Farm Household Allowance

A payment for farming families in financial hardship.

Eligibility basics

  • a farmer who spends a major part of your time and capital working on the farm,  or the partner of a farmer who does
  • is not over the income and assets test limits
  • meets mutual obligation requirements
If you get Farm Household Allowance, you need to send us your tax returns so we can check if we paid you the right amount. Read more about farm business income reconciliation.

Eligibility & payment rates

Who can get it

You can get Farm Household Allowance if you:

  • are a farmer or partner of a farmer
  • are 16 years of age or older
  • contribute labour and capital to an Australian farm, or are the partner of a farmer who does
  • meet an income and assets test
  • meet residency rules, and
  • have had less than 3 years of Farm Household Allowance

Your farm must have significant commercial purpose. We'll assess this based on:

  • the purpose of your farm
  • the prospect for profit
  • consistency of activity
  • whether your farm runs as a business, and
  • the size, scale and permanency of your farm activity

 

Mutual obligation requirements

To get Farm Household Allowance, you must agree to follow the mutual obligations requirements:

  1. complete a Farm Financial Assessment.

    Financial advisors can help you do this. The assessment looks at your, your partner’s and your farm’s financial position.

  2. sign a Financial Improvement Agreement.

    This aims to help improve your financial circumstances. A Farm Household case officer will work with you on this and anything that may affect your agreement.

  3. have regular contact with a Farm Household Case Officer.

    They'll meet with you every 3 months to talk about your progress. This can be in person or over the phone.

How much you get

Your Farm Household Allowance depends on your circumstances.

This payment is usually the same rate as Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance. If you have a partner, we may pay the allowance to both of you.

You'll need to submit separate claims.

Income and assets tests

You must meet an income and assets test to get Farm Household Allowance.

Read more about income and assets for Farm Household Allowance

Residence rules

On the day you claim Farm Household Allowance, you must be:

To keep getting Farm Household Allowance

You must continue to be an Australian resident for as long as you get this payment.

What may be different

Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.

Waiting periods

Liquid assets waiting periods will not be applied to FHA claims granted on or after 5 April 2017.

Ordinary Waiting Periods will not be applied to FHA claims granted on or after 5 April 2017.

The time you spend waiting doesn’t count as part of your 3 years of entitlement to Farm Household Allowance.

Other waiting periods may be applied depending on your circumstance.

Claiming

Check if you’re eligible before you start your claim.

Then:

  • find out what you need before you start
  • choose your claiming option
  • submit any documents we ask for
  • submit your claim
  • wait for us to assess your claim and tell you the result

Claim

Managing your payment

Income reporting

Your off-farm income can affect your payment. You must tell us how much you earn each fortnight.

Tell us your income by: 

Update your business income estimate through the Farmer Assistance Hotline or visit a service centre.

Read more about income reporting

Business income reconciliation

To calculate Farm Household Allowance, we compare your estimated and actual business income. We reconcile your business income at the end of each financial year.

Read more about business income reconciliation

Activity Supplement

You can claim an Activity Supplement of up to $3,000. This will help pay for activities in your Financial Improvement Agreement.

If you’re in your third year of getting Household Allowance, you may be able to claim an extra $1,000. This will help pay for high value activities by the end of your 3 years.

Talk to your Farm Household Case Officer to check if you can get the Activity Supplement.

Change of circumstances

You need to report any changes to your circumstances.

If you don’t tell us when changes happen, you may be doing the wrong thing.

You need to tell us if:

  • you change your address
  • your income changes
  • you don’t have to lodge a tax return
  • you get a partner or separate from your partner, or
  • your workload changes

How and when to tell us

The easiest way to tell us about changes is through our self service options.

You need to:

  • tell us within 14 days of the change
  • make sure your details are up to date in myGov

It’s never too late to report a change.

If you don’t tell us

If you don’t tell us about changes in your life, we may pay you too much. If this happens, you must pay the money back, plus a fee.

If you don’t tell us when your circumstances change, you could be committing fraud.

Read how to avoid committing fraud.

While travelling outside Australia

There are rules about when your Farm Household Allowance can be paid when you travel outside Australia.

Read more about the Farm Household Allowance while travelling outside Australia

In your third year

You can only get Farm Household Allowance for 3 years. You don’t have to use these 3 years all at once.

Once you use your 3 years, your payment stops. You may be able to get an extra activity supplement in your third year.

Your case officer can help and connect you with other support services.

You can also:

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn

Helping you transition off

When you stop getting Farm Household Allowance (FHA) you may be able to get other payments or support services.

Read more about transitioning off Farm Household Allowance

Resources

Financial Information Service

Our Financial Information Service gives you free, confidential help and information on money and lifestyle issues.

Read about the Financial Information Service.

Help from social workers

Our social workers can offer support and information to help you during difficult times. Social workers can link you to other supports and services.

Try self service

Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.

Read more about using self service.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money

 

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Regular deductions using Centrepay

You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

Read more about regular deductions using Centrepay

Page last updated: 11 September 2017