Getting the Most from your Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

November 9, 2019

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) has been in effect for over a year and it can still be confusing! The new system has replaced Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit, but many people are still in search of answers. Befuddling or not, there’s no doubt the CCS plays a vital role in creating more accessible care for Australian families. Whether you’re a new-comer or simply recalculating your benefits, we can all do with some help navigating these waters.

Never fear! We are here to break down the details and show how you can understand (and maximise) your subsidy – perhaps even sneaking in another day for your Champ.

Calculating your Child Care Subsidy

First things first – what is Child Care Subsidy? Well, it’s a system through which the government allocates funds in order to bring down the cost of certain services for families who meet certain requirements. It takes the form of a percentage by which a price can be decreased, and this percentage can go up to 85%. The government calcuates your Child Care Subsidy based on:

  1. Total Family Income
  2. Hours of Care Required
  3. Hourly Rate

It should also be noted that children have to be 13 or younger, not in secondary school and properly immunised in order to be eligible for CCS.

Total family income

Your Child Care Subsidy percentage is calculated based on your family’s total income. These numbers change with the CPI increase each year. Hence your entitlements can differ year to year even if your circumstances stay the same.

Family Income Child Care Subsidy Percentage
$0 – $68,163 85%
$68,163 – $173, 163 50% – 85%
$173,163 – $252,453 50%
$252,453 – $342,453 20% – 50%
$342,453 – $352,453 20%
$352,453 or more 0%

Where your combined annual income exceeds $188,163, a Child Care Subsidy cap will become applicable, and this amounts to $10,373 per child. Benefit holders who earn below this are exempt.

Hours of care required

Your required care hours are based on the Activity Levels & Hours of the least active member of your family per fortnight.

What counts towards your Active Hours

Only recognised activities will count towards your active hours. Centrelink will determine the hours of Child Care Subsidy you are eligible for based on these.

Activity counts as:

  • Paid or unpaid work (including self employment or a family business)
  • Unpaid work experience or internship
  • Actively setting up a business (eligible for 6 months each year)
  • Up to 6 months of paid or unpaid leave (including parental or maternity leave)
  • Studying an approved course
  • Training to improve work skills or employability
  • Looking for work
  • Volunteering
  • Reasonable travel time from childcare to your activity and back

Exceptions from the Activity Test

  • If you spend 8 hours per fortnight volunteering or looking for work you can access up to 36 subsidised hours a fortnight.
  • You may access 100 hours of subsided care if you are a grandparent and the principal carer of a child.
  • In the year before they start school, preschool aged children can access 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight.

Maximising your Activity Hours

If you’re concerned that your activity hours won’t cover the care you require, keep in mind:

  • You calculate your activity based on a 13 week period.
  • Workers whose hours vary, are entitled to use your highest level of activity.
  • You can change your activity hours at any time on MyGov.
  • Only around 10% of benefit holders may be asked to provide evidence for their activity hours.

Speak to your Director about volunteering at your local MindChamps to increase your hours of activity.

Hourly rate

Your rate of reduction is based on the lowest rate, either the service’s or the capped hourly rate. The hourly rate is capped at $11.98 for long day care services. Most long day care sessions last 11 hours, so services that charge less than $131.78 per day will yield a lower rate for families.

How to claim your Child Care Subsidy

  1. Claim online by linking your Centrelink account to your MyGov.
  2. Consolidate your supporting documents.
  3. Make and track your claim online.
  4. Enrol with your chosen service and ask them to submit the enrolment details.
  5. Confirm your details.

Over 90% of MindChamps centres charge less than the government cap rate while offering first class education. Enquire here to see how we can help you get the most out of your Child Care Subsidy.