Media Release: Farm Household pilot pays off for farmers

18 May 2017

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

Changes to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) claim process are being rolled out nationally, following the success of a Department of Human Services pilot program that reduced application processing times.

Based on feedback the Government received in recent stakeholder roundtables, the Department piloted several changes to the FHA application process to streamline the application process, including the time to process applications.

Farmers typically have quite complex financial arrangements.  This pilot has simplified and sped up the application process despite these complex financial arrangements.

Previously, FHA claims took an average of 80 days to process. The new pilot programme processed 88 per cent of simple FHA claims within 28 days. During the pilot, the average time for a departmental officer to initially review a claim was three days, compared to 38 days in December 2016.

The changes also included a significant increase in outbound contact with farmers at the beginning of the claims process, and delaying the Farm Financial Assessment until after their claim has been granted.

Where possible, farmers also spoke to the same specialist staff member throughout the claim process to ensure continuity of support while their application was finalised.

Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the changes trialed under the pilot program had succeeded in speeding up the claims process for new applicants.

“Farmers have previously told us about their frustration with the length of time it used to take to process the Farmers Household Allowance,” said Minister Tudge.

“Now many farmers who apply for FHA can have their claim processed within a couple of weeks.”

“I am pleased to announce these changes have now been made to the FHA application process permanently to make sure we are delivering on our commitment to make it easier for farmers to access support.”