Membership in the scheme
Only accruing membership can count toward your Pension Bonus.
Periods of accruing membership can break periods of non-accruing membership. Non-accruing membership may allow you to stay in the scheme, if you can’t work. This means you can be an accruing member then a non-accruing member then an accruing member again.
As a registered member you can accrue bonus periods toward your Pension Bonus if you meet all of the following. You:
- pass the work test
- are younger than 75
- aren’t in a period of non-accruing membership.
If you’re 75 or older
If you’re 75 or older and still work, you can’t accrue bonus periods. You can still be a member of the scheme if you continue to pass the work test rules.
If you rely on your partner’s work to pass the work test, their non-accruing periods may affect your bonus.
You may stay in the scheme while you’re a non-accruing member. This membership won’t count toward your Pension Bonus.
Your membership is non-accruing if any of the following applies to you. You:
- get periodic or lump sum compensation payments
- get Carer Payment
- take part in a Community Development Employment Project
- are in prison or psychiatric confinement because of an offence
- or your partner, or both of you gift large amounts of money over a certain period.
Non-accruing membership applies if, after 30 June 2002, you gifted more than:
- $10,000 in a financial year while you’re a member of the scheme
- $30,000 in total across any 5 financial years, including the 5 years before you became a member of the scheme.
Since 20 September 2006 parents and immediate family members can place up to $500,000 combined in a Special Disability Trust. This is for the care and accommodation needs of a person with severe disability.
The social security or Veterans’ Affairs means tests and gifting rules:
- will affect amounts over the $500,000 limit
- won’t affect amounts under the limit if the contributor meets certain rules.
Fail the work test
Your membership in the scheme may be non-accruing if you fail the work test for one of these reasons:
- you were on continuous sick leave for 4 to 26 weeks before 1 January 2008
- since 1 January 2008 you’ve been on any paid or unpaid leave for up to 26 weeks
- you were unable to work due to coronavirus (COVID-19) between 30 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.
Your membership may also be non-accruing if you fail the work test for other reasons. For these other reasons, you’ll have up to 13 weeks before you have to meet the work test rules again. These reasons are:
- your partner dies
- you had less paid work on or after 1 March 2006 because of Cyclone Larry
- you had less paid work on or after 24 August 2006 because of a major disaster.
Change of circumstances
While you’re a member of the scheme you don’t have to tell us about changes to your circumstances.
We do recommend you tell us if you change address. Also tell us about other events that might affect your bonus payment, such as a change in relationship status.
Page last updated: 22 March 2021
This information was printed 20 September 2021 from https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/pension-bonus-scheme/who-can-get-payment/membership-scheme. It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/site-notices when using this material.