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What is Child Care Subsidy?
Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a payment from the Australian Government that helps you with the cost of your child care.
The Child Care Subsidy is income tested and is usually paid directly to approved child care services to reduce the fees that eligible families pay. You can apply for the Child Care Subsidy online or in person through Centrelink.
click here for more information
New Childcare Package as of JULY 2018
From 2 July 2018, the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate will be replaced by a single Child Care Subsidy. The Child Care Subsidy will be means tested based on the combined family income, the fortnightly activity of families – such as work, study or volunteering – and the type of service a child attends.*
If you are currently receiving Child Care Benefit and/or Child Care Rebate, you will most likely be eligible to receive the new Child Care Subsidy. However, it’s not an automatic process, and there are a few things you need to do now, to transition to the new subsidy.
Families that do not complete these steps will not receive the Child Care Subsidy and will end up paying full fees from 2 July 2018.
- Sign in to your myGov account. If you don’t have one, you will need to create a myGov account at https://my.gov.au.
- Link myGov to Centrelink. You can do this under Services.
- Select Centrelink and complete the Child Care Subsidy Assessment form by providing Centrelink with the following information: your estimated 2018-19 combined family income, your activty details (using the parent with the lowest activity level), and confirmation of your child’s enrolment.
What should I know about the new Child Care Subsidy?
There are three key factors that will determine how much Child Care Subsidy families may receive:
- The combined family income – how much families earn
- Your fortnightly family acitivity level – how much families work, train, study or volunteer
- The fees charged by the child care service
Key facts about the new Child Care Subsidy
- Families earning $66,958 or less will receive a subsidy of 85% of their child care fees (up to the rate cap of $11.77 per hour).
- For families earning over $66,958 to under $171,958, the subsidy gradually tapers down from 85% to 50%, receiving 1% less for every $3000.
- Families earning $171,958 to under $251,248 will receive a subsidy 50% of their fees.
- For families earning $251,248 to under $341,248, the subsidy gradually tapers down from 50% to 20%, receiving 1% less for every $3000.
- Families on $341,248 to under $351,248 will receive a subsidy of 20% of their fees, while families on income $351,248 or more will receive no subsidy.
- The annual cap has been abolished entirely for families with income less than $186,958 a year. For families earning more than $186,958 a year the cap will be lifted to $10,190 per child per year.
- In two parent families, both parents must engage in recognised activity for at least 8 hours a fortnight to receive the subsidy (unless exempt).
- Recognised activities include but are not limited to: paid work (including leave), approved study or training, actively seeking work, volunteering and self-employment.
- Families can access up to a maximum of 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight dependent on how much they are working, studying or doing other approved activity.
- In most cases, the subsidy will be paid directly to child care providers, in which case you only pay the difference between the fee charged by your service and the amount subsidised by the Government.
- 5 per cent of your weekly Child Care Subsidy entitlement will be withheld by the government. Following reconciliation of your tax return at the end of the financial year, any amount owing to you will be paid as a lump sum by the government. If you have been paid too much Child Care Subsidy, you will have a debt to repay.
- A new Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will replace the Special Child Care Benefit, JETCCFA and Grandparent Child Care Benefit. The ACCS provides a higher level of subsidy than the regular Child Care Subsidy, in recognition of the circumstances the child and/or family is facing.
- 24 hours of subsidised care per fortnight will be available for children from families on a combined income less than $66,958 pa who do not meet the activity test requirements.
What classifies as recognised activity?
The good news is there’s a broad range of recognised activities that you can undertake to maximise your child care subsidy.
- Paid work: includes paid leave, paid or unpaid parental and maternity leave if this is a condition of employment, or being self-employed.
- Study and training: includes being enrolled in an approved course of education or study, or being enrolled in training courses for the purpose of improving the individual’s work skills or employment prospects.
- Unpaid work: includes unpaid work in the family business which is owned by a member of the individual’s immediate family, actively setting up a business, or unpaid work experience or internships.
- Actively looking for work: includes looking for job vacancies, preparing résumés and job applications, contacting potential employers, or preparing for and attending job interviews.
- Setting up a business: includes obtaining finance, advice and support, attending and organising meetings and networking, developing business and marketing plans.
- Volunteering: includes voluntary work to improve work skills or employment prospects, voluntary work for a charitable, welfare or community organisation, voluntary work for a school, preschool or a centre based day care service (if the work directly supports the learning and development of the children at the school, preschool or service e.g. reading to children). Note: Being on the Parents and Citizens Committee, working in the school canteen, or coaching children’s soccer team are considered parental duties and would not be considered as a recognised volunteer activity.
The more activity you undertake – the more hours of subsidised care you may be able can claim
Generally, the more hours of activity you do, the more hours of subsided child care you can access – up to 100 hours per fortnight per child.
This is great news for parents looking to increase their work hours, start a new training course or be more involved in the community.
Hours of subsidised care will be determined by the parent with the lowest hours of activity (e.g. if one parent is working 76 hours per fortnight and the other is working 40 hours per fortnight – it will be the lower activity that will determine how many hours of subsided care the family is entitled to). If it’s a sole parent family – the individual must meet the activity test.
Here’s a breakdown of the hours of subsidised care families can receive based on their amount of activity:
- Families in recognised activity 8 – 16 hours per fortnight are eligible to receive 36 hours per fortnight of subsidised care
- Families in recognised activity 16 – 48 hours per fortnight are eligible to receive 72 hours per fortnight of subsidised care
- Families in recognised activity more than 48 hours per fortnight are eligible to receive 100 hours per fortnight of subsidised care
Don’t underestimate how much activity you do!
We know many families are juggling multiple activities at once, but often underestimate how much they do. It is important that if you are undertaking a number of different activities, you include all of them as they all contribute to your subsidy entitlement.
If families are doing multiple activities, these can also be combined to meet the activity test. For example, if you work and study, both activities will be included.
Time taken to travel between the child care service and your place of work, training, study, or other recognised activity will also be included.
The hours of activity a family undertakes does not need to coincide with their child care hours. For example, if a family works over the weekend, they can still use those hours to calculate how many hours of child care subsidy they are entitled to during the week.
Please if you need assistance with this see Miss Jayne or Caitlyn as we can explain and advise.