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Child Care Subsidy (CCS) Making early learning more affordable.

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What is the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)?

The new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) makes early childhood learning more affordable for many Australian families. The below guide should help you help break down how the benefit works for you and your family.

The subsidy is a replacement for the now discontinued Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR). It is administered through Centrelink and the Department of Human Services, and applies from July 2018.

Eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) depends on a number of factors, including;

  • How much "work related activity" you and your partner undertake each fortnight. The entitlement is based on the person who does the lower amount of activity
  • Your combined family income. The higher the income, the less subsidy you are entitled to generally
  • The type of early childhood education or child care undertaken.

Once you understand how the eligibility criteria effects your family, please check our CCS enrolment checklist. which will walk you though a step by step guide on what you need to do before enrolling your child in child care.

For more in depth information, on the rules and regulations around the administration of the CCS please visit the Department of Human Services' website.

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CCS Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for the CCS depends on 3 main factors:

Work Related Activity

This is essentially the average number of hours per fortnight that you spend doing "work related" things. This includes travel time to and from your child care service.

Family Income

Centrelink will calculate your Child Care Subsidy percentage using your family income estimate for the financial year.

Type Of Child Care

Your Child Care Subsidy percentage depends on the type of approved child care you use. Kinder Kare being centre based care gives you the highest hourly subsidy rate after in home care (nanny).

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Let's take a look at how the 3 eligibility criteria work further below.

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Work Related Activity

This is essentially the average number of hours per fortnight that you spend doing "work related" things. The more hours you spend doing paid work, approved study or volunteering around the community, the more subsidy you are entitled to.

If you have a partner, Centrelink will use the lower of your or your partner’s activity level to work out how many hours of subsidised care you’re entitled to. The hours of subsidised child care you can access per fortnight applies to each child.

The table below gives you the relationship between the number of hours of work related activities per fortnight and the number of hours of subsidised care you are entitled to receive per fortnight.

Please note, the time taken to travel between the Child Care Service and your place of work, training, study or other approved activity should be included in your calculation of activity hours to accurately capture your genuine eligibility of CCS.

Work Related ActivitiesSubsidised Child Care Hours
Less than 8 hours0 hours
8 to 16 hours36 hours
More than 16 to 48 hours72 hours
More than 48 hours100 hours

The above figures are all computed on a per fortnight basis.

Recognised Activities

Recognised "work related activities" can include:

  • paid work, including being self employed
  • paid or unpaid leave, including paid or unpaid parental or maternity leave
  • doing an approved course of education or study
  • doing training to improve work skills or employment prospects
  • unpaid work in a family business
  • actively looking for work
  • volunteering
  • unpaid work experience or unpaid internship
  • actively setting up a business

Some of these activities will only be recognised for a certain amount of time such as periods of unpaid leave for up to 6 months. Similarly for periods where you're setting up a new business.

Please note; you can access up to 36 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight if your only activity is:

  • volunteering, or
  • actively looking for work

Remember to include travel time between your place of work, training, study or other approved activity and the Child Care Service.

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Family Income

Centrelink will calculate your Child Care Subsidy percentage using your family income estimate.

Your Child Care Subsidy percentage is the amount the government will subsidise of your child care costs. It will apply to either your hourly fee or the relevant hourly rate cap, whichever is lower.

Family IncomeChild Care Subsidy Percentage
$0 to $66,95885%
More than $66,958 to below $171,958Between 85% and 50%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$171,958 to below $251,24850%
$251,248 to below $341,248Between 50% and 20%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$341,248 to below $351,24820%
$351,248 or more0%

Annual Cap

If your family earns $186,958 or less, you won’t have an annual cap on your subsidy.

If your family earns more than $186,958 and under $351,248, your subsidy will be capped at $10,190 per child each financial year.

Please note that 5% of your subsidy amount will be quarantined by Centrelink in case your family income changes during the year. This amount will be paid out at the end of the financial year.

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Type Of Child Care

Your Child Care Subsidy percentage will apply to the lowest of either the:

  • hourly fee you’re charged by your child care service, or
  • the hourly rate cap

There’s a different hourly rate cap depending on the type of approved child care you use.

Type Of Child CareHourly Rate Cap
Centre Based Day Care – long day care and occasional care$11.77
Family Day Care$10.90
Outside School Hours Care – before, after and vacation care$10.29
In Home Care (per family)$25.48

In some cases your child’s age will mean Centrelink will use a different hourly rate cap.

If Your Child IsHourly Rate Cap
School aged and in Centre Based Day Care - this applies to families enrolled in our Before and After School Care serviceOutside School Hours Care
Below school age and in Outside School Hours Care - this will apply to all our other servicesCentre Based Day Care

A school aged child is a child who is:

  • in school, including being home schooled, or
  • 6 or older

Hourly Fee

The hourly fee is the amount Kinder Kare charges for each hour of care. Kinder Kare operates on a 12 hour per day basis from 6:30AM to 6:30PM.

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