4.3.3.35 Employment income for pensioners below age pension age

Summary

This topic provides information about the following:

  • income assessed for employees (1.1.E.87)
  • income from independent contracting, and
  • exempt income.

Income assessment for employees

The money (or other valuable consideration) paid for remunerative work done by the person as an employee in an employer/employee relationship is assessed as the person's income without any reductions. This income is called employment income (1.1.E.102) and includes, but is not limited to, commissions, salary, wages, employment-related fringe benefits, or a combination of these.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(1) Income test definitions, section 8(1A) A reference in this Act to employment income, in relation to a person …, section 8(1B) For the avoidance of doubt …, section 8(1C) For the purposes of subsection (1A), a leave payment …, section 1073A Attribution of employment income paid in respect of a particular period or periods

Employment income lump sums (including leave payments)

Employment income lump sums that represent a period greater than a fortnight are applied from the beginning of the entitlement period in which the lump sum was paid and attributed forward for the relevant number of days, that is the same number of days as the lump sum was paid for, up to a maximum of 52 weeks.

Example: A contract-related employment income lump sum paid on 1 October for work completed on 1 July to 31 August. The lump sum is paid on the 7th day of the contractor's entitlement period. The lump sum is applied from the beginning of the entitlement period (in this instance 25 September) and is attributed forward for 62 days - being up until 25 November. This reflects the same number of days (62) for which the lump sum was paid. Note the income is not attributed for the same days, but the same number of days. As a result 56 days are attributed across eight entitlement periods and the final six days will be attributed evenly across the ninth entitlement period.

In limited circumstances where employment income is paid to a person but is not paid in respect of a particular period, a delegate of the Secretary of DSS will attribute this employment income over a period not exceeding 52 weeks, as appropriate in the circumstances. In most situations, the basis of determining the length of attribution will depend on the nature of the employment income. The lump sum will be applied forward from the beginning of the entitlement period in which it was paid for the relevant number of days.

When determining the period, the delegate may take in to consideration the following:

  • the nature of the person's remunerative work
  • the nature of the person's employment income
  • the person's financial interests
  • any financial hardship which may be caused to the person
  • whether the employment income relates to remunerative work that was undertaken at a time when the person was not receiving a social security pension or a social security benefit.

Example: An employment bonus paid as an income lump sum that does not relate to any particular period is spread over 12 months from the beginning of the entitlement period in which it was paid.

Example: A person takes 3 months long service leave and is paid a lump sum amount at the start of that leave period. Income from the lump sum leave payment is spread evenly over the 3 month period of leave starting from the beginning of the entitlement period in which the lump sum amount was paid.

Note: For disability support pensioners with a leave payment an IMP MAY apply.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(1) Income test definitions, section 8(1A) A reference in this Act to employment income, in relation to a person …, section 8(1C) For the purposes of subsection (1A), a leave payment …, section 1073A Attribution of employment income paid in respect of a particular period or periods, section 1073BA Attribution of employment income paid not in respect of a particular period

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.1.25 Determining the assessable income for pensioners below age pension age, 4.3.4.10 Application of the income maintenance period (IMP), 4.3.4.20 Definition of leave for the IMP

Income from independent contracting

A contract OF service or labour indicates an employer/employee relationship. A contract FOR services to produce a result indicates self-employment.

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.3.20 Income from employment or independent contracting

Exempt income

Some income from employment is exempt from assessment.

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.2 Income exempt from assessment

Last reviewed: 7 December 2020