Government delivers on election commitment to pensioners

Federal Parliament passed legislation this week that delivers on the Gillard Government’s election commitment to help age pensioners keep more of the money they earn at work.

The new Work Bonus will be available from 1 July this year, allowing age pensioners to earn more from work before it affects their pension.

Federal Member for Chifley, Ed Husic welcomed the passage of this legislation saying that it recognises the contribution that age pensioners continue to make to our community.

“There are a number of age pensioners who still feel that they have something to contribute either on a voluntary or paid basis,” Mr Husic said.

“In the past, many age pensioners have wanted to work but have been concerned about the impact it may have on their pensions.”

Under the new rules, pensioners will be able to earn up to $250 a fortnight without it being assessed as income under the income test.

Pensioners will also be able to build up any unused amount of the $250 fortnightly exemption in an ‘income bank’ to a total of $6,500.

Age pensioners will not have to apply for the Work Bonus but will need to continue to report their employment income to Centrelink in fortnights that it changes, so their Work Bonus can be calculated.

“These measures build on the significant increases to the pension the Australian Government delivered in September 2009,” Mr Husic said.

“Currently a single pensioner on the maximum rate is $128 better off per fortnight than they were before the reforms and couples combined on the maximum rate are $116 better off per fortnight.”