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Work Bonus

Last amended 
1 July 2019

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Part IIIB, Division 1A Work Bonus


Stated Purpose/Intent

The Work Bonus replaces the former Pension Bonus Scheme, as a scheme to encourage and reward older Australians who remain in the paid workforce past their normal retirement age.

Under this income test concession, the first $300 of the person's fortnightly work bonus income is excluded from the income test.  The income concession amount is not subject to indexation.  Where the fortnightly work bonus income is less than $300 per fortnight, an eligible person will accrue the unused portion of the $300 per fortnight income concession to a work bonus bank to offset their income in the future.



A person who:

  • is receiving service pension or income support supplement;
  • has reached qualifying age; and
  • receives employment income arising from remunerative work undertaken as an employee in an employer/employee relationship or receives income generated from gainful work such as business earnings from self-employment that meet the personal exertion test.

A person who is receiving service pension or income support supplement at the transitional rate is not eligible for the work bonus.


Date of Introduction

20 September 2009


Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction

2009From 20 September 2009 half of the first $500 of the person's fortnightly employment income was disregarded.  This income must be generated as an employee in an employee/employer relationship.

Work bonus discount applies to all of the first $250 of fortnightly employment income. This applies from 28 June 2011.

Unused fortnightly work bonus can be accrued in a work bonus bank, to a maximum amount of $6,500.  Accrued amount in the work bonus bank can be used to offset employment income that exceeds the $250 p/f discount.

From 1 July 2019, the work bonus increased to $300 per fortnight and the work bonus bank increased to $7,800.
Work bonus income was also expanded to include both income from employment and self‑employment income.  Self-employment income must be generated by gainful work and is subject to a personal exertion test

The maximum work bonus bank balance temporarily increased to $11,800 from $7,800. The increase is effective from 1 December 2022 and available until 31 December 2023.  Any balance in excess of $7,800 as at 1 January 2024 was reset to $7,800.  Pensioners already eligible for the work bonus received on 1 December 2022 received a $4,000 one-off increase in their work bonus bank balance.  Pensioners who become eligible for the work bonus between 1 December 2022 and 31 December 2023 were given a starting balance of $4,000 on becoming eligible.