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.

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

$0 to $69,390 85%
More than $69,390 to below $174,390 Between 85% and 50%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$174,390 to below $253,680 50%
$253,680 to below $343,680 Between 50% and 20%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$343,680 to below $353,680 20%
$353,680 or more Nil

*These amounts are correct for 2020-21 (from 13 July 2020) 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 $68,163
24 hours if you earn $68,163 or below
More than 8 to 16 hours 36 hours
More than 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 $65,710 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 $12.20 per hour.

How can I get the most out of the CCS? 

COVID and  your level of  Activity 

Temporary changes have been made to help families whose activity levels have dropped as a result of COVID-19.  From 13 July 2020 to 4 October 2020, impacted families can access up to 100 hours of subsidised childcare, per child, per fortnight. To be eligible, families must have experienced a reduction in their number of hours of recognised activity compared to pre-COVID-19.  This is also available for two-parent families – where one or both parents have experienced reduced activity compared to pre-COVID-19. Both parents must still be engaged in at least eight hours of recognised activity per fortnight to be eligible for this additional subsidised care.  To access this, you must update your activity levels with Centrelink via your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.  See our COVID FAQs and COVID Latest Updates for more information about how COVID is impacting childcare.

Recent updates to the CCS:  What You Need to Know 

Free childcare under the Government’s ‘Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package’ ended on 12 July. From 13 July 2020, the regular Child Care Subsidy (CCS) returned.   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.

What does this mean for my family? 

From 13 July 2020, families again need to pay the ‘gap fee’. The gap fee is the fee payable by you over and above the CCS subsidy amount. It is often referred to as your out-of-pocket cost.  NOTE: This excludes families located in areas subject to Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria who choose not to attend care. For more information, read our COVID Latest Updates.

What do I need to do now

Next steps will depend on your individual circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Concierge Team on 1300 001 119.

  • Already receiving CCS before 6 April 2020?  You don’t need to do anything for your subsidy to start again, as long as you have remained eligible and enrolled. Your CCS will have started again automatically on 13 July 2020.
  • Your circumstances have 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. Otherwise, from 13 July 2020, you will need to pay full fees. In addition, 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.

More questions or concerns? 

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