Fee Assistance

BREAKING NEWS #1: Higher CCS for multiple children and removal of annual cap brought forward

The Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) is making changes to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to help families who currently pay the most and experience the biggest barriers to participation in work.

These changes were announced in the 2021–22 Budget. They are implementing the changes earlier than initially announced to provide more support to families sooner.

Annual Cap

Families earning more than $190,015 (2021–22 terms) have an annual subsidy cap of $10,655 per child each financial year.

From 10 December 2021, they are removing the annual cap for all families who get CCS.

Families with more than one child in care

From 7 March 2022, families with children aged five or under in care will get a higher subsidy for their second child and younger children.

Who will be eligible?

Families may be eligible if they:

  • earn less than $354,305
  • have more than one child aged five or under in child care.

Who gets the higher subsidy?

Services Australia will work out which children get the higher subsidy by:

  • assessing all children in the family unit
  • identifying the standard rate child
  • identifying the higher rate children.

The standard rate child will get the standard CCS subsidy. Younger children will get a higher subsidy.

The standard rate child is the eldest child in the family unit aged five or under who is eligible for CCS and attending care.

How much do higher rate children get?

Eligible higher rate children will receive a 30% higher subsidy, up to a maximum 95%.

Children eligible for the higher CCS rate will have the increase automatically included in their CCS percentage reported to services.

BREAKING NEWS #2: Increased number of allowable absences days per child

DESE recently increased the number of allowable absences days per child for the 2021-22 financial year from 42 to 52.

Families receive up to 42 days every year, but the increase means families can now access an additional 10 absences per child, bringing the total to 52 for this financial year.

DESE has provided the extra allowable days for the 2021-22 financial year to support families and services affected by COVID-19. However, you can use them for any reason and DESE will apply them automatically.

The 10 extra allowable absences for this financial year are on top of any additional allowable absences provided to families in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory during the extended lockdowns of 2021.

Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy

We want your child to benefit from being in the best learning environment — a place that genuinely supports their unique growth and wellbeing. That is why we work hard to maintain our designated CCS status.

CCS is a government program that helps parents and families with out-of-pocket child care costs. It offers fee assistance that can make a difference to you and ensures that quality child care is accessible to all families.

This subsidy is income and activity tested and is paid directly to your child care centre to reduce the fees you pay.

Basic Eligibility for Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

To be eligible for CCS you will need to:

  • care for a child 13 years or younger and not attending a secondary school
  • use an approved childcare centre. All Petit ELJ centres are approved.
  • be responsible for paying the childcare fees
  • to ensure your child meets immunisation requirements or has an exemption
  • meet Australian Residency requirements

Amount of CCS

The amount of CCS, you and your family, can receive depends on your circumstances. All of the following are considered by Centrelink in determining the amount of CCS your family may receive:

1. Your Family Income

Your CCS percentage will be dependent upon the amount of your Family Income.

(a) Your Family Income CCS Percentage (from 12 July 2021)

Your Family Income CCS Percentage
Up to $70,015 85%
More than $70,015 to below $175,015

Between 85% and 50%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns

 $175,015 to below $254,305 50%
$254,305 to below $344,305 Between 50% and 20%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
 $344,305 to below $354,305 20%
 $354,305 or more 0%

(b) Annual Cap (from 12 July 2021)

Your Family Income will also impact the total amount of childcare subsidy that you will receive.

If your Family Income is under $190,015, you won’t have an annual cap on your subsidy.

However, families earning more than $190,015 (2021–22 terms) and under $354,305 have an annual subsidy cap of $10,655 per child each financial year.

From 10 December 2021, they are removing the annual cap for all families who get CCS.

(c) Withholding

Centrelink withhold 5% of your CCS. This is to help reduce the likelihood of you getting an overpayment. You can vary this amount to suit your circumstances.

You can do this up to twice a year using your Centrelink online account through myGov. If you would like to change it more than this, call the Families line.

Centrelink use your family income estimate to work out how much subsidy you will get. This means at the end of each financial year Centrelink will balance your payments using your actual adjusted taxable income. They compare this information to make sure they have subsidised your child care fees correctly in the financial year.

If you underestimated your family income, you may end up with an overpayment which you will need to pay back. Centrelink will use the amount they withheld to help reduce the debt.

If you overestimated your family income and did not get enough subsidy, they will pay any outstanding amount directly to you. This will include the amount they withheld.

2. Your Family Level of Activity

The number of hours of subsidised childcare your family is entitled to each fortnight is determined by an activity test. The higher the levels of activity, the more hours of subsidised care your family will be able to access, up to a maximum of 100 hours per fortnight.

The parent or guardian with the lowest hours of activity in your family will determine the hours of subsidised care.

Hours of recognised activities each fortnight Hours of subsidised care each fortnight
Less than 8 hours 0 hours if you earn above $69,390
24 hours if you earn $69,390 or below
More than 8 hours to 16 hours 36 hours
More than 16 to 48 hours 72 hours
More than 48 hours 100 hours

Recognised Activities include:

  • Paid work including being self-employed or on paid or unpaid leave such as parental or maternity leave
  • Actively studying or training
  • Unpaid work in a family business, work experience or internship
  • Actively setting up a business
  • Other activities on a case by case basis

You can access up to 36 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight if your only activity is either:

  • Volunteering
  • Actively looking for work.

To access this amount you must spend a minimum of 8 hours each fortnight doing the activity.

3. Type of CCS

Your Child Care Subsidy percentage will apply to the lowest of either the hourly fee you’re charged by your childcare service or the hourly rate cap.

There is a different hourly rate cap depending on the type of approved childcare you use. From 12 July 2021, the CCS hourly rate cap for centre-based Long Day Care and Occasional Day Care is $12.31.

CCS Estimator

To calculate an estimate of how much CCS you may receive, we recommend you visit Centrelink’s Child Care Estimator.


CCS Claim process

1. Get your documents ready
Common documents and information requested in the claim process are set out at the Department of Human Services Child Care Subsidy Supporting Documents Page.

2. Make your Claim
a. Online. You will need a myGov account linked to Centrelink.
     – Sign in to myGov and go to Centrelink
     – Select Make a claim, then Start a new claim
     – Under Families, select Get started.
     – Answer all the questions. Each screen has information to help you.
     – Submit your claim
b. Call the Families CCS line on 136 150 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.

3. Track Your Claim
After you submit your claim you will get a receipt advising that you’ve successfully submitted your claim, the ID number of your claim and an estimated completion date. You can track the progress of your claim:
a. online by sign in to myGov and go to Centrelink
b. by using the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app

Further information