From today, pensioners over age-pension age and eligible veterans will be able to earn more income from working without reducing their pension – just in time to take advantage of seasonal jobs.
Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten said eligible Australians could engage in the workforce if they chose to, at a time of workforce shortages without losing any of their income support payments.
“They will immediately be able to earn an additional $4000 before their government payments are reduced,” Mr Shorten said.
“The maximum Work Bonus income bank will be lifted from $7800 to $11,800 for anyone over age-pension age on an income-support payment.”
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said it would provide more flexibility to those who wanted to take up extra work.
“We know pensioners do want some flexibility,” Minister Rishworth said.
“A lot of pensioners don’t want to work all year or they don’t want to work at all, but for some that do want to work they want to do so in seasonal jobs.
“Employers are calling out for experienced workers, particularly in the health and childcare sectors, so it makes sense to offer incentives to older Australians to encourage them back to the workforce and share their skills.
“Importantly, this immediate income bank credit offers flexibility to work for short periods and there will be plenty of short-term seasonal jobs coming up over the Christmas and summer period.”
Mr Shorten encouraged people who are on limited, fixed incomes and feeling cost-of-living pressures to check whether they have work credits.
“These credits act as a buffer to help encourage people to take on ad hoc work, without their Income Support Payment taking a hit,” he said.
“The festive season is a great time to pick up part-time or casual work, and Working Credit, Income Bank and Work Bonus all help Australians stay engaged in the workforce while getting some extra support.
“Each payment has different rules, but it’s simple to check online if you have credits available that might offset any reduction in your payment from casual work.
“Just access your Centrelink account via myGov.”
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the opportunity to work more would support veterans after their service.
“The ability to undertake meaningful work has been shown to benefit veterans’ mental health and wellbeing following their military service,” Minister Keogh said.
“Veterans bring to the civilian workplace so many great skills gained in the ADF.
“This will ensure our community continues to benefit from those.”
Pensioners will also not have to reapply for payments for up to two years if their employment income exceeds the income limit.
Currently their connection to social security is cancelled after 12 weeks of exceeding the income limit.
As a result, pensioners will also retain access to their Pensioner Concession Card and associated benefits for two years.
More information about the Government’s Work Bonus changes can be found here.