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6.5.7 Earnings Credit earnings credit scheme ceased to operate on 20 March 1997 (more information is contained in DI C21/97). Under the earnings credit scheme, earnings were excluded from the income test until the total amount of earnings exceeded the accrued earnings credit. The maximum amount of earnings credit accruable to a single pensioner was $1,000. Couples were able to accrue and utilise their combined earnings credit to a maximum of $2,000.

Note:An earnings credit could only accrue when a person was in receipt of the maximum rate of income support pension. a person who had accrued a credit commenced remunerative work and the person's fortnightly income exceeded the income free area (IFA):

  • no further credit accrued (until income again fell below the IFA)
  • the amount of the person's earnings was deducted from the person's credit; and
  • pension continued at the same rate until the credit was used up.

Where an earnings credit existed, the overpayment commencement date was not the day employment commenced, but the payday in which the earnings credit was exhausted.