Social Security Appeals Authority COVID-19 protocol at 24 January 2022

Introduction
The Social Security Appeals Authority (Authority) has put the following additional safety measures in place to reduce the risk of hearing participants being exposed to COVID-19. These measures will apply to all hearings while the COVID-19 Protection Framework (or “traffic light system”) is in place.  

When do these safety measures start?
1. These measures apply in respect of hearings on and after 24 January 2022.

Who can attend a hearing in person?
2. To attend an Authority hearing in person at levels Red, Orange, or Green of the traffic light system, all parties, support people, witnesses, interpreters and any other person entering an Authority hearing room  will need to have a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (My Vaccine Pass) which they will need to email to the case manager when a hearing is set down.

3. A person wishing to attend an Authority hearing who has not or cannot comply with paragraph 2 will not be permitted to attend in person. The Authority will do its best to facilitate the attendance of an unvaccinated person remotely by video-link over the internet (using Virtual Meeting Room, Microsoft Teams or similar) or telephone. Any such person must email this information to the case manager when the hearing is set down.

4. Everyone who attends a hearing of the Authority in person must comply with the following health and safety requirements (and any other requirements advised by staff at the Court or hearing facility):

Show a copy of their Vaccine Pass and photo identification (such as a driver’s licence or passport) if required to do at the entrance to the building;
 Scan the QR Code at the entrance to the building, or record details in the register provided at the door;
 Wear a facemask in the building and in the hearing room, unless an exemption applies, or unless the Authority approves its removal in the hearing;
 Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from others (unless they are a person attending with you).  

5. Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the Case Manager in the first instance. In the event of community transmission in your area, public health advice will be taken, and further measures may be put in place.  

Other aspects of the Authority’s processes
6.
While the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 is in force, the Authority will, as far as is reasonably practicable, operate in its usual manner.  

7. There may, in some cases, need to be changes to the way the Authority operates, including by conducting hearings entirely by video-link or telephone or by requiring that documents be emailed rather than posted or delivered.

8. Parties affected by any change to the Authority’s usual operating procedures will be advised of those changes and provided with information to ensure that they understand how their matter will be handled by the Authority.  

9. This Protocol applies until revoked or modified by the Authority.  

G D Pearson
Chair of the Social Security Appeals Authority
24 January 2022

You can appeal to the Social Security Appeal Authority to review a decision made by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) about your benefit.

The Authority hears appeals about decisions made by the:

  • Ministry of Social Development and confirmed or varied by a Benefits Review Committee
  • Secretary for War Pensions in respect of veterans' pensions and related matters.

Before you send your appeal to the Authority, your case must have been heard by the Ministry of Social Development's Benefits Review Committee.

Ministry of Social Development website(external link)

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