Work bonus puts more money in pensioner pockets

More older Australians are taking advantage of the Pension Work Bonus scheme to top up their retirement incomes through paid employment.

National Seniors last year successfully campaigned for an increase in the amount of money age pensioners can earn through the scheme as part of its federal budget submission.

The scheme allows age pensioners to earn an average of up to $250 a fortnight ($6,500pa), without it affecting their pension entitlements. That threshold will increase on 1 July to $300 a fortnight, or a maximum of $7,800pa.

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said about 150,000 pensioners had used the scheme in the past year, representing about 6% of all age pensioners.

“The scheme gives older Australians who want to continue working a chance to earn a bit of extra spending money whenever it suits them, without having to worry about their pension entitlements being affected,” Mr Keenan said.

“It also enables them to continue to make a valuable contribution to their community by taking on vitally important casual jobs such as school crossing guards, exam markers or even vote counters at election time.

“Given the seasonal nature of many of those jobs, the scheme allows pensioners to earn more in some weeks and less in others, as long as they do not exceed the annual cap.”

From 1 July, pensioners will also be able to register for the scheme as being ‘self-employed’, giving them even more opportunities to use the skills they have gained over a lifetime of work to supplement their retirement incomes.

Age pension recipients do not need to apply for the Work Bonus, but simply need to tell the Department of Human Services when they start working so the Work Bonus can automatically apply to their income test.

For more information about the Work Bonus, click here

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