3.4.7.10 Qualification for PBS

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for a pension bonus, a person must meet ALL of the criteria listed in the following table. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More Detail
Be a registered member of the scheme, AND 3.4.7.20 Registration for PBS
Has accrued at least one 12 month bonus period (1.1.B.80), AND This topic
Has not already received a pension bonus OR bonus under either the Social Security OR DVA Schemes, AND This topic
Has not received Age, or DFISA as a supplement to Age, at any time before making a claim for the pension bonus, AND This topic and

4.3.5.70 About DVA Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA)

Has not received any of the following since first qualifying for Age:
  • a social security pension, other than CP, OR
  • a social security benefit, OR
  • a DVA service pension (other than a carer service pension), OR
  • a DVA income support supplement (other than a carer income support supplement), OR
  • DFISA other than as a supplement to CP, AND

This topic and

4.3.5.70 About DVA Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA)

Starts to receive Age, or DFISA as a supplement to Age, when they claim for the pension bonus, WITHOUT the aid of an international agreement (1.1.A.120), AND 4.3.5.70 About DVA Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA)
Claims the pension bonus within the specified time limits. 3.4.7.80 Claiming the PBS Bonus

Act reference: SSAct section 92C Qualification for pension bonus, section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(1)-'social security benefit'

DVA pension bonus scheme

DVA has a similar scheme. Eligibility ages for veterans with qualifying service and widow/ers are 5 years lower than for Age. Pension bonus generally ceases to accrue under the DVA scheme when a person reaches 70 years (compared to 75 in the social security scheme).

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.4.7.50 Non-accruing Membership of PBS

Transfer between DVA & social security schemes

A member of the PBS registered with DVA may, if eligible, transfer their registration to Centrelink. Social security rules would then apply and only those bonus periods that have accrued while eligible under the social security rules would be transferred.

A person registered with Centrelink may also transfer their registration to DVA. There is no minimum period of deferral required to transfer between the 2 schemes.

Dual membership of the DVA & social security schemes

A person may be concurrently registered with both DVA and Centrelink. However, they can only claim a bonus and pension from one agency and NOT both.

Minimum of one full bonus year

A person must accrue at least one full bonus period (1.1.B.80) of 365 days to be qualified for a pension bonus. To accrue a full year bonus period, the person must pass the work test for that period.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.4.7.30 Bonus Periods for PBS, 3.4.7.60 PBS Work Test

Previous bonus payments

A person who has claimed and received a pension bonus under either the Social Security or Veterans' Affairs Schemes, and/or DFISA bonus, CANNOT receive an additional pension bonus payment. If the person attempts to register to accrue an additional bonus, they should be advised of this and their registration should be rejected.

Previous pension/benefit recipient

A person who has received Age, or DFISA as a supplement to Age, at any time CANNOT accrue a pension bonus or DFISA bonus payment.

Explanation: The scheme is not designed to encourage older Australians to re-enter the workforce after making the decision to retire and claim Age, or the DVA equivalents.

A person CANNOT qualify for a pension bonus (including any DFISA bonus) if, after having qualified for Age, they claim and receive:

  • a social security pension or benefit (other than CP), OR
  • a service pension (other than carer service pension) from DVA, OR
  • an income support supplement (other than carer income support supplement) from DVA, OR
  • DFISA other than as a supplement to CP.

Act reference: SSAct section 92C Qualification for pension bonus

SS(Admin)Act section 17(3) to (4) Special requirements regarding claims for pension bonus

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, refer to Part VIIAB Division 3 DFISA and related payments

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.5.72 DFISA Bonus & DFISA Bonus Bereavement Payment & the PBS

Recoverable debts

An amount of pension bonus may be recoverable in certain circumstances.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1) Dictionary, section 92C Qualification for pension bonus, section 1223(1) Debts arising from lack of qualification, overpayment etc.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.7.1 Amounts Recoverable under the SSAct

Last reviewed: 20 March 2015