What is Child Care Benefit?
Child Care Benefit (CCB) is a payment from the Australian Government that helps you with the cost of your child care.
Who can get CCB?
You can get CCB if you are a parent, foster parent or grandparent with a child in your care who is attending child care services approved by, or registered with, the Government. You must meet certain requirements to receive CCB.
How much CCB can I get?
- your income
- the type of care you use (approved or registered)
- the amount of care you use
- the reason you are using care
- the number of children in care
For more information on the amount of CCB you can receive see below.
The Australian Government's Child Care Estimator can help you determine your eligibility and how much assistance you can expect to receive
What is approved or registered care?
Families using approved care can access greater rates of CCB than families using registered care. Approved child care must meet additional requirements set by the Australian Government. This includes having a license to operate, having qualified and trained staff, being open certain hours, and meeting health, safety and other quality standards as set by the National Quality Framework. Approved care includes:
- Long Day Care
- Family Day Care
- Outside School Hours Care (including before and after school and during school holidays)
- Occasional Care
- In Home Care.
If you use approved care you can allow a service provider to receive CCB on your behalf from the Government, which means you pay less in fees out of your own pocket.
This is child care provided by grandparents or other relatives, friends or nannies for work-related child care. It can also include care provided by individuals in private pre-schools and kindergartens as well as some outside school hours care and occasional care.
If you use registered care you may be eligible to receive the registered care rate, however, your carer must be registered with the Department of Human Services. The CCB is paid by the Government into your bank account after you submit a claim.
It is important to note that you cannot get the Child Care Rebate for registered care.
What eligibility requirements do I have to meet to get CCB?
To receive CCB, you need to meet these requirements:
1. Residency: You or your partner must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident living in Australia or be exempted from the Government's residency requirements.
2. Immunisation: Children under seven must meet the Government's immunisation requirements or have an exemption.
3. Responsibility for child care payments: You must be the one responsible for your child care costs. If your employer contributes to your child care through salary sacrificing or packaging, you should discuss with them who is responsible for the child care costs.
What is the work, training, study test?
This test determines how many hours of CCB you can get.
- For registered care you must be working, training or studying or have an exemption from this test to get up to 50 hours of CCB per child per week.
- For approved care all families can get up to 24 hours of CCB per child per week. To get up to 50 hours you need to be working, training or studying for at least 15 hours per week (or 30 hours per fortnight) or have an exemption from this test.
- More than 50 hours per week may be available to families if both parents (or the lone parent) are not available due to work, study or training commitments or if the family is experiencing exceptional circumstances. It is usually only available for families in certain circumstances who need extra assistance. Contact the Department of Human Services on 13 61 50 for more information.
Payments are based on your family's annual income. CCB rates reduce on a sliding scale depending on your income and the number of children you have in child care.
The CCB reduces for high income families until the rate they receive is zero. The income levels at which the payment phases out depends on the number of children a family has in approved care.
Families who are eligible for CCB but receive zero payment may still be eligible for the Child Care Rebate.
How much CCB do I get for approved child care?
The information below contains the rates and income thresholds for the current financial year.
If your income is $41 026 or less you may be able to get the maximum amount of CCB. This table shows the maximum amount of CCB you can get for a family with one, two or three children in care.
|Number of children in approved care||Maximum amount of CCB for 50 hours of care per child||Maximum amount of CCB per hour per child|
|Each additional child||$211.98||$4.23|
Note: If you receive an income support payment you may also get the maximum rate of CCB.
If your income is above the income limits shown in the table below, you will not receive any CCB. However you may still be eligible to receive the Child Care Rebate (CCR).
|CCB is not available over the following limits|
|Number of children in approved care||Income limits for 2011-2012|
|Each additional child add||$31 494|
How much CCB do I get for registered care?
The table below outlines the amount of CCB you can receive for registered care for the current financial year:
|Registered Care Rate – Non-school child||2011-2012|
|Per hour each child||$0.652|
|Maximum CCB for 50 hours of care per week for each child||$32.60|
How do I receive my CCB for approved care?
There are two ways families can choose to get their CCB, depending on their preferences:
1. You can have it paid directly to your child care service which means the fees you pay out of your own pocket throughout the year are reduced.
2. You can choose to pay full fees throughout the financial year and get your CCB as a lump sum after the end of that year from the Department of Human Services.
If you are not sure what your income will be across the year you can opt to receive the minimum CCB throughout the year and any additional amount you may be entitled to at the end of the financial year.
You must claim your CCB as reduced fees if you want to receive your CCR as a fortnightly or quarterly payment (even if your CCB entitlement is zero due to income). If you choose to receive your CCB via option 2, any CCR will also be paid as a lump sum at the end of the year after you have claimed your CCB.
How do I receive my CCB for registered care?
To get your CCB for registered care, take your child care receipts (given to you by your registered carer) to the Department of Human Services. The Government will pay your CCB into your bank account after you submit a claim. You must claim your CCB within 12 months from when the care was provided.
Your registered carer cannot receive CCB on your behalf.
If you use a combination of approved care and registered care you need to claim CCB separately for each type of care.
What if my child is absent?
You will receive CCB and CCR for 42 absence days per child each financial year. These days can be for any reason and you will not be required to provide an explanation.
You may be entitled to additional absence days but for specific reasons only. There is no limit on these days but you may be required to provide documentation to support your child's absence.
What do I need to tell my child care provider?
To ensure that you don't have to repay any of your CCB at the end of the financial year you should advise your child care provider:
- If your child starts school.
- If your circumstances change and you are no longer eligible to receive reduced fees.
- If you are using more than one child care service for your child.
- If one of your children stops using child care.
- If you or your partner stop working, studying or training for more than 20 hours.
Important points to remember about CCB
- CCB is not a tax benefit and cannot be claimed through the tax system.
- If you choose to have your benefit paid directly to your child care centre as reduced fees, you must estimate your family's income as accurately as possible in advance.
- You can receive the minimum amount of CCB without providing an estimate of your income.
- Your CCB will be balanced at the end of the financial year. Adjustments will be necessary if your actual family income is different to your estimate.
- Your child care provider must send information about your child care usage, attendance details and fee reductions to the Department of Human Services.
- You are entitled to a full session of child care if you have paid for a full session of care.