The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Work bonus - eligibility


This topic covers eligibility criteria for work bonus from 1 July 2019.

From 1 July 2019, the work bonus was expanded to include self-employment income from gainful work (1.1.G.25), as well as employment income. The work bonus amount was also increased from $250 to $300 for each 14 day instalment period and the maximum work bonus income concession bank balance was increased from $6,500 to $7,800.

From 1 December 2022 to 31 December 2023, a one-off, upfront temporary credit of $4,000 applied to work bonus income bank balances. The maximum work bonus income bank balance was also increased to $11,800 over this period.

From 1 January 2024, the increased maximum work bonus income bank of $11,800 was made permanent. In addition, from 1 January 2024, all people commencing on an eligible payment will receive an upfront $4,000 starting credit in their work bonus income bank.

The work bonus allows for a certain amount of income taken to have been paid from employment AND/OR income from self-employment from gainful work that is earned, derived or received in an instalment period to be disregarded for the purposes of the pension income test for pensioners of age pension age (except PPS).

It also allows for the building up of a work bonus income concession bank depending on the total amount of income from employment paid and from self-employment from gainful work earned by an eligible pensioner in relevant instalment periods.

Eligibility criteria

The work bonus applies to recipients who are:

  • age pension age
  • have their rate of payment of pension or benefit worked out with regard to the income test module of a rate calculator at SSAct section 1064, and
  • not receiving a transitional rate of pension.

Note: If a person is eligible for a transitional rate, a comparison is made between their transitional rate (which has no work bonus) to their new rate (which does include the work bonus).

Act reference: SSAct section 1073AA Work bonus, section 1073AB Unused concession balance, section 1064 Rate of age and disability support pensions and CP (people who are not blind), section 1072 General meaning of ordinary income, Schedule 1A clause 144 to clause 149 Saving and transitional provisions ā€¦

Policy reference: SS Guide Pension reform - transitional arrangements

Last reviewed: