If you’re 55 or older

Find out about your mutual obligation requirements if you’re 55 and over.

If you’re 55 or older you can meet your full-time mutual obligation requirements through:

  • paid work
  • self-employment
  • approved voluntary work
  • a combination of these activities.

Your mutual obligation requirements depend on your age and circumstances.

When you’re between 55 and 59

Your options for meeting your mutual obligation requirements depend on how long you’ve been on your payment.

12 months or less on your current income support payment

Your options for meeting your requirements change when you’re both:

  • less than 12 months on your current income support payment
  • between 55 and 59 years.

You can meet your mutual obligation requirements by working 30 hours per fortnight of either:

  • suitable paid work where the income is equal to or more than the minimum wage
  • self-employment where your net business income is equal to or more than the minimum wage
  • a combination of approved voluntary work and suitable paid work including self-employment.

At least 15 hours of work done must be paid work if you decide to do a combination of:

  • approved voluntary work
  • suitable paid work
  • self-employment.

If you want to do voluntary work you need to talk to us about it. We must agree that both:

  • the work is suitable
  • the organisation is an approved voluntary work organisation.

You can use the Voluntary Work Verification of Voluntary Work form to seek approval from us.

12 months or more on your current income support payment

Your options for meeting your requirements change when you’re both:

  • 12 months or more on your current income support payment
  • between 55 and 59 years.

You can meet your mutual obligation requirements by working 30 hours per fortnight of any of the following:

  • approved voluntary work
  • suitable paid work where the income is equal to or more than the minimum wage
  • self-employment where the net business income is equal to or more than the minimum wage
  • a combination of approved voluntary work and suitable paid work, including self-employment.

If you want to do voluntary work you need to talk to us about it. We must agree that both:

  • the work is suitable
  • the organisation is an approved voluntary work organisation.

You can use the Voluntary Work Verification of Voluntary Work form to seek approval from us.

When you turn 60

You can meet your mutual obligation requirements by working 30 hours per fortnight of any of the following:

  • approved voluntary work
  • suitable paid work where the income is equal to or more than the minimum wage
  • self-employment where the net business income is equal to or more than the minimum wage
  • a combination of approved voluntary work and suitable paid work, including self-employment.

If you want to do voluntary work you need to talk to us about it. We must agree that both:

  • work is suitable
  • the organisation is an approved voluntary work organisation.

You can use the Voluntary Work Verification of Voluntary Work form to seek approval from us.

What exemptions may apply

You may be exempt from mutual obligation requirements in certain circumstances.

Page last updated: 26 October 2023.
QC 52777