Child care support is changing

Act now so you continue to receive payments

A new Child Care Subsidy will replace the existing Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate from the start of July this year.

Get ready for the new subsidy now

1. You must complete a Child Care Subsidy assessment through www.my.gov.au or call Centrelink on 131 272 to receive the subsidy.

2. Your child care support is likely to change.

a. The amount of money you are entitled to is likely to change.

b. The number of hours of child care you are entitled to is likely to change. For example, you might receive only 24 hours of care (equal to two days of long day care) each fortnight, instead of the 48 hours that you could be receiving right now.

Get a rough idea of what you might be entitled to by completing this online estimator.

3. You won’t know your exact subsidy until you complete an official assessment (through www.my.gov.au or call Centrelink on 131 272) and Centrelink gets back to you.

4. Your child care provider will provide you with a compulsory written agreement, which you need to sign off on. Then, you will need to go back to www.my.gov.au and approve the enrolment. It’s then that your application will be processed.

5. The new subsidy will be paid to child care providers, unlike the previous rebate which some people received themselves.

If it looks like you might be entitled to less support, read on.

Why your child care support is likely to change

The amount of your new subsidy depends on your family income, an activity test and the type of childcare you use.

Low income families will receive the highest subsidy rate

The government will pay a percentage of your child care fee, not all of it.

The percentage you will be entitled to is determined by your family’s income.

If your family income is $66,958 a year or less, you will be entitled to the highest percentage rate: 85%.

The rate reduces if you earn more.

Do more approved activity, receive more child care hours

The amount of ‘approved activities’ you do will determine the number of child care hours you are entitled to.

If you are in a two-parent family, the parent doing the least ‘approved activity’ will determine that number.

If you are a single parent, Centrelink will only consider your approved activity.

On a low income? You’ll be entitled to at least 24 hours of child care each fortnight

If your family earns $66,958 or less a year and either parent does less than eight hours of approved activity each fortnight, you will be entitled to 24 hours of subsided care per child, every fortnight.

That’s about two days of long day care.

What is an approved activity?
  • Paid work, including leave
  • Actively looking for work
  • Paid parental leave (inc maternity leave)
  • Being self employed
  • Unpaid work in the family business
  • An approved course of education or study
  • Training courses for the purpose of improving your work skills or employment prospects
  • Volunteering

Get what you’re entitled to

If you are a ParentsNext participant, detail your approved activities in your preparation plan. The plan highlights your approved activities to Centrelink.

Combine approved activities to work out the maximum number of child care hours you are entitled to.

To receive more child care hours, consider studying or training if you’re not already, or take on extra shifts at work or give back to your local community by volunteering.

Make sure you factor in the time it takes for you to travel between the child care service and your place of work, training, study or other approved activity.

If you work casual or irregular hours, estimate your activity over a three-month period.

The type of child care you use will affect your support, too

Your entitlement is also based on the type of child care service you use.

The government will pay a percentage of your hourly child care fee, up to the maximum rates outlined above.

If your child care provider’s hourly fee is less than these rates, you will be entitled to a percentage of their actual fee, not these rates.

Additional Child Care Subsidy

Additional support is available to families in most need through the Additional Child Care Subsidy.

Ask Centrelink if you qualify for any of four payments tied to the additional subsidy.

They include a Transitioning to Work payment, which is great for ParentsNext clients.

These payments are replacing a number of existing subsidies including the Special Child Care Benefit and the Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Child Care Fee Assistance payment.