The childcare subsidy (CCS) is provided by the Australian Government to assist families in paying for childcare for their children. The assistance comes in the form of a subsidy paid directly to the childcare provider that reduces the fees you pay for childcare.
To qualify for CCS, you and your child must meet specific requirements, and the provider you choose must be an approved childcare provider. As a recognised childcare provider, Woodlands is registered to receive CCS to help you with the costs of childcare or kindergarten fees.
Read on to learn more about the government childcare subsidy, childcare subsidy rates and eligibility, and how we can help you access it for your child or children.
Understanding the Australian Childcare System
Childcare in Australia comes in several forms:
- Long day care – centre-based childcare catering to 0-6-year-olds
- Family day care – childcare provided in a carer’s home
- Out-of-school hours care – centre-based childcare catering to primary school-aged children before and after school and during school holidays and pupil-free days
- In-home care – childcare provided by an educator in the child’s family home
- Occasional care – centre-based care that can be accessed as the need arises
Operation for the first three above must be approved by the regulatory authority and open to the general community, although services can cater to specific groups.
Funding for childcare is a shared responsibility of the Australian, State and Territory governments. The Australian government’s key responsibility is to provide subsidies to assist eligible families with the cost of childcare.
Eligibility for Childcare Subsidies
You need to meet specific requirements to be eligible for childcare subsidy.
To be eligible for CCS, you or your partner must:
- care for your child at least two nights per fortnight
- be responsible for paying childcare fees at an approved childcare service
- Meet residence requirements
And the child must be:
- Fully immunised
- Aged 13 or under, or
- Aged 14 to 18 with a disability
How much CCS you get will be determined by the following:
- Family income
- The number of children in care
- The age of the children in care
- The family’s activity level
- The type of care used
From 10 July 2023, CCS payments will change. Families who previously couldn’t get any subsidy will now be eligible. The main changes will be:
- An increase in the maximum amount from 85% to 90%
- Families earning $80,000 or less will get CCS at a rate of 90%. This will decrease by 1% for every $5,000 earned over $80,000
- Families with more than one child under five years in childcare can still get a higher rate of CCS for a second and younger child
Childcare Subsidy Victoria
In Victoria, the Free Kinder subsidy starting in 2023 is available to help children access kinder programs for two years before they start school.
Under this subsidy, three and four-year-olds can access kinder programs from participating Victorian long day care and sessional (standalone) services. Families will be eligible for up to 15 hours per week of a kindergarten program, for 600 hours per year.
This will mean a saving of $2,500 per child each year. Participating kinder program providers will receive funding directly from the Victorian government, so families are not out of pocket.
This subsidy is separate from the Australian Child Care Subsidy.
How to Apply for Childcare Subsidy
To apply for childcare subsidy, you must have Centrelink linked to your MyGov account. If you don’t have a MyGov account, you can follow the steps on their website to create one.
If you already have a MyGov account, you will then need to:
- Prove your identity – you must get a Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN). Follow the steps on the Services Australia website to apply for a CRN
- Provide supporting documents – you must provide “required” documents before you submit your claim. Documents typically required include:
- your tax file number – if you don’t have one, you can apply for one
- your citizenship or residency status
- your separation details, such as a divorce certificate
- your payslip
- your bank statements or other financial documents, such as details of any investments
Supplementary documents may also be required, and Centrelink will contact you if needed. You can submit your documents through your Centrelink online account or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
- Confirm your child’s enrolment – you must confirm your child’s childcare enrolment details with Centrelink.
Types of Childcare Subsidies Available
The types of childcare subsidies available are the following:
- Child Care Subsidy (CCS) – the CCS is designed to assist families with the cost of childcare. It’s available for parents of children 13 years and under who meet residency and immunisation requirements to enrol their child in an approved childcare provider. It is paid directly to the childcare provider to reduce your fees.
- Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) – is available for those eligible for CCS to provide extra childcare support. It is available for grandparents, those transitioning to work or those experiencing financial hardship. It is paid on top of the childcare subsidy directly to the childcare provider to reduce your fees.
- Grandparent Child Care Benefit (GCCB) – the Grandparent Subsidy is available for those eligible for CCS, receive an income support payment, have primary care of their grandchild and make decisions daily about that child’s care, welfare and development. You will receive 100 hours of subsidised childcare per fortnight, and it is paid directly to approved childcare providers and reduces your fees.
Childcare Subsidy Calculator
The Services Australia website has a helpful payment finder to help you understand how much subsidy you’ll be eligible for.
How much you’ll get will depend on the following:
- your family income
- the hourly rate cap – there’s a different rate cap based on the type of approved childcare you use
- you and your partner’s hours of activity – activity refers to paid or unpaid work, paid or unpaid leave, volunteering, looking for work, doing an approved course of study, etc
- the number of children in your care – if you have more than one child under five years, you may be eligible for more subsidy
Enquire Today About Sending Your Child to Woodlands
Discover how Woodlands can help support your child’s development and education today. Get in touch with us.