How to: Ask for more time to apply to the AAT

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This fact sheet was last reviewed on 10/08/2023. Please note that the law and practices relating to NDIS appeals change frequently. The fact sheet provides general information and suggestions only. The fact sheet does not provide legal advice, and might not apply to your circumstances. If you need legal advice, you can find an advocate or a lawyer to help you using the links below at ‘Getting your own advice’.


If you get an internal review decision from the NDIA that you don’t agree with, you have to apply for a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’) within 28 days, or the AAT can refuse to review the decision.

This fact sheet explains what you can do if the 28 day time limit is up before you have put in your AAT paperwork, but you still want the AAT to review your case. 

Tip: If you have applied to the AAT within the 28 day time limit, you don’t need to worry about anything in this fact sheet.

If you haven’t already, you should read our other fact sheets about reviewing decisions:

What kinds of cases will the AAT look at after the 28-day time limit?

The AAT can choose to accept a late review application after the 28-day time limit ends. The AAT will only do this if they think it is “reasonable in all the circumstances”. 

To decide whether to accept a late application, the AAT will consider:

  1. How late is the application?
  2. Was there a good reason for the delay?
  3. How has the person acted during the delay? (For example, the AAT is more likely to accept a late application if a person has made it clear they were trying to challenge the NDIA’s decision and has been taking steps to do this);
  4. Does the person have a strong case?
  5. Has the delay caused difficulties for the NDIA? (For example, will it be harder for the NDIA to get its own evidence to use in its case at the AAT because of the delay?)
  6. Is it in the public interest to let the late review application be lodged.

Examples of cases where the AAT has agreed to accept a late request for a review:

  • The person applied more than 4 months late but they had been dealing with a death and a serious illness in their family, and had very high caring responsibilities for other family members
  • The delay was only short (about 5 weeks), and the delay didn’t make it harder for the NDIA to do its job or run their case at the AAT
  • The person (mistakenly) thought somebody else had already put in the review on their behalf
  • The AAT could clearly see that the legal case for the review was very strong
  • The delay was long, but the person had expert evidence saying the delay was due to significant psychological distress and anxiety that made it very hard for them to deal with the NDIA

Examples of cases where the AAT has refused to accept a request for a late review:

  • The delay was very long (many months, or even years)
  • The person didn’t want to challenge the decision at the AAT at first, then only decided to ask for an AAT review much later
  • The delay would make it hard for the NDIA because making them revisit an old decision would create problems in their system, or because it would be hard for the NDIA to get evidence to defend their internal review decision
  • The AAT could see that the legal case for the review was very weak or hopeless, so the person probably wouldn’t be successful even if the application was accepted
  • The person did not give a clear and detailed explanation for the delay, or supporting documentation to prove the reasons for the delay

It can be hard to know how the AAT will decide requests for extra time. If you are thinking about asking the AAT to accept a late application for a review of an NDIS internal review decision, you might want to get legal advice from one of the organisations listed below at ‘Where can I get advice if I need help understanding my options?’.

How do I make a late application to the AAT?

If you want to ask the AAT to accept your late review application, you need to apply to the AAT in the usual way but include an application for extension of time form (AAT website) with your application. For information about how to apply for an AAT review, see our fact sheet ‘How To: Apply to the AAT for an external review’.

The extension of time form asks you questions about the decision that was made (by the NDIA), your contact details, and the reasons why you want more time. You can ask someone to help you fill out the form, like a support coordinator, or a trusted friend or family member. 

The most important part of this form is the section called ‘Reasons for the application’. In this section, you should give all of the reasons why you are asking for an extension of time, including:

  • The reasons why you didn’t apply for an AAT within the 28 day time limit
  • The reasons why you think the AAT will agree with you about the NDIS decision
  • Any bad things that will happen to you if you can’t apply for a late review (for example, if your review application is about supports that you need very urgently)
  • Any other important reasons why the AAT should review your case, even though it is being lodged late

If you have any evidence to support these reasons, you should give it to the AAT. For example, you may have reports or documents that support the reasons why you weren’t able to lodge your review application within the 28 day time limit. 

