Pension Bonus Scheme
A tax free lump sum payment for registered members of the Pension Bonus Scheme who have deferred claiming Age Pension and stayed in paid work.
- you must have registered for the scheme before 1 July 2014
- you must not have received Age Pension or any other income support payment other than Carer Payment since qualifying for Age Pension, and
- you must meet the work test rules for at least 12 months from the date your membership started
Eligibility & payment rates
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 accruing 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 Pension
- 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.
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 1 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 for the Pension Bonus Scheme requires you to complete at least 960 hours of paid work each year.
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.
The payment amount you can get depends on a number of factors.
- the amount of basic Age Pension you are entitled to when you eventually claim
- the length of time you have been an accruing member of the scheme, and
- whether you were single or partnered during the time you deferred
Payment rates are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year.
|Years in the scheme||Single - maximum rate||Partnered - maximum rate (each)|
Only one bonus is ever paid, but you may receive a Pension Bonus Top Up payment.
Factors affecting payment
Factors affecting a Pension Bonus are:
- you must be an accruing member for at least 1 year
- a maximum of 5 years accruing membership can be taken into account when working out your bonus
- you cannot accrue more bonus after 75 years of age
- if you are not entitled to Age Pension, you cannot be paid a bonus
- when calculating your bonus, your Age Pension does not include extra benefits, such as Rent Assistance, Pension Supplement, or Remote Area Allowance, and
- if you are entitled to a part rate Age Pension, you may be entitled to a part rate bonus
Relationship between pension and bonus
The relationship between the initial pension rate and the amount of bonus means members will generally benefit by claiming their pension and bonus after employment income ceases or superannuation arrangements are finalised. Our Financial Information Service Officers can provide important information on the timing of claims.
Pension Bonus is a personal entitlement and cannot be transferred to your estate if you pass away before you make a successful claim.
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 a claim
- submit your claim
- provide your supporting documentation
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.
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.
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 list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.