Security Appeal Authority may order us to pay a contribution towards your legal costs. We don’t pay any of your legal costs before the appeal, and we don’t pay them if your appeal is unsuccessful.

Costs of other people attending the hearing

We don’t pay for the costs of someone who is attending the hearing with you.

However, if there is a good reason why you can’t attend, the Authority might ask us to we pay costs for another person to attend in your place.

Other costs

We will consider additional costs to attend the hearing, such as childcare costs, on a case by case basis. We will have to be sure that the costs were necessary for you to attend. For childcare costs, for example, we’ll need to be satisfied that you had to pay someone to care for your children while you attended the hearing.

What you need to do

Let your case manager know the date and place of the hearing once you hear from the Appeal Authority.

The case manager will be able to arrange bookings and payment for travel and accommodation if these are necessary.

If you have already paid for these costs yourself you will need to give receipts to your case manager so Work and Income or other service line of the Ministry can reimburse you. However, make sure that you ask your case manager what a reasonable cost is for accommodation before you pay for it. Otherwise, you might not be reimbursed for the full amount.

Benefits Review Committee expenses

If you apply for a Benefit Review Committee hearing, you probably won’t have any costs to attend. This is because, wherever possible, hearings are arranged close to where you live.

However, if you attend a Benefit Review Committee hearing and do have costs as a result, we will consider paying these on an actual and reasonable basis. You will need to talk to your case manager about the costs, and what we might be able to help with.

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