Earning bonus for seniors

WORKING Australians who receive an age pension will be able to work longer and earn more before their pension is affected, according to legislation introduced by the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.

The new work bonus will be enforced from July 1, allowing older Australians to earn up to $250 a fortnight before their income is assessed and their pension reduced.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot believes the new work bonus will have a positive effect on the Tweed Shire due to the large demographic of senior citizens in the area, many of whom have approached her on the issue.

“The new work bonus will mean more skilled employees in the workplace, and this will benefit not only businesses but also pensioners and the wider Tweed community,” Ms Elliot said.

“It will encourage older Australians to continue contributing their skills and knowledge by remaining in the workforce.

“I’m proud that the Gillard Government has delivered on our election commitment to help age pensioners who work earn more before their pension is affected.

“It is a win for business which will find it easier to tap into the skills of older workers.”

Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president Toni Zuschke believes that although it will be a bonus for the Tweed economy and local business, seniors are not choosing not to work because of the impact on their pension.

“I don’t really believe that people in our area are not working because of the impact on their pension,” Ms Zuschke said.

“If anything you would be looking at a professional force, not blue-collar work, but it’s a positive, it’s fabu- lous; single elderly people are really struggling. We do have an unusually large demographic of older people. Those who have an opportunity to earn more by picking up some paid work, that’s great.”

Under the new legislation pensioners will also be able to build up any unused amount of their $250 fortnightly bonus in an income bank to a total of $6500.

This could mean those who earn large amounts over short periods could also be protected, as well as those earning a regular fortnightly salary.

Any unused amount of the income bank can be carried forward.

Until July 1 seniors can only earn $150 before their income is assessed.



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