What is the Child Care Subsidy?
The Australian government supports Australian families by offering Child Care Subsidy. For the June quarter 2021, it was reported that 1, 328, 540 children attended approved child care services and were eligible for Child Care Subsidy.
In order for families to be eligible,
1. The child must:
- be 13 years old or below and not attending secondary school (For children with disability, those 14 to 18 years old can still be eligible)
- be a ‘regular care child’ or a ‘Family Tax Benefit child’
- meet immunisation requirements
2. The parent, partner, or guardian claiming the CCS must:
- meet residency requirements for present Australian Citizenship
- pay for the care provided under a written agreement (Complying Written Arrangement) with their childcare provider
- care for your child at least 2 nights every fortnight or at least have 14% of the care
3. The child care provider should be an approved provider in Australia
Besides the Child Care Subsidy, there are also other means of financial help the government has set in place including the Additional Child Care Subsidy and the Family Tax Benefit. However, the CCS is the main type of support the government has established for Australian parents in need of child care assistance.
How much child care subsidy can I get?
The exact amount of Child Care Subsidy you can get would depend on various factors, such as:
- your family’s income
- the hours of activity both parents do
- the number of children per family unit
- the hourly rate cap depending on the age of your child and the type of approved childcare services you’re using
Even the child care teachers can get fee discounts or a child care rebate if their child is attending the same service though this does not apply for In Home Care and Family Day Care services.
You can use a Payment and Service Finder to get an estimate on how much CCS you can get.
Child Care Subsidy is typically paid to childcare providers who then pass it on to the families in the form of a fee reduction.
Families still need to make a co-contribution and should be paying the gap fee. This is in line with the Family Assistance Law. Gap Fee is the difference between the childcare provider’s rate and the amount of CCS claimable. It’s also called an out-of-pocket fee. However, those who have received the Additional Childcare Subsidy may no longer have to pay the gap fee as the subsidy would then usually cover 100% of the childcare fee.
Access Child Care Subsidy System
The Child Care Subsidy System or CCSS is the digital system used for administering Child Care Subsidy. It has all the relevant data from enrolments to session reports of every department. The information gathered will also be used to calculate payments for families, and both families and child care providers should be able to access the CCSS.
For families, they can access it through their Centrelink online account. It could be via the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app or mygov account. Families who access CCSS can see all the payment info, view the attendance logs, and verify enrolments.
For child care centres, they can access the Child Care Subsidy System through the PEP or Provider Entry Point or via any other preferred accredited third-party software support services.
If they go for the PEP, they can access lots of features and functions including:
Becoming an approved child care provider
Getting into the Child Care Subsidy System is part of the approval process.
Reporting sessions of care
Childcare providers can report each child’s care sessions via the CCSS. It’s important that the sessions are reported promptly and accurately.
Services Australia has an online program that will teach users how to enrol children accordingly.
Updating organisation details
This includes adding or deleting services or updating staff details should there be changes along the way.
Viewing Family eligibility and entitlement
Families need to comply with Child Care Subsidy eligibility criteria, and the providers can review such details in the system as well.
Updating the Family Day Care Exemptions Register
Making ACCS claims
Other approved third-party software apps can also be used for rostering, invoicing, room management, payroll, managing waiting list, vacancy management, etc.
Families can still receive CCS or Child Care Subsidy during the days the child is absent. Should your child go absent from childcare, do let your service know, so they can update their session records and the correct CCS amount is paid.
Typically, there’s an annual cap. You can have a maximum of 42 allowable absence days for each child per financial year. For the year 2022-2023, there are 10 extra allowable absences making the final number of allowable absences a total of 52 days.
If the child reaches the allowable absence limit, you can still get additional absence in special circumstances such as when the child or the caregiver has health issues; the child has to spend time with someone else other than the carer as required by court order; the child is under an immunisation grace period or immunisation catch up schedule; the childcare service is closed due to a local emergency; or the child cannot attend or the caregiver chooses not to have the child attend due to a local emergency.
Supporting documents may have to be secured when managing absences. You can also easily track absences using the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app or the Centrelink online account via myGov.
If the child has not used the childcare service at least once in the past 26 weeks, they will no longer be eligible for CCS.
How much is childcare per day in Australia?
Childcare costs in Australia depend on the region and the type of childcare services– whether it’s primary school, school hours care, after school care, vacation care, outside school hours care, centre based day care, long day care, and so on. However, the average cost ranges from AUD 70 to 185 per day.
Does the Australian government pay for childcare?
The government provides financial support and child care assistance to Australian families including Child Care Subsidy, Additional Care Subsidy, and Family Tax Benefit.
What is child care subsidy in Australia?
Child Care Subsidy is the main method the Australian government employs to help the citizens in paying for childcare costs. The exact amount depends on a number of factors including the family’s income and employment status, the number of children, the type of child care, and so on.
How does the CCS work?
Usually, Child Care Subsidy CCS will be paid directly to the child care providers or early education services and the families will just pay the gap fee or the difference between the child care provider’s rate and the amount of Child Care Subsidy you can claim. Those who applied and were approved for Additional Care Subsidy may no longer have to pay the out-of-pocket or gap fee as the full child care fees will be covered by the government.
For more information about the Australian Government’s child care benefit, visit Services Australia or call 136 150.