On the 2nd of July 2018, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) system came in to affect. The Child Care Subsidy replaced Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) with a single, means-tested subsidy. Childcare Subsidy is designed to provide more assistance to low and middle-income families.
Many families out of pocket cost Child Care fees have fallen between $20 – $30 per day under the CCS system.
Who is eligible?
Some basic requirements must be satisfied for an individual to be eligible to receive Child Care Subsidy for a child. These include:
- The child/ren must 13 years old or younger and not attending high school (some exceptions do apply)
- All children must be up to date with their immunisations. You will be required to provide a copy of the statement to the service at least every six months.
- Residency requirements must be met
- The child/ren must be attending an approved Child Care Service.
If your child is absent from childcare?
We pay this subsidy for up to 42 absences for each child, per financial year. You can use these absence days for any reason, including if the child is overseas. We don’t need evidence.
Absence days are the days you would normally get CCS. This includes public holidays. You can only use an absence day after your child has physically attended the service for the first time.
In special circumstances, you may get CCS for more than 42 absence days. Talk to your childcare service about this. You may need to provide supporting documents.
We’ll cancel your enrolment if either of the following occurs:
- your child hasn’t attended childcare for 8 continuous weeks
- your childcare service advises us that your child is no longer attending.
For more information on the absences, please visit the human services website
Additional Child Care Subsidy
If you’re eligible for Child Care Subsidy you may be able to get extra help with the cost of approved childcare.
To get this you must be eligible for Child Care Subsidy. And you need to be 1 of the following:
- an eligible grandparent getting an income support payment
- transitioning from certain income support payments to work
- experiencing temporary financial hardship.
For more information on the ACCS, please see the following page on the Human Services website
Child Care Subsidy Entitlement
There are three factors that determine a family’s level of Child Care Subsidy. These include the Combined Family Income, the Activity Test and the Type of Care that you are applying for such as long day care or family day care.
- The Combined Family Income
- The Activity Test
The number of hours of subsidised childcare that families have access to per fortnight is determined by a three-step activity test.
In two parent families both parents, unless exempt, must meet the activity test. In the case where both parents meet different steps of the activity test, the parent with the lowest entitlement determines the hours of subsidised care for the child.
A broad range of activities meet the activity test requirements, including:
- Paid work, including being self-employed or on leave (including paid or unpaid parental leave)
- Doing unpaid work in the family business
- Training courses for the purpose of improving the individual’s work skills or employment prospects
- An approved course of education or study
- Unpaid work experience or internships
- Actively setting up a business
- Actively looking for work Recognised activities can be combined to determine the maximum number of hours of subsidy.
Time taken to travel between the childcare service and the parents/carers place of work, training, study, or other recognised activity can also be included.
Activity hours do not need to coincide with childcare hours. For example, an individual undertaking work on the weekends is entitled to Child Care Subsidy during the week.
Low income families with a combined annual income of $68,163 or less who do not meet and are not exempt from the activity test are entitled to 24 hours of subsided care per fortnight under the Child Care Safety Net.
- The Service Type
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) cap amount that will be applied to your account will be determined by the Service Type your child attends.
There is a different rate for Long Day care Centres and Family Day Care. These caps place an upper limit on the amount of Child Care Subsidy the Australian Government will provide. The rate cap will be used, in combination with family’s income and level of activity to calculate the amount of subsidy a family is entitled to receive.
Where a childcare service charges less than the hourly cap, families will receive their applicable percentage of the actual fee charged. Where a service charges more than the relevant cap, families will receive their applicable percentage of the hourly rate cap.
There are exemptions to the activity test for individuals who legitimately cannot meet the activity test requirements, such as parents with disability and carers.
Families who do not meet and are not exempt from the activity test and have a preschool aged child who attends preschool at a centre based day care service may be entitled to 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight. This only applies to the preschool aged child/ren in the family.
To receive this entitlement, the child needs to be in the year two years before grade one of school (based on information provided in the family’s claim) and attending an appropriate preschool program at a centre-based day care service (as reported by the family’s child care service).
Child Care Subsidy Annual Cap
If your family earns $188,163 or less, you won’t have an annual cap on your subsidy.
If your family earns between $188,163 and $352,453, we’ll cap your subsidy. This means we’ll subsidise your fees up to the annual cap of $10,373 per child each financial year.
Childcare Subsidy Changes – families are responsible for their accounts with Centrelink.
Report a change in circumstances
You need to tell Centrelink if your circumstances change when you’re getting Child Care Subsidy.
Keep in mind, if the changes impact your subsidy, it can take up to 2 weeks to apply. This is because Centrelink check your eligibility and pay Child Care Subsidy fortnightly.
You can update most changes using your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
If you don’t tell Centrelink about changes to your circumstances within 14 days, it may affect your subsidy. You may be overpaid you and you’ll have to pay the money back.
If your childcare hours change you should review your family income estimate and activity levels. You can do this at any time using your Centrelink online account through myGov. Use the online guides to help you update your:
For more info on changes of your CCS, please visit the Human Services website.