Farm Household Allowance
Help for farmers and their families experiencing financial hardship.
- be a farmer or the partner of a farmer. If you are a farmer you must contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to the farm enterprise based on specific criteria
- meet an income and assets test
- be willing to undertake a Farm Financial Assessment, and
- be willing to enter into a Financial Improvement Agreement to help you improve your financial circumstances
Eligibility & payment rates
To be eligible for Farm Household Allowance you need to:
- be a farmer
- be aged 16 years or over
- contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to a farm enterprise located in Australia
- meet an income and assets test
- meet residence requirements and be living in Australia
- have regular contact with a Farm Household Case Officer
- be willing to agree to mutual obligations, and
- have received Farm Household Allowance for a total period of less than 3 years
If you are the partner of a farmer, you may be eligible if:
- you are a member of a couple
- your partner is a farmer
- your partner contributes a significant part of their labour and capital to a farm enterprise located in Australia
- you meet an income and assets test
- you meet residence requirements and are living in Australia
- you have regular contact with a Farm Household Case Officer
- you are willing to agree to mutual obligations, and
- you have received less than 3 years of Farm Household Allowance
The farm enterprise must have significant commercial purpose or character. It will be assessed based on:
- the purpose of your farm activity and the prospect for profit
- the consistency of your farm activity
- whether your farm activity is planned, organised and operated like a business, and
- the size, scale and permanency of your farm activity
An assessment of your, your partner’s and your farm’s financial position that forms part of your mutual obligations for Farm Household Allowance.
The amount of Farm Household Allowance you get depends on your circumstances. This is usually the same rate as Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance. If you are a qualifying member of a couple, Farm Household Allowance is paid to each of you. To be paid as the partner of a farmer, an individual must meet Farm Household Allowance eligibility criteria and be partnered with someone who meets the farmer qualification criteria.
The amount of income and assets you have may determine the payment you will get.
Your income must be below the allowable income limits used to calculate Newstart Allowance.
If you earn off-farm income, in some specific circumstances, Farm Household Allowance allows for that amount to be deducted when calculating your entitlement under the income test. A maximum of $80,000 off-farm income can be offset against interest repayments. This can only happen if, among other things, the income for you or your partner from your farming business for the relevant financial year is less than zero. You must substantiate that the loan contract you are paying interest on cannot be renegotiated.
Read more about the income offset in the Farm Household Allowance Guidelines on the Department of Agriculture website. As with Farm Household Allowance in general, it is important that you don’t self-assess your eligibility. If you think the income offset may apply to you, lodge a claim to test your eligibility or contact the Farmer Assistance Hotline on
There are 2 parts to the assets test.
Part 1 – Non-farm and liquid assets test
The first component assesses the non-farm and liquid assets you, your family and your business own.
Liquid assets include cash immediately available in your personal and business bank accounts, term deposits, shares and other financial accounts. Your family home and up to 2 hectares of land surrounding it, if listed on a single title and used for domestic purposes, can be excluded from this assets test.
The total must not exceed your maximum reserve. Otherwise you may be subject to a Liquid Assets Waiting Period. Your maximum reserve differs depending on your circumstances.
Part 2 – Total net assets
The second component assesses your family’s total farm net assets. The total must be below $2.55 million.
To be eligible for Farm Household Allowance, you must:
- be an Australian resident
- continue to be an Australian resident for as long as you get this payment and
- be physically present in Australia on the day you submit your claim
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
Once you have read about eligibility, the next steps are:
- apply for the Farm Household Allowance
- provide supporting documents
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Income you earn can affect your payment. We need to know what you have earned each fortnight so you are paid the right amount.
How to report
You can report your income and all changes to your circumstances by using the self service option of your choice using:
- your Centrelink online account through myGov—if you do not have an account, it’s easy to register, or
- phoning the Farmer Assistance Hotline—by calling 132 316 between 8 am to 8 pm on your regular reporting day
Read more about Income reporting
At the end of each financial year we reconcile your business income. We compare your estimated business income and your actual business income to make sure you have received the correct amount of Farm Household Allowance for the financial year.
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- you become partnered or separate from your partner, or
- your work load changes
If you do not tell us about changes in your circumstances within 14 days of any change occurring, your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits and, if you are overpaid, you may have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
You will be supported by a Farm Household Case Officer who will work with you to develop a Financial Improvement Agreement which is designed to strengthen your financial circumstances. Your Farm Household Case Officer will contact you approximately every 3 months to talk about your agreed activities. They can help you with anything that may be impacting on your participation in these activities. These meetings can be either face to face or over the phone, depending on your circumstances.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Farm Household Allowance.
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Self service computers and printers are available in your local service centre to help you identify employment opportunities and make contact with service providers who may assist you in your search for work.
Financial Information Services is a free, confidential service that provides education and information on financial and lifestyle issues to all Australians.
Our social workers can help you during difficult times by providing counselling, support and information.
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.