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Requirements for Making a Claim
Claiming a bonus payment
To claim a bonus payment, a member of the pension bonus scheme (PBS) must:
To be a proper claim, it is necessary that the bonus claim be attached to, or submitted in relation to, a claim for pension. It is preferable that both claims be made together and determined at the same time, as the bonus is calculated using the rate of pension granted. In the event that the forms are lodged separately, the bonus claim is still valid if it is accepted that the claim was made in connection with a claim for pension.
It is important that eligible veterans are informed that if they have already ceased work and their claim for service pension and pension bonus is unsuccessful, they will not be eligible to lodge a subsequent claim for pension bonus. A preliminary check of payability could be considered so that veterans are able to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with their claim, or to consider other options.
Note: A person claiming a bonus payment is subject to the level of proof of identity check required by their accompanying pension claim.
Only one bonus can be claimed
Despite being able to register for the scheme at both DVA and Centrelink, only one bonus payment can be claimed, from either DVA or Centrelink. The “one bonus” rule does not restrict a person from receiving a pension bonus bereavement payment as well as a pension bonus in their own right.
Claiming the bonus – non working partner
An accruing, non-working partner can claim pension and bonus after the first full year bonus period without affecting the working partner's on-going membership of the scheme.
Claiming the bonus – working partner
If the working partner claims both pension and bonus, the non-working partner has two choices:
- claiming pension and bonus, or
- starting work and continuing with the scheme, thereby accruing a larger bonus.
Where a formerly non-working partner decides to start work and accrue a larger bonus, they are not able to add the partner's work to their own to meet the work test in the bonus year when commencing work. In such a case, at least one member of the couple must work for a minimum of 960 hours where the bonus period is a full-year, or pro-rated for a part year (final year).
Partners Mike and Mary are both registered members of the PBS (with the same registration date) and have accrued one bonus year on the basis of Mike's work. Six months into the second year Mike ceases work and claims pension and the bonus (1 full year and a part year).
Mary wants to accrue a larger bonus and defers pension. She can, however, only accrue a full year's bonus for this second year if Mike passed the work test on the basis of his own work, or if she passes the work test on the basis of her own work. If she can't do so, she will need to claim pension and bonus within her lodgement period, or forfeit the bonus.
Criteria for bonus payment
In order to receive a bonus payment, a member must:
- have accrued at least one full year bonus period,
- be granted a rate of income support pension, and
- claim the bonus within the [glossary:lodg:] — [glossary:e:] — [glossary:ment period:].
Withdrawal of claim
A claimant for pension bonus can withdraw their claim, orally or in writing. This claim is then taken not to have been made. If the claim for the designated pension is withdrawn, the claim for bonus is also taken to have been withdrawn. Where a claim for pension bonus is made and the pension is rejected on the grounds of disposal of assets, the bonus claim can be taken to have been withdrawn if the claimant agrees. This may enable the claimant to remain in the scheme, continue working and accrue bonus periods to claim at a later date.
Payment of the pension bonus
If a claim for pension bonus is granted, the bonus is payable on the first payday after grant or the next available day.
Inalienability of the pension bonus
The pension bonus scheme is inalienable except where the Commission:
- is requested to make a deduction by the Commissioner of Taxation, or
- following a request from the person
- under -section 45US(2) VEA makes a payment to the Commission of Taxation,
- under paragraph 205(2) (e) VEA makes a deduction to recover a debt under the VEA.
The pension bonus scheme closed to new entrants on 20 September 2009. Existing members can continue in the scheme under the rules that existed prior to 20 September 2009. The pension bonus scheme provided an incentive for older Australians to remain in the workforce and defer receipt of income support pension. The incentive was a bonus, payable if all eligibility criteria and rules were satisfied.
The pension bonus was a once-only, tax-free lump sum payable to a person who, on reaching their special date of eligibility, voluntarily deferred retirement for at least one year and registered as a member of the scheme. The pension bonus was claimed at the same time as claiming pension and is calculated using the annual rate of basic pension payable at grant, multiplied by the bonus periods accrued.
Designated pension is defined in section 45TA VEA and relates to the pension bonus scheme. Designated pension means:
- age service pension, or
- partner service pension, or
Designated pension under the Social Security Act 1991 means age pension
The Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.
Income support pension is:
- a social security pension
- a service pension;
- an income support supplement.