What Childcare Benefits Does the Government Provide?
Childcare is given great importance by the Australian Government which is why they’re providing financial assistance to parents to help them avail childcare services. Both the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate programs help secure the welfare of families living in the country. Parents who belong to the low and middle-income brackets benefit the most from this service.
Child Care Benefit (CCB)
The CCB is an income-tested benefit the government provides in order to help families alleviate the burden of paying for childcare services. You can choose to get your CCB subsidy either as a lump sum or as a fee reduction. Usually, the subsidy is directly paid to the care provider, reducing the out-of-pocket fees you need to pay them.
You and your child should comply with these terms to qualify for the CCB:
- Child must be attending an approved or registered child care
- Child must have completed the immunization requirements
- Child’s parents must meet the requirements of residency
- You (the applicant) must be the one paying the fees for child care
Starting January 1, 2016, based on the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ measure, parents must see to it that their children have completed the immunization requirements to qualify for the CCB. The rule applies to all children under the age of 20.
Exemption from this rule can be considered if the reason is medical in nature and it has been certified by a general practitioner. In most cases, children with natural immunity, a history of contraindication, or those who are participants in a documented vaccine study are given exemptions in complying with the immunization requirements.
CCB is based on an individual’s income but there are also other factors that affect the amount of subsidy you can receive from the government.
- The reason you’re using approved or registered care
- Which type of care (registered or approved) you utilize
- The number of children enrolled in child care
- The number of hours of CCB you use
Individuals with high income will not receive CCB for any approved care. However, they may still be qualified to apply for Child Care Rebate.
Hours You Can Avail
For approved care, your child is eligible to receive up to 24 hours per week of subsidized service. You can increase this up to 50 hours per week if you satisfy the Work, Training, Study test. One of the primary requirements in the said test is that you’re studying, working, or training for at least 30 hours every fortnight or 15 hours per week.
Child Care Rebate (CCR)
A supplement to the CCB is the Child Care Rebate. The rebates help further reduce the amount families need to pay for availing approved child care services. It’s important to take note that CCR is not income-tested, which means families with high income can still apply for rebates. CCR can cover as much as 50% of the out-of-pocket expenses of parents availing CCB. The limit that can be claimed is around $7,500 per child.
You can choose to get the rebate either as fee reduction or as a lump sum which you can get fortnightly, quarterly, or annually.
To get the rebate, applicants should satisfy the following requirements:
- You’re using an approved child care service
- You or your partner must be a citizen or a permanent resident of Australia unless approved for exemption
- If your child is below 7 years old, he/she must complete the immunization requirements unless approved for exemption
- You and your partner, if there’s any, must have studied, worked, or trained during the same week that child care is given
- You should be liable for paying the child care services
The same immunization requirements defined by the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ legislation applies to CCR.
Applying for Benefits and Rebates
To claim the rebates, you must pass the requirements for CCB first. This condition also applies to high-income families assessed to receive zero subsidies for child care services.
Applications can be done in person or online via the Department of Human Services. Your claim will be assessed and both the subsidy and the rebate will be applied to your child care expenses at the time of payment.