Will casual work affect the Age Pension?

Richard has been offered some casual work but is unsure how this will affect his recent claim for the Age Pension? Will it pay him to keep on working?

Q. Richard

I am 66 and recently left full time employment. My wife, Barbara also 66, and I have applied for the Age Pension, however, since then I have been offered a casual role and it could last a month or several months. As yet I have not agreed to do the casual work as I am having real difficulty in getting an understanding of what effect this will have on the pension payment and associated benefits for the two of us.

A. Under pension reforms implemented by the Federal Government in 2009, those claiming the Age Pension can now continue to work and have part of their income excluded from assessment.

The Work Bonus means that the first $250 of any fortnightly income derived from work is excluded from assessment under the Age Pension income test, therefore you can have a couples’ income of $526 per fortnight before your Age Pension is affected.

Any unused portion of the excluded fortnightly $250 will accumulate in an ‘income bank’ up to a maximum annual amount of $6,500. This will benefit seasonal workers or those whose income varies from fortnight to fortnight.

If your income exceeds the couples’ income limit of $526 per fortnight, then your Age Pension is reduced by 50 cents in the dollar, for each dollar over this amount, until your income reaches $1. For example, if your income is $626, $100 over the income limit, then your Age Pension will be reduced by $50.

You can find out more by reading Will I be eligible for the work bonus?

Written by Debbie McTaggart