The Child Care Subsidy (CSS) is the sole means-tested subsidy available to assist families with the cost of child care.
As of July 2018, the CCS is the only means-tested subsidy to help families cover the cost of child care. It replaced both the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Child Care Rebate (CCR).
Because of this change, low-income families in particular will be better off as a result, with the subsidy rate increased and the annual cap or limit on Government support also abolished.
But how much are you eligible for, and what else do you need to know?
Who can use the subsidy?
The CCS means that the Government will pay part of your child care fees directly to your child care provider, reducing how much you have to pay. But to get this payment assistance, you need to meet a few criteria.
According to the Department of Human Services, you may be eligible to receive the payment if:
- You care for your child at least 2 nights per fortnight, or have 14% care
- You are liable for any fees you pay to approved child care service
- You or your partner are living in Australia, AND are either an Australian citizen, have a permanent visa, have a Special Category Visa, a certain temporary visa type
You child must also meet criteria, including:
- Under the age of 13
- Or if they have a disability, between the ages of 14-18
Some families can get additional payments if you’re either a grandparent, transitioning to work, or currently undergoing temporary financial hardship.
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How much can you get?
The amount of subsidy you are eligible to receive will depend on your circumstances, as the CCS is means tested. Overall, it depends on three main factors: your combined family income, the hourly rate cap, the hours of “activity” you and your partner do.
The lower your income, the greater share of your child care costs are covered. The table below outlines a rough estimate.
|Combined Family Income||Subsidy received as a % of fee charged (up to hourly rate cap)|
|$0 to $66,958||85%|
|Above $66,958 to below $171,958||Decreasing to 50%*|
|$171,958 to below $251,248||50%|
|$251,248 to below $341,248||Decreasing to 20%*|
|$341,248 to below $351,248||20%|
|$351,248 or more||0%|
In addition, if your family earns $188,163 or less, there will not be a cap on your subsidy, which means there will not be a point where your subsidy runs out each financial year.
Hourly rate cap
Because different types of child care charge different fees, the Government has placed a rate cap – the amount of the child care fee the subsidy applies to – on different types of child care. Therefore, depending on the type of child care you use, you may be eligible for different amounts. The table below outlines these caps.
|Type of child care||Maximum number of hours of subsidy per fortnight|
|Centre Based Day Care – long day care and occasional care||$11.77|
|Family Day Care||$10.90|
|Outside School Hours Care||$10.29|
|In Home Care (per family)||$25.48 (per family)|
As a long day care service, the hourly rate cap for My Cubby House Early Learning is $11.77.
Level of recognised activity
Depending in the amount of activity – i.e. paid work, unpaid work in a family business, unpaid work experience or unpaid internships, approved course of education, professional development, or volunteering – you will be eligible for a different subsidy amount.
The more hours of activity you undertake, the more hours of childcare your subsidy applies to. The table below highlights the various levels of subsidy entitlement.
|Hours of activity per fortnight||Maximum number of hours of subsidy per fortnight|
|Less than 8 per fortnight||0 hours if you earn above $68,163 or 24 hours if you earn below $68,163|
|8-16 per fortnight||36 hours|
|16-48 per fortnight||72 hours|
|48+ per fortnight||100 hours|
How can I claim my payment?
To claim your payment, the simplest way is to do it online using your myGov account. Otherwise you can claim via phone by calling the families line on 136 150.
To make your claim as smooth as possible, make sure to have some supporting documentation at the ready. The most common types of documentation include:
- Financial – e.g. tax file number, bank statements, savings and superannuation
- Education – e.g. enrolment details, academic transcripts
- Work – e.g. income tax returns, PAYG certificates, payslips
- Living – e.g. housing arrangements, rent certificate, rates notices
- Relationships – citizenship or visa details
- Child care – e.g. birth certificates of child, medical reports, medical certificates
How to calculate my subsidy?
Clearly, there are a number of factors that will affect how much of the CCS you’re entitled to. If you have any questions related to the CCS eligibility requirements you can visit the Department of Human Services website here.
Similarly, to get an estimate of the CCS subsidy you’re most likely to receive, you can the Goodstart early learning subsidy estimator.
If you have any further questions about the Child Care Subsidy and how it applies to your family, don’t hesitate to contact us at My Cubby House Early Learning Centre.