About the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB)

Last updated: 
6 May 2021

If you disagree with a compensation decision we have made, you can ask the VRB to review it. Learn more about the VRB, the cases they review, and how you can get them to review your case.

What is the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB)

The VRB is a specialist tribunal that is independent from us. They conduct independent merit reviews of some of our decisions.

A ‘merit review’ means that they take a fresh look at the facts, the law and the policy relating to the decision that we made, and then they make their own decision.

They are independent from:

  • us (the Department of Veterans' Affairs)
  • the Repatriation Commission
  • the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.

DVA staff are never VRB members.

The VRB must make the correct or preferable decision.

You can ask them to review a compensation decision under either the:

You can visit the VRB's website at www.vrb.gov.au to learn more about how they resolve cases and disputes online.

Cases that go to the VRB

Many compensation decisions under the VEA and MRCA can be reviewed by the VRB.

These decisions can include:

  • if we grant you a disability pension, and the rate of that pension
  • if we grant you a war widow(er)’s pension, and the rate of that pension
  • if we have accepted liability for a service related injury or illness
  • if we have awarded you certain types of compensation (such as compensation for medical expenses, permanent impairment) and the amount of compensation awarded to you.

Our page on Compensation under the VEA and MRCA has more information about the cases the VRB can hear.

Time limits to review

There are time limits for when you can ask the VRB to review a decision.

These limits depend on both:

  • the type of benefit you are appealing
  • the Act under which the decision was made.

VEA

  • Death or incapacity of a veteran: you have 12 months from the date you receive notice of the decision. However, we can only pay maximum arrears if you apply within 3 months of receiving notice of the decision. This means that you should apply for your review as soon as possible.
  • The rate of pension or a claim for attendant allowance: you have 3 months from the date you receive notice of the decision.

MRCA

For any decisions made under the MRCA, you must appeal within 12 months from the date you receive notice of the decision. You must state why you disagree with the decision.

How to apply

  1. Complete Form D7524, ‘Veterans’ review board application for review’.
  2. Send the form to us.

You can send the form to us by:

  • email, at appeals [at] dva.gov.au
  • post, at GPO Box 9998 Brisbane QLD 4001

You can also give the form to us directly at one of our offices.

For MRCA claims, the application form asks you to detail why you are unhappy with our decision. This is where you can explain why you want the review, and what you think we did wrong.

After you lodge an application

After you lodge an application, we will:

  1. Email you to let you know that we have received it.
  2. Prepare a report that contains all of the documents relevant to your case, and send the report to you for any comments. We call this report a section 137 report. Once you have made any comments, you will send the report back to us.
  3. Send the report, and your comments, to the VRB.

From there, the VRB will contact you to discuss your case.

What we do

While the VRB is an independent tribunal, we may help them with administration. They may direct us to undertake further investigation, such as arrangement medical reports.

This means that we may:

  • contact you to arrange doctors’ appointments to get updated or extra reports
  • contact you to ask for extra information about your case
  • perform additional calculations
  • perform additional military research.

How the VRB makes decisions

The VRB will invite you to attend a hearing, where members will look over your case. These members are:

  • A senior member
  • A member
  • A services member.

They may ask you clarifying questions. If one member cannot attend, the others can make a decision.

In addition to holding a hearing, the VRB will also review all of the facts and documents that relate to your case. They will then come to the legally correct decision or, if there is more than one legally correct decision, the preferable decision.

Who can represent you

People with legal qualifications cannot represent you at a VRB hearing. They can help you to prepare your case and gather evidence.

As long as they do not have a legal qualification, you can bring:

  • a friend or family member
  • an advocate
  • a person from an ESO.

You can use the Advocacy Training and Development Program Register to locate an advocate.

You can search our page Find an ex-service organisation to locate an organisation in your state.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

In some cases the VRB may make a decision without your needing to attend a hearing. This may happen as part of their ADR Program.

In an ADR the first step is mandatory outreach.

If an application is not finalised at the first outreach, the VRB will contact you to discuss the next possible ADR step and the requirements for a hearing.

If an application is not finalised by an ADR process it will be listed for hearing.

Involvement in an ADR process does not mean that the parties forgo their right to a hearing if the application is not finalised.

Costs

Getting a review by the VRB is free.

If you had to get medical documents or you had to travel in relation to a case at the VRB, we may reimburse some of these costs. Please contact us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) to find out more information about your specific case.

We are not able to repay or reimburse any costs for obtaining legal advice, or for having a person represent you at a hearing.

If a family member or friend joins you at the hearing, we are not able to repay or reimburse them for their time or travel costs.

If you do not agree with the VRB’s decision

If you are not satisfied with the VRB’s decision, you may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Contact

The VRB website (vrb.gov.au) contains up to date and specialist information about their processes.

You can phone the VRB on 1800 550 460 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.