Age Pension and the Work Bonus

To help him make ends meet, Ben’s local bowls club has offered him a few hours’ work a week. Today, he’s asked Debbie how much he can earn before his Age Pension is reduced.

Q. Ben
I am on the Age Pension but I have been offered a job doing some work at the bowls club. It’s only a little bit of money but it will help me make ends meet. They’ve asked me what amount is best before my Age Pension gets cut off. Can you help me?

A. As you may be aware, your Age Pension payment is actually calculated by applying the asset and the income test – you are then paid the lower resulting amount.

Under the income test, all income is counted – that is income from investments, savings, superannuation and of course, work. Currently, under the income test, you can earn $168 per fortnight, if you are single, before your Age Pension is affected.

However, Centrelink will apply the Work Bonus to your reported work income. This means that the first $250 per fortnight of income will not be assessed under the income test. If your employment is seasonal or sporadic, you can ‘bank’ your Work Bonus allowance, to a maximum of $6500, which can then be applied when required. This also means that if you have not worked for the whole previous year, you can earn $6500 before your Age Pension is affected. 

Under the income test, your Age Pension is reduced by 50 cents for every $1 you exceed the income threshold, until your payment reaches zero.

You can find out more about the Work Bonus.

Related articles:
Work Bonus and part-time work
Can I get an Age Pension?
Centrelink and offset accounts

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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