16 October 2018
Help for farmers to access the FHA
It is now easier for farmers to apply for the fortnightly Farm Household Allowance payment and Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien is encouraging farmers to apply for the assistance.
“The application form for the FHA has been cut by a third, the eligibility criteria is easier to identify and the whole process is now quicker and much simpler,” Mr O’Brien said
“Last week there was an information session in Gympie on the improved FHA application process and there will be mobile service centres visiting rural and regional areas to provide information and help.
“Farmers should also remember that the free Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) is available to help fill out the form. The Coalition Government is providing an additional $5 million to the RFCS to help meet the extra demand.
“Previous changes to the FHA included extending the FHA period from three to four years, increasing the farm assets test eligibility threshold from $2.6m to $5m and paying extra lump sum payments of up to $12,000.
“These changes demonstrate the Coalition Government is serious about helping our farmers,“ Mr O’Brien said.
Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said although applications for FHA have more than doubled compared to last financial year, there were still many farmers who were yet to access the support available to them.
“In 2017-18 we received around 1,250 applications for FHA – that has increased to 3,000 applications already this financial year,” Mr Keenan said.
“By opening our regional services centres on Saturdays, we are giving farmers who haven’t yet applied the chance to access advice and one-on-one assistance from our FHA case officers who can help them complete their claims forms.”
Minister Littleproud recently announced an independent review of the FHA to make sure it’s doing what it should, and the review panel is holding face-to-face consultations across Australia.
To find out more or to make a submission online please go to https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/fha-review-2018.
To find out when and where the Centrelink information sessions are being held go to humanservices.gov.au/farmhouseholdallowance
For more information on the FHA and the Rural Financial Counselling Service, go to https://www.rfcssq.org.au/