Membership for the Pension Bonus Scheme

Only accruing membership can count toward your Pension Bonus. Non-accruing membership may allow you to stay in the scheme, even if you can’t work.

Accruing membership

You can accrue bonus periods toward your lump sum bonus payment if you:

  • pass the work test
  • are younger than 75, and
  • aren’t in a period of non-accruing membership

Non-accruing membership

You may stay in the scheme while you’re a non-accruing member. This membership won’t count toward your bonus. Your membership is non-accruing if you:

  • get periodic or lump sum compensation payments
  • get Carer Payment from us
  • take part in a Community Development Employment Project
  • are in prison or psychiatric confinement because of an offence, or
  • you or your partner, or both, give away more than:
    • $30,000 in any 5 year period from 5 years before you became a member of the scheme and throughout your membership - this applies to gifts made after 30 June 2002
    • $10,000 in a single financial year that you’re a member of the scheme, or in each or any of the 5 years before you became a member

Your membership in the scheme may be non-accruing if you would fail the work test because you:

  • were on continuous sick leave for 4 to 26 weeks before 1 January 2008
  • are on any type of paid or unpaid leave for up to 26 weeks starting on or after 1 January 2008
  • have a partner who dies and you can’t pass the work test for up to 13 weeks
  • had less paid work on or after 1 March 2006 for up to 13 weeks because of Cyclone Larry, or
  • had less paid work on or after 24 August 2006 for up to 13 weeks because of a major disaster

If you rely on your partner’s work to pass the work test, their non-accruing membership may affect your bonus.

Reaching 75 years of age

If you’re 75 years of age and still work, you can’t build up bonus periods. You can still be a member of the scheme if you continue to pass the work test rules.

If you rely on your partner’s work to pass the work test, their non-accruing periods may affect your bonus.

Gifting exemption

Since 20 September 2006 parents and immediate family members can place up to $500,000 in a Special Disability Trust. This is for the care and accommodation needs of a person with severe disability.

The social security or Veteran’s Affairs means tests and gifting rules:

  • will affect amounts over the $500,000 limit
  • won’t affect amounts under the limit if the contributor meets certain rules

Change of circumstances

While you’re a member of the Pension Bonus Scheme you don’t have to tell us about changes to your circumstances.

We do recommend you tell us if you change address. Also tell us about other events that affect your bonus, such as a change in relationship status.

Page last updated: 22 June 2017

This information was printed Tuesday 27 June 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/membership-for-the-pension-bonus-scheme It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.