Readers respond to our Work Bonus story

Article published 4 October 2023

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Work Bonus and income reporting are among the bugbears of working pensioners. If only common sense could prevail!

AT the end of our Work Bonus story last Friday, we included a brief survey to find out what you the reader thought of the $4,000 top-up being made permanent.

70 per cent of survey respondents said they thought the $4,000 top-up would be provided every year rather once only.

15 per cent hadn’t really thought about it, and the remaining 15 per cent had understood that it would be once only.

Clearly, the federal Treasurer could have done a much better job of explaining what the $4,000 top-up meant, if only one or two out of ten people understood what he meant.

70 per cent of survey respondents said they found Work Bonus attractive, while 30 per cent said it wasn’t.

Obviously, Work Bonus as a policy is appreciated by  a majority of people, although it’s likely that 70 per cent represented people who are on Work Bonus. In survey jargon: the survey result is likely to show selection bias.

Here are some comments from readers:

  1. Even in your article it was stated that the new arrangements are hard to understand. I found the government as usual has deliberately made it convoluted, time consuming and hard to understand. Really no incentive for me to work despite being able and wanting to work. Imagine how complicated it would be dealing with Centrelink. It will not make any difference to pensioner participation in work.
  2. What’s the point, it takes so much of your time to report, work out, adjust your life around Centrelink. They will fiddle and get it wrong so you spend time waiting on the phone to get it corrected. (..) Not much of a life style talking to the government every two weeks. I wish I had enough to house myself with. (..) I am a 70-year old renter, nowhere to go. Give people like me $300 a week rent subsidy increase, not $17. It’s $700 for a 1 bed flat [in the area] where i grew up and want to die. It’s all about clawing back money of people not helping them. It all stinks
  3. It does not benefit me to work decent shifts and penalty shifts in my last employment field – disability residential care. The reporting requirements are also cumbersome and the short timeframe to report is also stressful. So, I have quit. I don’t need all the hassle. I don’t need to be watching my Work Bonus and the loss of $0.50 in the dollar so closely that I have to take a fortnight off for the fear of losing my Age Pension. (..) Australia should be like New Zealand. Regardless of your income you still get an Age Pension. (..) There should be no Work Bonus restrictions and no strict rules. I should get a full pension, work and pay the assigned tax bracket income tax on my work income, and my superannuation should also be untaxed. (..) Have quit because of the complicated Monty Python Sketch scenario here in Australia. (..)
  4. I don’t understand [Work Bonus] and would need help to implement it!

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