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Could you be saving money on childcare?

Blog - 01 June 2021

Could you be saving money on childcare?

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) aims to help families pay for out of school hours child care fees. It is paid directly to outside school hours care providers who pass the discount onto the family by way of a fee reduction.

Coming into effect in July 2018, the CCS replaced the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Child Care Rebate (CCR). It is designed to be simpler to manage and better targeted towards low and middle income families who need more assistance.

What does the Child Care Subsidy cover?

The subsidy helps cover approved childcare for children of 13 years or younger who attend primary school. It does not cover compulsory education, instead being designed to help parents afford out of school hours care and school holiday programs. The CCS is also not applicable for care provided informally by friends and family, and the provider must be approved by the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

As well as age, children must meet certain immunisation requirements, while parents must meet residency requirements. There are some exceptions to these rules - such as when a child is cared for solely by their grandparents, or the child’s safety and wellbeing requires additional support.

How the Child Care Subsidy is calculated

There are three factors that affect how a family’s entitlement is calculated. They are:

  1. Combined family income.
  2. Type of approved child care.
  3. Activity test.

Combined family income The estimated combined family income is used to determine what percentage of child care costs should be subsidised. Current percentages are:

85% for an income of $68,163 or lower. 50-85% for an income between $68,163 and $173,163. 50% for an income between $173,163 and $252,453. 20-50% for an income between $252,453 and $342,453. 20% for an income between $342,453 and $352,453. No subsidy is provided for an income of $352,453 or more. Should actual earnings differ from those estimated, the amount paid out may be adjusted. Families who anticipate earning $352,453 or more can still submit a claim. Should their actual income be less than expected, they’ll receive the amount of subsidy they’re entitled to when the payments are balanced at the end of the financial year.

Additionally, the Department of Human Services withhold 5% of the subsidy to account for adjustments and to ensure families are not overpaid. Any families who do receive more than they are entitled to must pay back whatever they owe. Similarly, any families who receive less than they are entitled to receive a lump sum payment at the end of the year.

There is an annual cap of $10,190 per child for families earning over $186,958 and under $351,248.

Activity test The number of hours of subsidised care a family is entitled to receive is calculated according to the number of hours of recognised activity the parents undertake over a fortnightly period.

Recognised activities are broadly about the minimum hours a parent contributes to the Australian economy through work. However, it’s not just paid work that’s taken into account. Volunteer work may also be covered, as well as time spent commuting, training or studying.

The Department of Human Services looks at both parents, where applicable. They take only the lowest level of activity into account when calculating entitlement.

At present, hours of activity per fortnight equate to the following number of subsidised child care hours per fortnight.

Fewer than 8 hours of activity provides 24 hours of subsidised care for those earning $68,163 or below. Those earning more than $68,163 do not qualify for any subsidised hours. Between 8 and 16 hours of activity provides 36 hours of subsidised care. Between 16 and 48 hours of activity provides 72 hours of subsidised care. More than 48 hours of activity provides 100 hours of subsidised care. These figures can vary where families receive certain allowances or benefits. Parents who undertake more than one type of approved activity can combine the hours they devote to each.

How to apply for and claim the Child Care Subsidy

If you think you are eligible to claim the Child Care Subsidy, log into your myGov account and complete a CCS assessment for each child accessing care. Your myGov account must be linked to Centrelink.

As part of the claims process, you’ll be asked a number of questions about your circumstances and you may need to submit supporting paperwork to validate your information. Your child care provider must also confirm your child’s enrolment.

Once you’ve submitted your details, you can track the progress online. If you are unable to submit your claim online, you can also make a claim by phone.

The Child Care Subsidy for out of school hours care and holiday care

Out of school hours care is a valuable resource both for working parents unable to be there at school drop off and collection times, and for those who want to enrich their child’s daily experiences.

Before and after school care is about much more than providing a space for children to play in while they wait for their parents. It’s about providing an opportunity for them to build new relationships, develop essential soft skills and experience new activities outside of their classroom. With highly qualified staff guiding them along the way, children in out of hours care learn to develop their own identity and communicate effectively.

The Child Care Subsidy makes it easier for families to access more of the care they want for their child.

If you’re looking for before or after school care, or a holiday care program, that provides tailored care, bespoke to each location, take a look at Camp Australia. View our mission and values online or call our team on 1300 105 343 to understand more about how the Child Care Subsidy can help you access outstanding care designed with your child in mind.

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