What will happen after I request an extension of time?

When you put in a late review application that includes a request for an extension of time, the AAT will tell you they have received your application. The AAT will then decide whether to give you an extension of time.

The AAT may ask you or the NDIA for more information to help it decide whether to give you an extension of time. In some cases, and particularly where the NDIA does not agree that your late review application should be accepted, the AAT may hold a hearing so it can listen to arguments from both sides before it makes a decision. 

If the AAT is going to hold a hearing about your late review application, you might want to get legal advice from one of the organisations listed below at ‘Where can I get advice if I need help understanding my options?’.

If the AAT decides to give you an extension of time, your AAT review application will be accepted. The AAT will look at your case in the usual way, by sending out ‘T-documents’, organising a case conference, and asking both sides to give evidence. We have fact sheets that provide information about these AAT processes.

If the AAT decides NOT to give you an extension of time, you will not be able to have your case reviewed by the AAT. You may need to think about making a new request to the NDIA (such as a fresh plan review) to get the outcome that you want.


Where can I get advice if I need help understanding my options?

You may be able to get advice about your options for requesting a review and help with other questions about the NDIS from a legal service. It will depend on the type of problem you have, and where you are located.

If you need help from a lawyer, National Legal Aid has the contact details for your local Legal Aid office.

If you need help from an advocate, the AskIzzy Disability Advocacy Finder is an online tool to help you find to search for advocacy providers using your suburb or postcode.

You can also look at our other fact sheets about this, including:


Learn more

Housing Hub Training has a recorded webinar about the NDIS appeal process and the role of the AAT. Visit the website here to enrol and learn more.

People with disability and their families can email UpSkill at training@housinghub.org.au for free access to this webinar.

Who made this factsheet?

The Housing Hub and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) made this together. Since 2021, PIAC and the Housing Hub have worked together to provide advice and assistance to participants seeking SDA funding. This factsheet is part of a series about challenging NDIS decisions.

Was this article helpful?

How to: Ask for more time to apply to the AAT

Home


This fact sheet was last reviewed on 10/08/2023. Please note that the law and practices relating to NDIS appeals change frequently. The fact sheet provides general information and suggestions only. The fact sheet does not provide legal advice, and might not apply to your circumstances. If you need legal advice, you can find an advocate or a lawyer to help you using the links below at ‘Getting your own advice’.


If you get an internal review decision from the NDIA that you don’t agree with, you have to apply for a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’) within 28 days, or the AAT can refuse to review the decision.

This fact sheet explains what you can do if the 28 day time limit is up before you have put in your AAT paperwork, but you still want the AAT to review your case. 

Tip: If you have applied to the AAT within the 28 day time limit, you don’t need to worry about anything in this fact sheet.

If you haven’t already, you should read our other fact sheets about reviewing decisions:

What kinds of cases will the AAT look at after the 28-day time limit?

The AAT can choose to accept a late review application after the 28-day time limit ends. The AAT will only do this if they think it is “reasonable in all the circumstances”. 

To decide whether to accept a late application, the AAT will consider:

  1. How late is the application?
  2. Was there a good reason for the delay?
  3. How has the person acted during the delay? (For example, the AAT is more likely to accept a late application if a person has made it clear they were trying to challenge the NDIA’s decision and has been taking steps to do this);
  4. Does the person have a strong case?
  5. Has the delay caused difficulties for the NDIA? (For example, will it be harder for the NDIA to get its own evidence to use in its case at the AAT because of the delay?)
  6. Is it in the public interest to let the late review application be lodged.

