What is a bonus period

The first bonus period commences on the date of registration or, if the person was a non-accruing member at that time, on the first day after the non-accruing membership ceases. Bonus periods are normally continuous, but may be broken by a period/s of non-accruing membership. In this case a bonus period will be broken into two or more periods which cannot add to more than 365 days for a full-year period.

Accruing bonus period


The following periods can be a bonus period accruing to a person if the person has passed the work test for that period:

  • the period of 365 days dating from the date the person first became an accruing member of the scheme. This is the first bonus period that can accrue under the VEA.
  • any succeeding full year period of the person's accruing membership of the scheme  which is specified in the person's claim for bonus,
  • a part year period of accruing membership, provided that the period begins immediately after a full year bonus period and is the last bonus period accruing to the person. The period must also be specified in the person's claim for bonus.

These rules may vary if the claimant is a war widow/widower who has been deferring age pension.    

Calculation of total bonus years accrued

Members must accrue a minimum of one full year bonus period. Their final bonus period can be a part year. A part year period cannot fall between two full year periods. If a person fails the work test, and does not become a non-accruing or post 70/75 member, they can no longer accrue bonus periods.

A person can accrue more than one bonus period but only if the bonus periods are:

  • consecutive, or
  • only separated by a period of non-accruing membership.
Example of calculation of total bonus years accrued

Joe is an accruing member of the pension bonus scheme who works two full year periods of 365 each and a part year period of 185 days for the final bonus period. The calculation of his bonus is then based on an overall qualifying period of 2.507 years ([365 x 2 + 185]/365). If Joe does not claim the bonus within 13 weeks of failing the work test at the end of the last part year bonus period he will not receive a bonus unless the discretion to allow an extended lodgment period is exercised.    

Limit of five bonus years – last bonus period is full-year period


If a member passes the work test for more than five bonus periods and their last bonus period is a full-year period, only the most recent five full-year bonus periods will be used to calculate the amount of bonus payable.

Limit of five bonus years – last bonus period is a part-year period


If a member passes the work test for more than five bonus periods and their last bonus period is a part-year period, the 5 most recent full-year bonus periods are used to calculate the bonus.

Age limit to accrue bonus

Members can only accrue bonus periods up to the day before they become post 70/75 members.

Effect of non accruing membership



Continuity of accruing membership

Section 45TP VEA

VEA → (go back)

[glossary:Non-accruing:] members of the scheme do not have to meet the work test requirements. However, a person is not automatically a non-accruing member if they cannot meet the work test. Some events will trigger non-accruing periods during which the person will not accrue any bonus. If a person becomes a non-accruing member immediately after the end of their last bonus period, they can retain their eligibility for a bonus throughout the period they are non-accruing. Should they subsequently become an accruing member and again meet the work test, they can accrue further bonus periods which will be included in the calculation of their overall qualifying period.