The Child Care Subsidy refers to financial assistance provided by the Government of Australia to families for shouldering costs related to childcare. Formally, it is known as the Commonwealth Government Child Care Subsidy (CSS). The subsidy allows families to seek high-quality childcare more accessible for low and middle-income families living across Australia. In 2018, it replaced the Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit as its design was deemed to be simpler.
Only approved child care is covered by the subsidy, which includes:
- Long day care, occasional care, and other centre-based daycare
- Before, after and vacation care, and other outside school hours care
- Family day care
- In-home care
However, the subsidy does not cover registered care, i.e. care provided to children by their relatives or grandparents. Registered care also includes standalone kindergartens and preschools. For more information on the type of childcare provided by different childcare services, you can get in touch with them. You can also visit the official Child Care Finder website to search for approved care located in your area.
How much Child Care Subsidy you are eligible for depends on a variety of factors such as:
- The income of your family
- The age of your child
- Your used & approved child care’s hourly rate cap
- The hours you and your partner are active
Eligibility requirements for children for the Child Care Subsidy
Both children and their parents have to meet some eligibility requirements to be paid the Child Care Subsidy by the Government of Australia.
For children, the eligibility requirements are as follows:
- A child can be up to 13 years old to be eligible for the CSS
- A child should not be attending high or secondary school
Children not meeting these conditions may also get the subsidy if they have some disability or medical condition that prevents them from being left unsupervised. For instance:
- Children who are up to 13 years old with disabilities and attending high or secondary school
- Children who are 14 or 15 years old with disabilities
- Children who are 16, 17, or 18 years old with disabilities (only in exceptional circumstances)
Additionally, a child needs to meet immunization requirements, as the Government of Australia considers immunization for providing protection to children and their families against diseases. For meeting the CSS immunization requirements, children have to be immunized based on the standard vaccination schedule. Children on catch-up vaccination schedules and those who have been granted an exemption from immunization are also eligible.
Eligibility requirements for parents
Parents must also meet some eligibility requirements to get the subsidy. Either partner has to be a resident of Australia as per the definition under 1991’s Social Security Act. Services Australia considers an individual an Australian resident if the individual resides in the country and is an Australian citizen, the holder of a protected Special Category visa (SCV), or the holder of a permanent residence visa.
In some cases, non-residents may be eligible as well, which we will get to shortly. The detailed eligibility requirements for parents are as follows:
- Either partner must have Australian citizenship, a Special Category visa, a permanent visa, a Temporary Protection visa, or a Partner Provisional visa.
- Parents can also be considered eligible if one of them is an overseas student who has been sponsored by the Government of Australia to pursue studies in the country.
- Parents in financial hardship may also be deemed eligible, but only under special circumstances.
For continuing to receive CSS from the Government of Australia, parents must continue to meet the eligibility requirements. If the parents travel outside Australia and return to the country within 6 weeks, they can continue receiving the subsidy.
Determining how much you will receive as the Child Care Subsidy
The subsidy amount you receive from the Government of Australia depends on various factors and circumstances, such as:
- The combined income of your family – you can calculate the income amount by taking a means test
- Child care service type you want – you can pick from options like outside school hours care, family day care, occasional care, and long day care
- Weekly hours spent by parents in activities like job-hunting, volunteering, training, or doing paid work
If the combined income of your family is up to $70,015, your subsidy will amount to 85% of the money charged for your preferred type of childcare service. However, if your income is more than $70,015 but lower than $354,306, your received subsidy percentage will be lower.
For families with combined incomes of more than $190,016, there is an annual subsidy cap based on chosen childcare service type. However, there are no annual subsidy caps for families with combined incomes of less than $190,016.
The Government of Australia may also consider you to be eligible for additional subsidy payments if you meet one or more of the following conditions:
- You are transitioning to work from particular income support payments
- You are a grandparent receiving income support payments
- You are providing care for a child who is abused/harmed/neglected
- You are going through temporary financial difficulties
So, now that you know what the Australian government’s Child Care Subsidy is and how it works, it’s time to look at the application process and conclude this article. Here are the steps you need to follow to apply for the subsidy:
- Go to your MyGov account and visit the Centrelink page.
- Click on the menu located on the Centrelink page’s upper left corner and choose ‘Payment and claims’
- Next, select ‘Claims’, and then ‘Make a Claim’
- Go to the ‘Families’ section on the ‘Make a Claim’ page and choose ‘Get Started’
- At this juncture, you should fill out the page with all the necessary information
- Once you have filled out all the required information accurately, submit your claim
If your family is in the low or middle-income group, the Child Care Subsidy is the best form of financial assistance you can opt for. It will guarantee that your child receives proper care, which can go a long way towards aiding the child’s long-term development. Get in contact with your local Childcare Centre Gold Coast to find out and make the most of the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy, you can apply online on their website.