The Australian Government is continuing to assist older Australians to work, if they are able and wish to do so.
Seniors may have substantial earnings and still receive an Age Pension. Age Pension rules provide incentives for employment, including part-time or casual employment through the combined application of the pension income test and the Work Bonus.
New Work Bonus
From 1 July 2011, the Work Bonus has been expanded to allow age pensioners, especially those with seasonal or intermittent jobs, to keep more of their pension if they choose to work. Eligible pensioners can earn up to $250 a fortnight without it being assessed as income under the pension income test.
Any unused amount of the fortnightly $250 Work Bonus accumulates in a ‘Work Bonus Income Bank’ up to a maximum of $6,500. The income bank amount offsets future employment income that would otherwise be assessable under the pension income test. The income bank amount is not time limited; if unused, it carries forward, even across years.
The Work Bonus income bank is a generous incentive for pensioners who wish to work, particularly those who undertake intermittent or occasional work.
For information about the new Work Bonus, please refer to the Work Bonus factsheet.
Pension Income Test
The pension income test is designed to encourage pensioners to supplement their pension with additional private income. A pensioner can receive an amount of private income before their pension rate starts to reduce. This is the income test free area which, at 1 July 2012, is $152 for single-rate pensioners and $268 for couples (combined). For each dollar of income above the income test free area, the single pension is reduced by 50 cents.
For further information about the income test free area and the amount of private income a pensioner may receive before their pension rate reduces to zero, please refer to the Department of Human Services.
More information for seniors in the workforce
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - Experience+ - information for mature age workers.
- Australian Taxation Office - information for seniors and retirees on tax concessions.
- Treasury – Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians
- Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission – information about age discrimination