The Child Care Subsidy (CCS): What You Need to Know

What is the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)?

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a government subsidy that offers different levels of financial assistance to help cover the cost of childcare for Australian families. How much you receive depends on your individual circumstances.   There is more information below about the CCS, how much you should receive and how to apply.   Plus, our simple  Child Care Subsidy Calculator can help you determine what support you’re eligible for

How much CCS should I receive?

Your CCS is calculated using three components:

  1. Your combined family income
  2. Your level of ‘activity’
  3. Your childcare provider’s hourly rate

It can be a  little complicated … So,  we made it easy for you to understand how much you might be eligible for with our simple  Child Care Subsidy Calculator.

Please note the government will increase the CCS hourly rate cap from 12 July 2021 by CPI. Our child care subsidy calculator will over state until that date your out of pocket amount slightly

Child Care Subsidy Calculator

Now, let’s take a look at each of the factors used to calculate your CCS, and what they mean for you.

Your Combined Family Income

Your family’s combined income will help determine the CCS percentage you’re entitled to.   Remember, you will need to contact Centrelink when 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.

Your family income

Child Care Subsidy percentage

Up to $70,015 85%
More than $70,015 to below $175,015 Decreasing to 50%
$175,015 to below $254,305 50%
$254,305 to below $344,305 Decreasing to 20%
$344,305 to below $354,305 20%
$354,305 or more Nil

*These amounts are correct for 2021-22 (from 12 July 2021) and may be adjusted according to CPI.

Your Level of Activity

CCS is linked to how much a family contributes to the Australian economy through activity – both paid and unpaid. This activity level is calculated from the parent with the lowest number of hours of activity per fortnight.

Activity level each fortnight

Hours of subsidised care each fortnight

Less than 8 hours 0 hours if you earn above $70,015
24 hours if you earn $70,015 or below
8 to 16 hours 36 hours
16 to 48 hours 72 hours
More than 48 hours 100 hours

What counts as an activity?

  • Paid work (including all-time between drop off at the centre and pick up at centre, commute time, lunch breaks etc)
  • All types of work across all jobs/employers
  • Authorised leave (e.g. maternity leave, long service leave, annual leave)
  • Unpaid leave of up to 6 months
  • Unpaid work in a family business
  • Time spent setting up a business that has not yet started to operate
  • Training and study (including additional study outside scheduled hours, holiday and non-class periods)
  • Work experience/internships (paid or unpaid)
  • Volunteering
  • Looking for work (including contacting employers, preparing resumes and letters of application, preparing for and attending job interviews etc)

Exemptions to the  Activity Test ’ 

There are some exemptions to the activity test. To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact our Concierge Team on 1300 001 119.

  1. Universal Access: -year-old Pre-school programs.  If a child attends an early educational program at a childcare centre in the year that is 2 years before Grade 1 of school (ie a preschool or kindergarten program), they are entitled to up to 36 hours of care per fortnight, irrespective of their parent’s activity
  2. Low-Income Families.  If a family earns less than $70,015 with no activity, then they are entitled to 24 hours per fortnight.
  3. Individuals on  Income   Support will automatically qualify for 36 hours of activity per fortnight, plus any other recognised activity (e.g. volunteering, studying etc)
  4.  Individuals receiving Carer’s  Allowance will automatically qualify for the higher of:
    • 72 hours of activity per fortnight, or
    • The actual time spent caring plus any other form of recognised activity

Your childcare provider hourly rate 

The third factor taken into consideration when calculating your CCS is the hourly rate charged by your childcare provider.  CCS is calculated according to whichever is the lowest:

  1. The centre’s actual hourly fee (which is the daily fee’ divided by hours of operation), or
  2. The Hourly Rate Cap of $12.31 per hour.

How can I get the most out of the CCS? 

To discuss your individual circumstances and how they relate to your CCS entitlements, please contact our Concierge Team on 1300 001 119. They will be able to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.

Things to consider:

  • Have your circumstances changed?  For example, if your income level or contact information has changed, you should update your details with Centrelink as soon as possible. This can be done through your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
  • New to childcare?  You should put in a claim for CCS as soon as possible. Claims for CCS can only be backdated for up to 28 days from the day the claim is lodged, so the sooner you act, the better it will be for your back pocket.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Child Care Subsidy

What determines my level of child care subsidy?

The subsidy you’re entitled to will depend on your individual circumstances. Your CCS is calculated using three components:

  1. Your combined family income
  2. Your level of ‘activity’
  3. Your childcare provider’s hourly rate

You can estimate your likely out of pockets costs using our simple Child Care Subsidy Calculator.

How much does centrelink pay per child?

Again, this depends on your circumstances, including your family income, your level of activity and your chosen childcare provider’s hourly rate. To discuss your individual circumstances and how they relate to your CCS entitlements, please contact our Concierge Team on 1300 001 119. They will be able to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.

Why does the government provide subsidies for childcare?

The government provides financial assistance to families to help cover the cost of childcare. This eases out of pocket costs depending on how much a family earns and allows parents to return to work and for children to be exposed to high-quality early childhood care and education, which has many proven benefits for child development.

The Child Care Subsidy is provides higher levels of financial support to the families who earn the least, in order to make the process of returning to work less financially difficult. More importantly, this initiative gives your child an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of an early childhood education. Family life is busy – in between juggling work and family life, there’s not a lot of time left to catch up on legislative changes, so we’ve outlined them for you.

The system is income and ‘activity-based’, giving families access to either 36, 72 or 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight, based on the hours of combined work, training or study undertaken.

How do I claim the CCS?

The easiest way to decide how to make a claim is by visiting the Services Australia website.

Am I eligible for the CCS?

To get Child Care Subsidy (CCS) you must:

  • care for a child 13 or younger who’s not attending secondary school, unless an exemption applies
  • use an approved child care service
  • be responsible for paying the child care fees
  • meet residency and immunisation requirements.

Ho much am I entitled to claim through the CCS?

This will depend on your individual circumstances. You can estimate your likely out of pockets costs using our simple Child Care Subsidy Calculator.

More questions or concerns? 

To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact our Concierge Team on 1300 001 119.