Fee Assistance

COVID-19 and Care Relief Package

Our Petit ELJ Centres remain open to support working Australian families and provide children with high-quality education and care. Childcare is an essential community service. Our long day care, kindergarten and preschool programs are all currently running as usual.

The normal Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) have been paused, and the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Payment has been extended until 12 July 2020.

From 13 July 2020, CCS and ACCS will recommence with the introduction of a number of new measures to support providers and families through this period.

Arrangements following the end of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package on 12 July 2020

The Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package (Relief Package) has been extended until 12 July 2020. The Relief Package was originally scheduled to end on 28 June 2020.

From 13 July 2020, CCS and ACCS will return, along with new transition measures to support the sector and your family as you move back to the subsidy. Families who have had hours of activity reduced as a result of COVID-19 will be able to advise Services Australia they meet the requirements to access 100 hours per fortnight for up to 12 weeks. This can be done through the Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app from 13 July 2020. From 13 July 2020, all requirements of Family Assistance Law apply.

The following components of the Relief Package will no longer be in effect as of the stated dates:

  • the 62 initial absence days per child ceases on 30 June 2020. There will be only 42 initial absence days in the 2020/21 financial year.
  • With CCS recommencing from 13 July 2020, providers are obliged to recover gap fees as usual.
  • Additional absence days to be claimed for COVID-19 related reasons without the need for medical evidence ceases on 31 December 2020.

From 13 July 2020 until 4 October 2020, individuals who can no longer engage in the same number of hours of work, training, study or other activity recognised by the CCS activity test immediately prior to the COVID-19 crisis, can advise Services Australia they meet the requirements to access 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight for up to 12 weeks. This can be done through your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

If you were getting CCS before 6 April 2020, you wouldn’t need to do anything as long as you have remained eligible. Your CCS will start again automatically on 13 July 2020. Please check your details, like your family income estimate for 2020-21, to make sure it’s up to date.

If your family is new to childcare, you should look into CCS now and claim as soon as possible. If your family continue using child care from 13 July 2020 but aren’t receiving CCS, you’ll need to pay full fees. If you received CCS in 2018-19 and still haven’t confirmed your income for that financial year, you must do so by 30 June 2020. If you don’t, your CCS will not start again on 13 July 2020.

From 13 July 2020 until 4 October 2020, if you can no longer engage in the same number of hours of work, training, study or other activity recognised by the CCS activity test prior to the COVID-19 crisis, you are entitled to an activity test result of 100 hours of subsidised childcare per fortnight. This applies to:

  • Individuals who are doing the less recognised activity than they were immediately prior to COVID-19
  • Individuals who are a member of a couple who is doing the less recognised activity than they were immediately prior to COVID-19
  • Individuals in receipt of carers allowance who have reduced any other recognised activity than what they were engaged in immediately prior to COVID-19.

From 13 July 2020, you will be able to advise Services Australia your family meet these requirements to access the 100 hours. This can be done through their Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. No other CCS activity test requirements have been changed, however, the more hours of recognised activity your family does, the more hours of subsidised care you can access, up to a maximum of 100 hours per fortnight for each child.

No, the CCS activity test results have not changed for individuals who are still engaged in the same number of hours or were engaged in less than eight hours of recognised activity prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

The temporary easing of the activity test requirements is only for individuals who had an activity test result of more than zero prior to the COVID-19 crisis and can no longer engage in the same number of hours of recognised activity. The more hours of recognised activity your family does, the more hours of subsidised care you can access, up to a maximum of 100 hours per fortnight for each child. Hours spent engaging in different recognised activities can be combined to determine your entitlement of subsidised hours.

From 13 July 2020 to 4 October 2020, a couple is now entitled to an activity test result of 100 hours of CCS per fortnight if:

  1. both partners had an activity test result of more than zero; and
  2. either partner can no longer engage in the same number of hours of activity as they did before the COVID-19 crisis.

Otherwise, the existing requirement remains where the hours of subsidised care the partner/couple is entitled to is determined by the person with the lowest number of hours of activity per fortnight.

Your child must meet immunisation requirements if you receive CCS. To meet the requirements, all of your children need to do one of the following:

If you received CCS and your child stops meeting these requirements, you have 63 days to start meeting them again. If you don’t, your subsidy will stop. For more information, visit the Services Australia website.

Our services are required to prioritise care to children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and children with existing enrolments as part of the conditions of the Relief Package, up to the service’s full capacity taking into account staff, resources and health and safety issues.

Care would still be made available to you the parent or carer if working from home noting that priority of access must be given to children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children, and previously enrolled children.

The process for new families to enrol your child in one of our childcare services has not changed with the introduction of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payments. We will help you to enrol your child under the care arrangement that best suits your circumstances. Refer to CCS Subsidy and ACCS.

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 13 July 2020)

Your Family Income CCS Percentage
$0 to $69,390  85%
More than $69,390 to below $174,390 

Between 85% and 50%
The percentage amount reduces 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 amount reduces by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$343,680 to below $353,680  20%
Equal to or above $353,680  0%
   

(b) Annual Cap (from 13 July 2020)

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

If your Family Income is $189,390 or less, you won’t have an annual cap on your subsidy.

However, if your Family Income is between $189,390 and $353,680 the amount of the childcare subsidy will be capped up to an amount of $10,560 per child each financial year.

(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
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 or internship
  • Actively looking for work
  • Volunteering
  • Other activities on a case by case basis

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 13 July 2020, the CCS hourly rate cap for centre-based Long Day Care and Occasional Day Care is $12.20.

CCS Estimator

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

FEE ASSISTANCE

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