The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) are a lifeline for many families, but understanding the ins and outs of the program can be tricky. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the childcare industry or a newcomer, the scheme’s complexity can make it challenging to navigate.
If you are struggling to understand the program’s policies, don’t worry – you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to help you understand all aspects of the CCS and ACCS and what it means for your family.
We’ll break down the complexities of the program to help you understand and ensure you’re getting the maximum benefit possible.
What Is Child Care Subsidy?
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is how the Australian Government helps families pay child care fees. The government must approve child care providers to receive CCS on behalf of families. The CCS started on July 2 2018, as a replacement for the Child Care Rebate.
Families must meet specific eligibility criteria and use registered or approved child care providers to receive the subsidy. The amount of CCS you get depends on your family’s income because it is income tested.
Once your eligibility has been approved, you can use a child care subsidy estimator to get an approximate idea about how much fees you have to pay once the subsidy is levied.
Here are some of the outstanding benefits of the program:
- CCS replaced the old Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) with a single, means-tested subsidy. This simplifies the process for families and ensures they receive the maximum financial assistance possible.
- Generally, CCS payments are made directly to the child care providers, who then pass on the benefits to families. This ensures that families are not burdened with managing the subsidy themselves and makes it easier for child care providers to maintain their services.
- The CCS system is much simpler than the previous multi-payment system.
- The CCS program is better targeted to provide more assistance to low and middle-income families.
What Is the Additional Child Care Subsidy Program?
The Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) is an additional payment provided to families facing difficulty accessing affordable child care. This payment is designed to supplement the CCS and provides targeted fee assistance to eligible families.
There are four categories of funding that the ACCS provides, which are as follows:
- Child well-being: This category is designed to assist families who require practical support to ensure their children’s safety and well-being while in care.
- Grandparents: This category is for grandparents who are the primary carer of their grandchild and are on income support.
- Temporary financial hardship: This category assists families experiencing significant financial stress due to a change in their circumstances.
- Transition to work: This category is for parents or carers transitioning from income support to work and requiring assistance with child care costs during this period.
Are You Eligible For CCS Or ACCS?
The amount of CCS, a family can receive depends on their circumstances. Therefore, services Australia will consider a few factors when determining the amount of financial assistance a family is eligible for. These factors include:
- Family’s income
- Number of children in care
- Age of children in care
- Family’s activity level, like work or study commitments.
- Type of care such as in-home care, extended daycare or family daycare
However, it is essential to note that starting from July 10, 2023, most families will receive increased (CCS) rates, and some previously ineligible families will now qualify.
It is possible to apply for CCS and ACCS simultaneously if needed. However, to receive the ACCS, families must be eligible for the CCS and meet specific criteria based on the category they are applying for.
Once you are approved to receive additional support from the government, you can use a reliable child care subsidy calculator to get an idea of how much fees you have to pay after the subsidies are applied.
What Are The Benefits Of Child Care Subsidy and the ACCS Programs?
The following are some benefits that CCS (Child Care Subsidy) and ACCS (Additional Child Care Subsidy) can provide for families:
- Enhanced employment opportunities
- Increased utilisation of centre-based child care services
- Improved access to child care options
- Enhanced continuity and stability of child care arrangements
- Increased income through improved employment prospects
- Improved educational attainment, especially for single mothers.
How to Apply for CCS and the ACCS?
To apply for CCS, you will need to create a myGov account and follow some simple steps. After logging into your myGov account, navigate Centrelink and choose Payment and Claims > Claims > Make a Claim. Then, click ‘get started’ under the Families section and answer all the questions, providing accurate salary information.
Once your claim has been assessed, Centrelink will send you an assessment letter with your subsidy percentage and the amount of subsidised care you can access for each child per fortnight.
Share your Customer Reference Number (CRN) and your child’s CRN with your child care provider. They will connect your Centrelink account to add your child’s enrolment details. Finally, log in to Centrelink and approve the enrolment notice.
It is worth checking your eligibility for CCS and ACCS. These subsidies provide a range of benefits, including increased access to child care and improved stability of care. Hopefully, this blog will help you take advantage of these subsidies and explore your options.