Pension Bonus Scheme

A lump sum payment if you delayed claiming Age Pension, kept working and are registered in the scheme.

Eligibility basics

  • you registered for the scheme before 1 July 2014
  • since you became eligible for Age Pension we haven’t paid you any income support except Carer Payment or Carer Service Pension
  • you pass the work test rules for at least 12 months from when you became a member of the scheme

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

Who can get it

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.

Residence rules

On the day you claim a Pension Bonus you must be:

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

If you need to use an international social security agreement to meet the residence rules for Age Pension, you will not be eligible to claim a Pension Bonus.

Work test

You must work at least 960 hours each year to pass the work test.

Read about the work test


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.

Read about accruing and non-accruing membership

How much you get

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
1 year $2,045.90 $1,546.10
2 years $8,183.50 $6,184.30
3 years $18,412.90 $13,914.70
4 years $32,734.00 $24,737.20
5 years $51,146.80 $38,651.90

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.

If you die before you get your bonus

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



My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn


Pension Bonus Scheme for veterans

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

Payment and Service Finder

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.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money


We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Page last updated: 20 September 2017