Examples of cases where the AAT has agreed to accept a late request for a review:

  • The person applied more than 4 months late but they had been dealing with a death and a serious illness in their family, and had very high caring responsibilities for other family members
  • The delay was only short (about 5 weeks), and the delay didn’t make it harder for the NDIA to do its job or run their case at the AAT
  • The person (mistakenly) thought somebody else had already put in the review on their behalf
  • The AAT could clearly see that the legal case for the review was very strong
  • The delay was long, but the person had expert evidence saying the delay was due to significant psychological distress and anxiety that made it very hard for them to deal with the NDIA

Examples of cases where the AAT has refused to accept a request for a late review:

  • The delay was very long (many months, or even years)
  • The person didn’t want to challenge the decision at the AAT at first, then only decided to ask for an AAT review much later
  • The delay would make it hard for the NDIA because making them revisit an old decision would create problems in their system, or because it would be hard for the NDIA to get evidence to defend their internal review decision
  • The AAT could see that the legal case for the review was very weak or hopeless, so the person probably wouldn’t be successful even if the application was accepted
  • The person did not give a clear and detailed explanation for the delay, or supporting documentation to prove the reasons for the delay

It can be hard to know how the AAT will decide requests for extra time. If you are thinking about asking the AAT to accept a late application for a review of an NDIS internal review decision, you might want to get legal advice from one of the organisations listed below at ‘Where can I get advice if I need help understanding my options?’.

How do I make a late application to the AAT?

If you want to ask the AAT to accept your late review application, you need to apply to the AAT in the usual way but include an application for extension of time form (AAT website) with your application. For information about how to apply for an AAT review, see our fact sheet ‘How To: Apply to the AAT for an external review’.

The extension of time form asks you questions about the decision that was made (by the NDIA), your contact details, and the reasons why you want more time. You can ask someone to help you fill out the form, like a support coordinator, or a trusted friend or family member. 

The most important part of this form is the section called ‘Reasons for the application’. In this section, you should give all of the reasons why you are asking for an extension of time, including:

  • The reasons why you didn’t apply for an AAT within the 28 day time limit
  • The reasons why you think the AAT will agree with you about the NDIS decision
  • Any bad things that will happen to you if you can’t apply for a late review (for example, if your review application is about supports that you need very urgently)
  • Any other important reasons why the AAT should review your case, even though it is being lodged late

If you have any evidence to support these reasons, you should give it to the AAT. For example, you may have reports or documents that support the reasons why you weren’t able to lodge your review application within the 28 day time limit. 

What will happen after I request an extension of time?

When you put in a late review application that includes a request for an extension of time, the AAT will tell you they have received your application. The AAT will then decide whether to give you an extension of time.

The AAT may ask you or the NDIA for more information to help it decide whether to give you an extension of time. In some cases, and particularly where the NDIA does not agree that your late review application should be accepted, the AAT may hold a hearing so it can listen to arguments from both sides before it makes a decision. 

If the AAT is going to hold a hearing about your late review application, you might want to get legal advice from one of the organisations listed below at ‘Where can I get advice if I need help understanding my options?’.

If the AAT decides to give you an extension of time, your AAT review application will be accepted. The AAT will look at your case in the usual way, by sending out ‘T-documents’, organising a case conference, and asking both sides to give evidence. We have fact sheets that provide information about these AAT processes.

If the AAT decides NOT to give you an extension of time, you will not be able to have your case reviewed by the AAT. You may need to think about making a new request to the NDIA (such as a fresh plan review) to get the outcome that you want.


Where can I get advice if I need help understanding my options?

You may be able to get advice about your options for requesting a review and help with other questions about the NDIS from a legal service. It will depend on the type of problem you have, and where you are located.

If you need help from a lawyer, National Legal Aid has the contact details for your local Legal Aid office.

If you need help from an advocate, the AskIzzy Disability Advocacy Finder is an online tool to help you find to search for advocacy providers using your suburb or postcode.

You can also look at our other fact sheets about this, including:


Learn more

Housing Hub Training has a recorded webinar about the NDIS appeal process and the role of the AAT. Visit the website here to enrol and learn more.

People with disability and their families can email UpSkill at training@housinghub.org.au for free access to this webinar.

Who made this factsheet?

The Housing Hub and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) made this together. Since 2021, PIAC and the Housing Hub have worked together to provide advice and assistance to participants seeking SDA funding. This factsheet is part of a series about challenging NDIS decisions.

Was this article helpful?