Farm Household Allowance – support for farmers and rural communities
You are strongly encouraged not to self-assess your eligiblity for any support measures, but to seek professional advice from us in the first instance.
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 the farm enterprise
- meet an income and assets test
- meet residence requirements
- have regular contact with a Farm Household Case Officer
- be willing to agree to mutual obligations, and
- 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 following criteria:
- 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
The amount of Farm Household Allowance you get depends on your circumstances. This is usually the same rate as Newstart 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 maximum Farm Household Allowance is $516.60 per fortnight for singles and $465.50 per fortnight each for couples.
Your income must be below the allowable income limits used to calculate Newstart Allowance. Some non-farm income may not be assessable under certain circumstances.
You can earn up to $100 per fortnight gross before your payment is affected. Income above $100 and up to $250 per fortnight reduces your fortnightly payment by 50 cents in the dollar. Income above $250 per fortnight reduces your payment by 60 cents in the dollar.
Payments generally cut out when income exceeds $999 per fortnight for singles and $1,828 per fortnight combined for couples.
There are 2 components in the assets test:
Component 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, listed on a single title and used for domestic purpose, can be excluded from this assets test.
The total must not exceed $5,500 for singles or $11,000 for couples. If your liquid assets exceed the thresholds you may be subject to a Liquid Assets Waiting Period of up to 13 weeks.
In addition, non-farm assets must be less than $202,000 for singles and $286,500 for couples.
Component 2 – Total Farm net assets
The second component assesses your family’s total farm net assets. The total must be below $2.55 million.
If you are eligible for the Farm Household Allowance you may also be entitled to the low income Health Care Card.
Applying for Farm Household Allowance
An assessment of your, your partner’s and your farm’s financial position is undertaken. The assessment forms part of your claim for Farm Household Allowance.
You will receive a letter and Farm Financial Assessment Supplement voucher from us once we start assessing your claim for Farm Household Allowance. The letter will ask you to complete the Farm Financial Assessment and provide you with the information you need to complete the assessment, including your One Time Access Code.
You need to meet with a qualified Prescribed Adviser (like OBT) to complete the assessment.
During the assessment, the Prescribed Adviser will discuss the following with you:
- your personal financial position
- the financial position of your farm
- your place in the farm business
- the strengths and weaknesses of your farm
- the profitability of your farm business
- what factors are contributing to your financial hardship, and
- any suggestions to assist in the improvement of your financial security
You and your Prescribed Adviser will work through the relevant parts of the assessment together. Part A needs to be completed by the applicant and Parts B, C, and D are completed by the Prescribed Adviser. This assessment is completed on line.
Paying the Prescribed Adviser
The fee for your assessment is $1,800 incl GST. You can get up to $1,500 under the Farm Financial Assessment Supplement to pay towards this fee. There is no need to make a claim for the Farm Financial Assessment Supplement, a voucher for this will have been included in your letter.
Once you have completed your assessment, your Prescribed Adviser will issue you with an invoice for their services. You need to submit the invoice to us using the online lodgement service.
What happens next?
You will be assigned a Farm Household Case Officer once you are eligible for Farm Household Allowance.
You will be required to develop a Financial Improvement Agreement with your case officer at a mutually agreed time.
The Financial Improvement Agreement will set out agreed activities that you will undertake while you are on payment in order to improve the financial position of your farm enterprise.