Pension Bonus Scheme
If you’ve delayed claiming Age Pension, stayed in paid work and are registered in the Pension Bonus Scheme, you may get a tax free lump sum payment.
- You must have registered for the scheme before 1 July 2014
- You haven’t got an income support payment, other than Carer Payment or Carer Service Pension, since qualifying for Age Pension, and
- You must pass work test rules for at least 12 months from the date your membership started
You can’t register for the Pension Bonus Scheme anymore. If you’re registered for the scheme, you may get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
Eligibility & payment rates
You can’t register for this scheme anymore.
You can get the Pension Bonus if you:
- can get Age Pension
- registered before 1 July 2014
- haven’t got an income support payment, other than Carer Payment or Carer Service Pension, since qualifying for Age Pension, and
- pass the work test rules for at least 12 months from the date your membership started
The scheme allows members to keep working and accrue bonus periods. We count these towards one lump sum bonus when they stop working and claim Age Pension. You must claim the bonus at the same time you claim Age Pension.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has its own Pension Bonus Scheme. If you’re a veteran, call 133 254 or freecall 1800 555 254.
On the day you claim a Pension Bonus you must be:
- an Australian resident, and
- in Australia
How long you need to have been a resident
To get a Pension Bonus you need to have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years in total. For at least 5 of those years, there must be no break in your residence.
What may be different
The 10 year time frame doesn’t apply if you:
- are a refugee or former refugee
- were getting Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance or Widow B Pension right before you reached age pension age, or
- are a woman whose partner died while you were both Australian residents, and you’ve been a resident for 2 years right before claiming Age Pension
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.
The payment amount depends on:
- the amount of basic Age Pension you can get when you claim
- how long you’ve been an accruing member of the scheme
- if you were single or partnered when you were a member
The table below lists the highest rates you can get.
|If you’ve been in the scheme for||The most you’ll get if you’re single is||The most you’ll each get if you’re partnered is|
We update payment rates on:
- 20 March, and
- 20 September
You only get the bonus once, but you could get a Pension Bonus top up.
What affects your payment
Things that can affect your payment include:
- you must be an accruing member for at least 1 year
- we cap your bonus at 5 years of accruing membership
- you can’t build up your bonus once you turn 75
- if you can’t get Age Pension, you can’t get a bonus
- when we calculate your bonus, we don’t add extra benefits to your Age Pension, such as:
- if you can get a part rate Age Pension, you may get a part rate bonus
When to claim
There are benefits to claiming your pension and bonus at certain times. For example, after you stop work or once you finalise your super arrangements are generally good times.
Financial Information Service officers can help you plan when to claim.
We don’t transfer your Pension Bonus to your estate if you die before you claim.
Your partner may get the Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment. How much they’ll get depends on how many bonus periods you had accrued.
If you’re a member of the scheme separate to your partner and you’re working, you can still claim your own bonus if your partner dies. If you rely on your partner’s work to pass the work test, you’ll need to:
- start work, or
- claim your bonus within 26 weeks after your partner dies
Check if you are eligible before you start your claim.
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- fill in your claim form
- submit the form and other documents we ask for
- wait for us to assess your claim and tell you the result
You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has its own Pension Bonus Scheme.
For more information, call DVA on:
- 133 254, or
- Freecall 1800 555 254
Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.