Child Care Subsidy

Your investment in your child’s early education and care is significant, which is why access to the Australian Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is so important. Understanding the CCS and how to make the most of the benefits can make a substantial difference to the family budget – and to your child’s early learning outcomes.


What is the Child Care Subsidy?

The CCS is a part-payment by the Australian Government to offset the cost of early education and childcare for Australian families. How much you receive depends on your family’s individual circumstances.

How much CCS is my family eligible for?

Your CCS is calculated using three factors:

  1. Your combined family income. Your family’s combined income will help determine the CCS percentage you’re entitled to. As a general principle, the child care subsidy decreases as a family’s combined income increases. You will need to update Centrelink whenever your combined income increases or decreases – this can be done at any time through your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
  2. Your level of ‘activity.’ Your CSS is also affected by how much “activity” — both paid and unpaid — your family contributes to the Australian economy. This is calculated based on the parent with the lowest hours of activity per fortnight. Activity includes paid work, authorised leave (such as parental leave), unpaid work in a family business, time spent setting up a business, training and studying, volunteering, looking for work, and more. There are some exemptions to the ‘Activity Test,’ such as for low-income families, individuals receiving Carer’s allowance and more.
  3. Your childcare provider’s hourly rate. The third factor taken into consideration when calculating your CCS is the hourly rate charged by your childcare provider. Your CCS is calculated according to whichever is the lowest of the centre’s actual hourly fee or the Hourly Rate Cap of $13.73 per hour.

How can my family maximise our CCS?

Here are some helpful steps families can take before you enrol your child to ensure the CCS is paid correctly and on time:

  1. Register early. Ensure your myGov account is set up and you have registered for the Child Care Subsidy at least 28 working days before your child’s first attendance. This will reduce the risk of you paying full fees in the first few weeks. Two weeks before your child’s first attendance, ask your Centre Manager to confirm your child’s enrolment so any issues can be resolved before you start paying fees.

  2. Count every hour of approved activity. For the lower income earner in the family, your approved activity hours are the ‘deciding factor’ in how many hours of child care the Australian Government will subsidise for your child. Approved Activity includes work, studying and volunteering, and each of those approved activities need to meet the definition provided by Centrelink. Understand what counts, and report every hour, to ensure you receive what you are entitled to. Visit the Child Care Subsidy Activity Test to see your eligibility. Your Centre Manager or our Family Support Team are also available to provide information.

  3. Use flexible sessions. Our Lifelong Learning Centres offer families flexibility between 10-hour or full-day sessions, so they can use their subsidised child care hours over more days. In some centres we also offer 9-hour or shorter sessions. Please discuss the best option for your family when you enrol.

  4. Provide your Child Care Subsidy entitlement letter with your enrolment or send us a screen shot from your myGov page, so we can clearly see what you are entitled to receive.

  5. Be specific. Your written agreement with your child’s early education centre should clearly state which days they will attend, so the Centre Manager can accurately report this to Centrelink, and you won’t miss out on the CCS for any days your child attends.

Need more advice or information? Our Family Support Consultants are ready to answer your questions, and they’re available Monday to Friday on 1800 CHILD CARE, or use the contact us form on the website.