Farm Household Allowance

Note: Farm Household Allowance recipients who receive payment on any day from 12 March to 13 April 2020 will receive the Economic Stimulus Payment of $750 (from 31 March 2020), in addition, from 27 April 2020 a Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight will be paid to Farm Household Allowance recipients – see the Services Australia website for further details.

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) program provides assistance to farming families experiencing financial hardship, no matter the cause of that hardship.

The program provides eligible farmers and their partners with a package of assistance that includes:

  • up to four years of fortnightly income support (in every 10 year period)
  • ancillary allowances such as Pharmaceutical Allowance, Telephone Allowance, Rent Assistance and Remote Area Allowance
  • a professional financial assessment of the farm business (worth up to $1,500)
  • funding to help develop skills, access training and pay for professional advice (increasing from $4,000 to 10,000 from 11 June 2020)
  • regular support of a case manager.

On 27 September 2019, the Australian Government announced a radical simplification of the FHA application process and key policy settings, in response to an independent FHA review that was undertaken in 2018.

Read the outcome of the Review.

The Australian Government’s response to the Review includes a number of key amendments to legislation and simplification of processes.
Amendments include:

  • exempting the profit from the forced disposal of livestock that is put into a Farm Management Deposit (effective from 1 July 2019)
  • lifting the off-farm income threshold to $100,000 and allowing anyone running at a loss to access the offset and treating income from directly–related businesses (eg. agistment) as primary production income (from 16 December 2019)
  • redesign of the application process – a new online claim that can be used by both members of a couple (effective1 February 2020)
  • paying the maximum rate only (or nothing if the income is above the thresholds) (from 11 June 2020)
  • simplifying the assets test to remove the distinction between farm and off-farm assets. There will be a single threshold of $5.5 million net assets from 11 June 2020
  • changing the definition of who can complete the Farm Financial Assessment. The definition has been expanded to include farm consultants and Rural Financial Counsellors
  • increasing the amount of the Activity Supplement to $10,000 in a person’s lifetime and allowing funds to be used for travel and accommodation to undertake training
  • removing the requirement for business income reconciliation from 1 July 2020.

From 16 December 2019 to 30 June 2020 people whose first four years of FHA has expired will receive a lump sum Relief Payment that is the equivalent of six months on the payment. The Relief Payment will be made automatically by Services Australia as soon as their payment cancels because they’ve reached their 1,460 days of payment, no one has to apply.
Couples will receive of $13,000 ($6,500 each) and single people will receive $7,500, to help them meet household costs.

Support for eligible farmers and their partners. Helping you through hardship, including drought.

Eligibility

Check if you are eligible for Farm Household Allowance.

You:

  • are a farmer
  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • are at least 16 years of age
  • have a right or interest in land and use it for a farm business.

Your farm:

  • is in Australia
  • has a significant commercial purpose or character.

You must:

  • contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to the farm business
  • enter into a financial improvement agreement, or have one in place already.

You can apply as a farmer, or as a farmer’s partner.

Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

You cannot receive FHA if you:

  • currently receive other pensions or social security benefits
  • have already received the payment for 4 years (in the 10 year period)
  • do not meet the criteria in the guidelines.

Read the detail in the FHA guidelines.

Need help?

You can get help to understand and apply for Farm Household Allowance. Specially trained staff are available on the Farmer Assistance Line at Services Australia, call 132 316 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

You can also talk to one of our Rural Financial Counsellors​. It is a free service. They will evaluate your situation and let you know what you can apply for. Find your local service provider by visiting our Rural Financial Counselling Service webpage.

See all drought and rural support we provide.

Payments and support

You can get Farm Household Allowance for up to 4 years (1,460 days) at any time between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2024. You can apply for your second tranche of four years from 1 July 2024.
FHA gives you time to improve your circumstances. You do not have to receive all payments in one go. You can defer your payments for future hardship.
You will also get ongoing support from your own:

  • Farm Household Case Officer (FHCO)
  • Rural Financial Counsellor (RFC).

Apply

Applications and payments are managed by Services Australia.

Call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.

Learn more about Farm Household Allowance.

Last reviewed: 9 April 2020
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