Farm Household Allowance

Helping you transition off

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

There are a number of reasons why you may be about to transition off FHA, including you:

Also on this page you can read about:

When you stop receiving FHA, your Health Care Card will also stop.

Better financial situation

If your financial situation has improved, let us know as soon as this happens so we don’t overpay you. If we overpay you, you will get a debt and may have to pay the money back.

You will be able to apply for FHA again, if you need to in the future. You can do this if you haven’t reached the maximum period of payment.

Even if you no longer get FHA you still need to reconcile your business income. You need to do this for each financial year that you got it. Just send us your tax returns and financial statements and we will work out if we have paid you:

  • the right amount
  • too much, or
  • if you need a top up payment

Received the maximum period of payment

You can get FHA for a maximum of 1,460 days – about 4 years. As you enter the fourth year of payment, talk to your Farm Household Case Officer about transitioning off the payment. You may be able to get an additional activity supplement at the start of your third year. You can use the additional activity supplement until the end of your fourth year.

Additional Activity Supplement

If you haven’t accessed your Activity Supplements yet, you may still be able to access it. This includes the $1000 Additional Activity Supplement available from the third year.

Activity Supplements aim to help you reach financial independence when getting FHA. For some people, their goal is to remain on the farm. They use the activity supplements to pay for advice or training related to their farm. For others, their goal is to find work away from the farm. They may use the supplement to pay for study or training. This applies even if you haven’t finished the activity by the time you come off the payment.

No longer farming

If you’re no longer farming, or your partner is no longer farming, you may not be eligible for this payment. If your situation has changed and your farm is no longer significantly used for commercial purposes, your payment may stop.

We can gear your Financial Improvement Agreement towards you improving your skills to find work in other areas. As you improve your skills and come off the payment, you may be eligible for income support, including:

You may also be eligible for other benefits.

You can check to see if you’re eligible for our other payments and services. Use our Payment and Service Finder.

Preparing for retirement

If you’re thinking about retiring from farming you can get free financial advice from our Financial Information Service (FIS). You can talk to FIS officers at a service centre or on the phone.

They can give you details about succession planning and what to consider when you plan for retirement.

FIS officers can help you apply for the Age Pension. They can also give you details about fees to do with moving into aged care facilities.

Ask a FIS officer if your decision to retire affects your eligibility for Age Pension. You have to meet an income and assets test when you claim Age Pension. Your decisions about selling or handing over your farm to your family may impact this.

Read more about Age Pension and planning your retirement.

You can get free financial advice about succession planning from Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ rural financial counsellors.

If you haven’t met with one yet your Farm Household Case Officer can refer you to a rural financial counsellor.

Your circumstances have changed

We may be able to help if you have a crisis in your health, relationship, or financial situation. If you have left the farm where you had been receiving Farm Household Allowance we may be able to help.

You may be eligible for other payments and services if:

  • you’ve left your relationship, and
  • are no longer a farmer or farmer’s partner

You can talk to one of our social workers. They help people who are suffering loss and bereavement, relationship breakdown, mental health or other issues.

If you have children, we can help you claim child support payments from a previous partner. Read more about your choices as a separated parent.

If you can't work due to disability or illness, you can apply for the Disability Support Pension and Sickness Allowance.

Farm Household Case Officers

Farm Household Case Officers can refer you to a number of services as you transition off the payment.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ Rural Financial Counselling Service can provide free financial advice. The counsellors can help you with long term financial plans for your farm. They can also help with short term issues like debt mediation. A rural financial counsellor can see you even if you don’t get a payment from us.

Our Financial Information Service also provides free financial information. Officers give details to help you make informed decisions about investment and financial matters. This can be both for your current and your future needs.

Our social workers can help with short term counselling, support and information to help you through a difficult time.

Farm Household Case Officers can also help you access local government and community support services.

Other payments and services

You can also check to see if you’re eligible for our other payments and services. Use our Payment and Service Finder. Most income support payments and concession cards have an income and assets test. You may not be eligible if your income or assets are high.

If you have high assets but a low income, you may be eligible for the Low Income Health Care Card. It has an income test, but doesn’t have an assets test.

You can check for other support services in your state or territory through our Payment and Service Finder.

Find details about assistance from your state government.

New South Wales

Northern Territory

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

Page last updated: 1 August 2018