Centrelink provides families with financial assistance to help cover the cost of child care through the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.
The department also provides financial assistance in covering the costs of pre-approved child care for foster and kinship carers.
There are a number of changes to how the department provides financial assistance for child care.
1. Register with Centrelink
If you have not already registered with Centrelink you will need to register and apply for the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.
If you do not register with Centrelink, the department cannot provide additional funding assistance.
See the Department of Human Services website for details on applying for assistance.
2. Elect for payments to go directly to the child care provider
You can now elect that this benefit and rebate is paid directly to the child care service provider.
This option is not mandatory, but is available to carers if they wish.
If a carer chooses this option, they will need to provide all invoices for pre-approved child care to the department who will make payment directly to the child care centre.
3. Repay any child care rebate reimbursements
At the end of the financial year, you will be required to repay any child care rebate reimbursement you receive to the department (if you register to receive child care assistance directly through the department).
See the Child Care Assistance reference guide (PDF 148KB) for comprehensive details.
See the Information for Child Care providers fact sheet (PDF 278KB) for more information that can be provided to child care providers.
At the end of the financial year you'll receive your 15% rebate. As the department will be paying your total child care costs upfront we will deduct this rebate over time from your carer payments.
Child Care Benefit
Centrelink asks carers to estimate their annual income when determining their CCB entitlements.
If Centrelink determines you have been overpaid and are required to ‘pay back’ Centrelink, you can present this documentation to the department to seek approval for reimbursement.
If Centrelink determines you have been underpaid and you receive a lump sum payment for child care assistance, you must repay the amount to the department.
Child Care Rebate
The CCR is paid directly to the child care provider, however Centrelink will withhold 15% of the entitlement until the end of the financial year.
Once you complete an annual tax return or Centrelink finalises their end of financial year reconciliations you will be reimbursed the 15% withheld during the year.
This amount will need to be repaid to the department via small deductions from your carer subsidy.
Refer to the Child Care Assistance reference guide (PDF 148KB) for comprehensive guidance.
If you believe you are eligible for child care assistance, speak with your case worker in the first instance.
You will need to demonstrate why a child in your care needs to attend child care, as well as meet a number of eligibility criteria.
See the Child Care Assistance reference guide (PDF 148KB) for more details.
When you receive child care assistance from the department as a foster or kinship carer you must:
- follow the eligibility criteria outlined in the Child Care Assistance reference guide
- advise the department within 14 days when changes that affect funding occur (eg you are now eligible to receive the CCB or CCR)
- submit child care tax invoices to the department for payment – ideally within 14 days
- repay any CCR repayment received at the end of the financial year to the department.