- you must have registered for the scheme before 1 July 2014
- have not received Age Pension or any other income support payment other than Carer Payment since qualifying for Age Pension, and
- meet the work test rules for at least 12 months from the date your membership started
If you are already registered for the scheme, you may be eligible to claim a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for the Pension Bonus Scheme
The scheme is closed to new registrations. You can only claim the Pension Bonus if you registered in the scheme before 1 July 2014 and have not received an income support payment excluding Carer Payment since first qualifying for Age Pension.
The scheme is voluntary and allows registered members to keep on working and accrue periods of work that count toward a lump sum bonus when they stop working and claim Age Pension.
Income support payments include:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Bereavement Allowance
- Widow Allowance
- Veterans’ Affairs service pensions, other than a carer service
- Veterans' Affairs income support supplement
Only one bonus is ever payable. You must claim your Pension Bonus at the same time you claim Age Pension. If you cannot get Age Pension, you cannot get a bonus.
Use our Payment Finder to explore other payments you may be eligible for based on your situation.
Residence requirements for claiming a Pension Bonus
To be eligible for claiming a Pension Bonus you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be:
- an Australian resident on the day you submit your claim, and
- physically present on the day you submit your claim
You also need to have been an Australian resident:
- for a continuous period of at least 10 years, or
- for a number of periods that total more than 10 years with one of the periods being at least 5 years, unless you:
- are a refugee or former refugee
- were getting Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance or Widow B Pension immediately before turning age pension age, or
- are a woman whose partner died while you were both Australian residents, and you have been an Australian resident for 2 years immediately before claiming Age Pension
If you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, it may have helped you meet these residence requirements when you registered in the scheme. However, you cannot be paid if you need to use the provisions of an international social security agreement when claiming your bonus.
The work test and requesting an Evidentiary Certificate
The work test for the Pension Bonus Scheme requires you to complete at least 960 hours of paid work each year, that is, an average of 18.41 hours (18 hours, 25 minutes) a week.
Accruing and non-accruing membership under the Pension Bonus Scheme
Only accruing membership can be counted toward your Pension Bonus. Non-accruing membership may allow you to remain in the scheme even if you cannot work.
Payment rates of the Pension Bonus Scheme
The payment amount you can get depends on a number of factors.
If you die before you get paid your bonus
Pension Bonus is a personal entitlement. If you pass away before you make a successful claim for the bonus, the bonus amount cannot be transferred to your estate.
If you have a partner and you pass away before you make a successful claim for Age Pension and Pension Bonus, your surviving partner may be entitled to Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment. The amount payable is based on your accrued bonus periods.
If you are registered for the Pension Bonus Scheme separately from your partner, you do not lose your own entitlement if your partner passes away. If, however, you are not working and have been relying on your partner’s work to meet the work test requirements, you will need to start work or claim your bonus within 26 weeks of your partner’s death.
Check if you are eligible for this payment before you start your claim.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- begin your claim
- provide your supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
What to do if your account is overdrawn
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Pension Bonus Scheme for veterans
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a similar Pension Bonus Scheme. For information on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Pension Bonus Scheme, call them on 133 254, or Freecall 1800 555 254.
News for Seniors
As a member of the scheme, you will be sent News for Seniors, a magazine containing news on payments and services.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
Managing your money
Getting control of your money can be hard, but we’ve got some great advice and tools to help. Read more about budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt, to help manage your money.