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Wait for work bonus changes nearly over


Wait for work bonus changes nearly over

Retirement means different things to different people and, as unlikely as it sounds, Centrelink is here to help, writes NARELLE COOPER.

I  recently read an article published by the American Forbes Magazine on retirement in which it explored the term “retirement” and its meaning.  The article suggested, among other things, that:

“Yes, you are done with that job or situation, but you’re not out of the game.  Instead, consider yourself a free agent who gets to decide what’s next.  Do you want to start a new career, go back to school, start a business, join a non-profit, or be a full-time grandparent while the grandkids are young?”

Your “what’s next” could be a new business enterprise.

On July 1, the Government will introduce its amendments to the work bonus scheme that will have a positive impact – financial and possibly mental – on a lot of retirees who receive a part age pension.

It sends goose bumps up my hard-working arms when I think of the extra $7800 a year available to age pension recipients who are currently self-employed.

But there is more, not only $7800, but potentially an additional $6500.   Thank you very much, that is initially, a possible $14,300.

Let’s not forget to mention those “work together, stay together” couples. That could be an additional $28,600, until your work bonus bank runs out.

As with anything to do with Centrelink, if a picture paints a thousand words, then the Centrelink work bonus explanation would be a Picasso.

I am also working on the theory that if the new work bonus rules apply to you, then you have read the available information.

The questions is, how Centrelink is going to manage the process.

Firstly, if you are self-employed already you will soon receive a letter from Centrelink asking you to go online and complete the forms that will be sitting on your MyGov Centrelink online account.

Do not wait until the July 1 deadline. Action the letter as soon as you receive it.

Secondly, sadly there is very little information yet available on the ongoing income reporting for the self-employed.

It is expected that you will predict an income for the coming 12 months. There will be a dedicated line to Centrelink for all work bonus enquiries. No, I do not yet have that number.  I have been assured it will be in the letter.

Working part time is a choice and the point is, with the new and fairer work bonus, if you receive the age pension, that choice will no longer be penalised.

Like so many people at the older end of the age spectrum, I would like to think that I may not be wasting all those years of hard earnt knowledge and experience.

The above information is presented as general information and should not be relied upon in isolation. Always refer to Centrelink or a Centrelink expert for advice relating to your personal situation.

 Narelle Cooper is director of the Centre for Age Pension Admin (CAPA) Services. Call 1300 043 197 or visit

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