Child care includes centre based care, family day care, out of school hours care, vacation care and in home care.
The Australian Government provides eligible families with financial assistance to help cover the cost of child care through the Child Care Subsidy.
Eligible carers are also able to access additional fee assistance through:
- Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing); or
- Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent).
These additional subsidies should cover all of the child care fees for children in care.
To receive Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) or Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent), eligible carers need to claim the Child Care Subsidy first.
For the majority of children in care, the application of these subsidies will mean a child’s child care fees will be covered. However, there may be some circumstances when the department may provide financial assistance to carers. This can only happen if:
- your child’s case worker has approved the child in your care attending child care
- you have claimed Child Care Subsidy within two weeks of the child commencing child care.
If there are circumstances beyond your control which means you can’t claim Child Care Subsidy, please speak to your child’s case worker.
How can I claim Child Care Subsidy?
Follow these steps.
|1. Check your Child Care Subsidy eligibility|
|2. Create a myGov account and link with Centrelink|
3. Submit your claim for Child Care Subsidy
4. Enrol child in child care
To be eligible for Child Care Subsidy, you must:
- care for a child who is 13 or younger and not attending secondary school (unless an exemption applies)
- use an approved child care service
- be responsible for paying the child care fees
- meet residency requirements
- ensure the child meets immunisation requirements.
Your income or activity level does not impact your eligibility for Child Care Subsidy.
Being eligible for Child Care Subsidy is important as it means you can also be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) or Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent).
The Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) applies to a carer who looks after a child in family-based care under the custody or guardianship of the Department for Child Protection Chief Executive.
Carers must also meet the Child Care Subsidy eligibility criteria.
How to apply
You should speak with the child care provider about accessing the Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing).
It is the childcare provider’s responsibility to:
- collect evidence from the department to support your Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) application
- prepare and submit the Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) application to the Australian Government on your behalf
You should also speak with your child’s case worker. Your child’s caseworker can assist to provide evidence to the child care provider to support your Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) application.
If you are a grandparent or great grandparent and meet the following eligibility criteria, you can apply for Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent):
- are eligible for Child Care Subsidy
- receive an income support payment e.g. age pension, Dept. of Veteran Affairs age pension
- are the grandparent of the child*
- are the principal carer of the child**
How to apply
If you already get Child Care Subsidy, complete the following steps to apply for the ACCS (grandparent) .
If you don’t currently get Child Care Subsidy for your grandchild follow the Child Care Subsidy claims steps and apply for the Additional Child Care Subsidy Grandparent at the same time.
*A grandparent or great grandparent includes a natural, adoptive or step grandparent or great grandparent of the grandchild
**A principal carer has 65% or more care of the child(ren), and is responsible for the day-to-day decisions about the child’s care, welfare and development
Where the department has provided financial assistance for child care fees, you must repay the department any reimbursement you receive from Centrelink related to this financial assistance. Please speak with your child’s case worker for further information on how you can do this.
What if I owe money to Centrelink?
If you owe Centrelink money related to child care subsidies and child care attendance was approved by the department, the department may reimburse you. Please present the appropriate documentation (letter from Centrelink) to your child’s case worker to seek approval for reimbursement.
As described above, you need to:
- seek approval from the child’s case worker first for the child to attend child care
- claim CCS within 2 weeks of the child starting child care, preferably before the child starts
- provide the CCS claim number to your child’s case worker
- confirm the child care enrolment on myGov following you entering into a complying written arrangement with the child care provider.
- repay to the department any reimbursements from Centrelink you have received related to child care.
You also need to:
- ensure the child care fee invoice is in your name
- advise Centrelink within 14 days when changes occur to your income or activity level
- submit child care invoices to the department within 14 days
- submit annual tax returns to the Australian Tax Office.
Speak with your case worker in the first instance.
Child care assistance - Department of Human Services