19/02/14: Age Pension Bonus: Last chance to register

Move quickly, deadline approaching!

If you're still working, male, and you were aged 65 or over (or 63.5 or over if you're a female) before September 2009, then you need to read this article.

If you fall into this age group and you expect to receive the Age Pension when you do finally retire, then you need to be aware that the Pension Bonus Scheme (PBS) closed to new members from 20 September 2009. Assuming you fall into this specific age group, the good news is that you can still register for the Age Pension Bonus, but you will have to hurry because applications close 28 February 2014.

Background: The PBS is a scheme to encourage older Australians to defer taking the Age Pension. The scheme pays a tax-free bonus to eligible individuals who work beyond Age Pension age, provided that they qualify for the Age Pension when they eventually retire. The maximum payment available is around $47,000 when you defer claiming the Age Pension for five years or more, and you're eligible for the full Age Pension when you do claim your entitlements. If you're eligible for a part-pension, you may be entitled to a part-Pension Bonus.

According to Centrelink, you will be eligible for the Age Pension bonus if you satisfy the following conditions:

> reached Age Pension age before 20 September 2009 (age 65 for men, 63.5 for women).

> continue to work since reaching Age Pension age.

> have not yet claimed the Age Pension.

> register before 1 March 2014.

If you have already applied for the PBS, then the scheme continues to apply for you, subject to meeting the scheme's 'work test' condition.

Note: Your eligibility for the PBS runs from the time you register, rather than the time you reached Age Pension age.

If you think that you may be entitled for the PBS, we recommend that you immediately make an appointment with Centrelink to formally determine your eligibility. Westmount clients can call our office if in doubt - we'll perform a quick calculation based on your current circumstances - beats waiting in a queue! Rick Maggi (Westmount. Financial Solutions.)