Confused about how the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS) can help your family? Our guide is just for you! Now updated for 2023 and including the new subsidy levels being introduced in July, we’ll cover everything your family needs to know, including how to calculate your child care subsidy, and how to claim it.
- What is the Child Care Subsidy?
- Upcoming changes to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
- How does the Child Care Subsidy work?
- Childcare Subsidy Eligibility
- Simple Childcare Subsidy Calculator
- How can I claim the Child Care Subsidy?
- It takes a village to raise a child, and we're here to help.
What is the Child Care Subsidy?
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS), introduced in July 2018 and replacing the previous Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR), is how the Australian Government assists low and middle-income families with their child care fees. It is a means-tested payment, made directly to an approved child care service or early education provider, and reduces the fees you need to pay them.
Upcoming changes to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
In September 2022 the federal government announced multiple changes to the subsidy that will take effect from July 2023, with the goal of making child care more affordable for more families:
- The maximum subsidy amount is increasing to 90% (from 2020-21’s 85%)
- Families earning up to and including $80,000 will be eligible for the 90% subsidy rate
- For families earning more than $80,000, the CCS rate decreases by 1% for each $5,000 of family income, until reaching 0% for families earning $530,000 and over.
- Families earning below $362,408 with more than one child aged 5 or under in care will still be eligible for a higher rate for their second and younger children.
- Families with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child in their care are eligible for at least 36 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight.
How does the Child Care Subsidy work?
The Child Care Subsidy is paid directly to service providers and is passed on to eligible families as a reduction in the actual fees charged. Families make a co-contribution to their child care fees by paying the difference between the fee charged and the subsidy amount paid to the provider.
Childcare Subsidy Eligibility
To claim CCS, families must meet a range of eligibility criteria, with the family’s subsidy entitlement dependent on its circumstances. These criteria are:
1. Family income
Under the Child Care Subsidy, the percentage of subsidy a family is entitled to is based on the family’s combined annual income, with greater financial support available to lower-income families.
Prior to July 10 2023, families earning up to $72,466 per annum were entitled to claim 85% of their eligible child care fees. The subsidy percentage claimable was then reduced in bands until the family’s income reached a subsidy cap of $356,756.
These amounts have now increased to $80,000, 90% and $530,000 respectively.
2. Number of children in care
From March 2022, if you have more than one child aged 5 or younger in care, you may get a higher Child Care Subsidy (CCS) of 30% on top of the means-tested rate for your subsequent children.
3. Family activity test
The number of hours of subsidised child care that families have access to per fortnight is determined by a range of recognised activities. These activities include working, being self-employed, looking for work, unpaid work in a family business or internship, studying, and volunteering.
To be eligible for the subsidy, both parents’ activity levels are assessed, with the lower activity level used in the calculation. That parent must be working, studying, volunteering, or searching for work for at least eight hours a fortnight.
4. Type of care
This is the type of childcare service and whether your child attends school. The maximum hourly rate the Government will subsidise is based on the type of childcare service your child will attend. These caps place an upper limit on the amount of Child Care Subsidy the Australian Government will provide.
Grace Village Early Learning Centre is an approved centre-based childcare provider.
Eligible families and their children must also:
- Be liable for the fees charged by the childcare provider
- Have care for the child at least 2 nights per fortnight
- Meet residency and immunisation requirements
Further assistance may also be available for grandparents, those transitioning to work, or experiencing temporary financial hardship.
Here at Grace Village, we understand every family has different circumstances. For more information about child care fee assistance and a full list of available payments & services, please visit the Centrelink page on the Services Australia website.
Simple Childcare Subsidy Calculator
Now you know the ins and outs of how the Child Care Subsidy works and whether your family is eligible, our easy-to-use calculator will help provide you with an estimate of your expected childcare costs.
While the information used to calculate the amount of subsidy your family may be able to claim is updated frequently, we can’t guarantee the result of the calculation. If you have additional children to claim, your provider is not centre-based, or other circumstances require more details, please use the more comprehensive Starting Blocks CCS Calculator here.
Now you’re ready to start lodging your claim, so keep reading below to find out how!
How can I claim the Child Care Subsidy?
The best way to begin your claim is online through your MyGov account. Your identification may need to be checked, so have your paperwork handy before you get started.
- Sign in to your myGov account and click on the box ‘Centrelink’
- Select ‘Payment and Claims’ from the menu, then, ‘Claims’, then ‘Make a Claim’
- Under ‘Families’, select Get started
- Answer all the questions. If you get stuck on a question an explanation is provided. You will need to submit your supporting documents with this step.
- Submit your claim.
- You can track your claim through your myGov account, under Centrelink. Your childcare centre/ facility will need to submit your child’s enrolment details as well.
Click here for a more detailed document on how to claim your childcare subsidy
Information you need to give your childcare provider
- Once you have completed the steps above, you will need to give your approved childcare service some information as well, so they can complete their end of the process and reduce your childcare fees.
- You will need to give them your Customer Reference Number (CRN) and your date of birth – the CRN will be on previous correspondence or on your Health Card. If you are new, you will need to visit a service centre with photo identification.
- You will also need to provide your child’s CRN and date of birth. Their CRN can be found on your Centrelink account or can be created when you arrange for your CRN at a service centre.
Once it is all setup, your childcare subsidy will be paid directly to Grace Village Early Learning to reduce your childcare fees.
How much can I claim?
Each family’s circumstances are different, so the cost of child care may vary greatly.
Keeping your information up to date
You have an ongoing responsibility to keep your information and any changes to it up to date, to ensure you are entitled to the subsidies claimed.
These changes include how much your family earns, your, or your partner’s activities in work, study and/or volunteering, and any relationship status changes.
If you fail to keep these up to date, you may be liable for any overpayments in your childcare subsidy at the end of the financial year.
Sign in to your MyGov account and click the box ‘Centrelink’. You will need to enter income estimates, your withholding percentage and your and your partner’s activity levels – these are the elements the government uses to work out how much childcare subsidy you can get.
It takes a village to raise a child, and we’re here to help.
Join our Centre Director on a personal 30-minute guided tour of Grace Village Early Learning and have your questions about the Child Care Subsidy answered.