Australia’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS) provides vital financial assistance to families, easing the financial burden of Child Care and ensuring that parents have a pathway back to work while fostering early learning and development opportunities for children.
Understanding the intricacies of the CCS, including your eligibility, the application process, and important updates to the Child Care Subsidy in Australia is essential for maximising your benefits and claiming your entitlements.
Follow our step-by-step guide to claim the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) in Australia.
Whether you’re looking to start a new claim, or update an existing claim and add another child, this guide to claiming the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) in Australia will help you to assess eligibility, entitlements, and understand the supporting documents that are required when you claim the CCS.
Table of contents
- Understanding the Child Care Subsidy
- Recent changes to the CCS
- Eligibility criteria for Australia’s Child Care Subsidy
- Factors that influence the amount that you can claim
- How to apply online for the Child Care Subsidy
- A guide to Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS)
Understanding the Child Care Subsidy
Before we dive into things, let’s take a quick look at the Child Care Subsidy (CCS). At its core, the CCS is designed to help families with the costs of Child Care, create financially viable pathways back to work for parents, and enhance children’s early education and assist with school readiness to support long term outcomes.
Recent Changes to the CCS
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is continually evolving as the Australian government looks to increase support and encourage pathways to work and better early outcomes for children.
In July 2023, the Australian government is rolling out significant improvements to the CCS framework that increased payment rates and expanded eligibility.
These updates included an increase to the CCS hourly rate caps in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the changes to the CCS in July 2023 now guarantees at least 36 hours per fortnight of Child Care – irrespective of the amount of recognised activity. For families earning up to $80,000 combined, the CCS was expanded from 85% to 90%. For families that have a combined income between $80,000 and $530,000, the CCS starts at 90% and adjusts accordingly.
These recent changes to the Child Care Subsidy reflect the Australian Government’s commitment to making Child Care more accessible and affordable and, in turn, supporting families.
Eligibility Criteria for Australia’s Child Care Subsidy
The CCS eligibility criteria in Australia is as follows:
- Child Care is available for children aged 13 years of younger
- The child should not be attending secondary school (some exceptions apply)
- Parents must utilise services that have been approved to receive CCS
- Typical services included under the CCS include day care, family day care, outside of school care, vacation care, and in-home care. (some exceptions apply)
- Parent or partner must be residents of Australia and have Australian citizenship, a permanent visa, a Special Category visa, or certain types of temporary visas.
- Children must meet Australia’s immunisation requirements
- Parents must have at least two nights per fortnight (14%) share of the care
Remember, the CCS is paid directly to the childcare provider to reduce the fees that parents pay at the point of payment, so it’s important that the CCS is approved ahead of time.
Factors That Influence the Amount That You Can Claim
The amount of Child Care Subsidy that you can claim will depend on your unique circumstances. The factors that are used to determine eligibility and entitlements for the CCS in Australia are:
- Your combined family income
- The hourly rate cap – based on the type of approved childcare centre that you use and the age of your child.
- The hourly activities that you and your partner do. Casual or irregular work hours may affect your subsidised hours of care for the CCS.
- The number of children in your care
Remember, the amount of subsidised Child Care that you will have access to each fortnight is applied to each child. Check out our CCS Calculator to help you figure out the amount of Child Care Subsidy you can claim from the Australian Government.
How to Apply Online for the Child Care Subsidy
To apply for the Child Care Subsidy in Australia, there are a few straightforward steps through the myGov and Centrelink platforms. Here’s how you can do it:
Online Application via myGov:
Step 1: Sign in to your myGov account. If you don’t have a myGov account, you need to create one.
Step 2: Link Centrelink to your myGov account, if it isn’t already linked.
Step 3: Start a new CCS claim through the Centrelink section within myGov. The system will prefill any information you’ve already provided to Centrelink.
Step 4: Complete the claim process by providing the necessary information and uploading any required documentation.
Step 5: Submit the claim. You can save your progress and return later if you need.
Before starting the application process for the CCS online, it’s important to understand your eligibility and ensure that you have all of the required documentation ready to go. The Child Care Subsidy can be backdated up to 28 days, so it’s important to apply as soon as possible after you start using eligible childcare services.
A Guide to Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS)
The Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) is an additional, supplementary payment to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and is designed to provide further financial assistance to children and families that face barriers accessing child care.
The ACCS is a top-up payment that is paid directly to childcare providers who then pass these savings on to families in the form of reduced fees.
The types of Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) available, include:
- For children at risk of neglect or abuse – providers will apply for the ACCS on behalf of the child in this instance.
- For grandparents who are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.
- Families experiencing temporary financial hardship and short-term financial stress
- Transition to work – helping parents to transition to work, study, or training by providing further assistance to the cost of childcare.
The ACCS is a critical step in the Australian Government’s framework to make childcare accessible and affordable, especially for families that are facing additional barriers or challenges with meeting costs. The ACCS ensures that irrespective of their family situation, children have access to early education to foster the best possible early development.