The SSAT is the first level of external merits review of decisions made by Centrelink about social security, family assistance, education or training and parental leave payments. The SSAT is also the only level of external merits review of most decisions made by the Child Support Agency. Its statutory objective is to provide a mechanism of review that is 'fair, just, economical, informal and quick'.
The SSAT was originally established in 1975 by the Honourable WG (Bill) Hayden to review appealed decisions made by the then Department of Social Security.
It is now a statutory body established under the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 to conduct merits review of administrative decisions made under the social security law, the family assistance law, paid parental leave law, child support law and various other pieces of legislation. The Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999, the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 and the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 set out the powers, functions and procedures of the SSAT.
The SSAT is within the portfolio of the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Administrative arrangements of long standing exist between FaHCSIA and the Tribunal that allow the Tribunal to benefit from the Department's administrative infrastructure. The SSAT retains responsibility for and control of decision-making in relation to the deployment of its human resources, information technology and financial resources. It also has its own national case management system to manage and administer reviews. In relation to its decision-making on the reviews, the SSAT is completely independent of the Department.
The SSAT's applicants are usually people whose interests are affected by a Centrelink decision or a CSA decision and who want to apply to the SSAT for a review of that decision.
In relation to reviews of Centrelink decisions (other than those relating to parental leave pay):
Please note: reviews of decisions about parental leave pay have strict time limits from the date of the decision of the Centrelink Authorised Review Officer: 14 days for employers and 28 days for claimants.
Before the SSAT can review a CSA decision, it must first be reviewed by a CSA Objections Officer. Applications for review of Child Support decisions must be lodged within 28 days of receiving an objection decision.
Please note: The SSAT can only review CSA objection decisions made on or after 1 January 2007.
The SSAT's Service Charter describes its commitment to providing high quality, timely and courteous service to applicants and other parties to reviews. It also lists rights and responsibilities of applicants and other parties in their dealings with the SSAT and the SSAT's complaints handling process.
The SSAT Service Charter is available below and on request from any SSAT office.
The most recent SSAT Annual Reports are available below.
The SSAT takes seriously its commitment to environmental sustainability. The SSAT Environmental Policy outlines the SSAT's commitment to work towards effective environmental management.