How much Work Bonus in the bank?

Christine is considering some casual work but isn’t sure exactly how much she is allowed to earn before it affects her pension payments.


Q. Christine
Would you be able to clarify details regarding the Work Bonus? I cannot find any details regarding this and after a two-hour phone call to Centrelink last week, I had to hang up. When does the Work Bonus start for a person? Is it from 1 January or 1 July? Or from when a person becomes eligible for the Age Pension?

I went on the Age Pension on 1 July 2018 and have not worked since. However, I am looking at accepting a casual job over Christmas. The Work Bonus from 1.7.2018–30.6.2019 was $6500 ($250 per fortnight). From 1.7.2019 – this changed to $7800 per year ($300 per fortnight). What do I have in Work Bonus bank?

  • Is it just the Work Bonus amount I have accrued from 1.7.2019?
  • Is it the amount not used for the 12-month period up to the time I start my casual job?  (10.12.2018–9.12.2019)
  • Does it accrue from one year to the next? Example – because I haven’t worked from 1.7.18 to now – have I accrued $6500 (for period 1.7.18–30.6.19) PLUS what I would have accrued from 1.7.2019 to now?
  • If I didn’t work from 1.7.2018–30.6.2020 (two whole years) – would I have accrued $6500 and $7800?


A. The areas surrounding the change to the Work Bonus scheme are certainly confusing.

From the options you have provided, option 2 provides you with the right figure. That is to say that the Work Bonus applies for the whole of the 12 months prior to you starting your casual job.

If you have not worked for the whole previous year, you can earn $7800 before your Age Pension is affected.

You do not need to apply for the Work Bonus, Centrelink will automatically apply it when your report your income.

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Written by Ben


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