One of the primary types of childcare financial assistance that’s available for families in Australia is the Child Care Rebate. Learn more about the Child Care Rebate, your eligibility, and how you can claim for it.
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The Child Care Rebate (CCR) helps you cover up to 50% of your out-of-pocket childcare expenses, and it’s not income-tested. The maximum amount of the Child Care Rebate that you can claim is currently $7,613 per child, per financial year.
Are you entitled to the Child Care Rebate?
You may be entitled to the Child Care Rebate if you:
Are eligible for the Child Care Benefit (even if you’re only entitled to zero rate), and
Are using an Approved Childcare (a childcare that has been approved by the Australian Government for Child Care Benefit purposes), and
Meet the Work, Training, or Study Test, or have an exemption from the test.
Not sure whether or not you’re eligible for the Child Care Benefit? Here are the requirements you need to meet:
You or your partner are an Australian citizen, or a permanent resident living in Australia, and
You’re the person paying for your childcare costs, and
Your child is fully immunised, on a catch-up schedule or has a valid exemption, as per the new No Jab, No Play legislation.
The Work, Training, or Study Test for the Child Care Rebate
You and your partner need to undertake one or more work-related commitments during the week you use childcare in order to be eligible for the Child Care Rebate.
You are considered as taking on work-related commitment if you’re currently:
Undertaking paid work (this includes self-employment and paid leave from work)
Setting up your own business
Searching for work
Studying or training
Undertaking voluntary work
On paid or unpaid parental leave
There’s no minimum hours of work-related commitments needed for you to be eligible for the Child Care Rebate, unless you and/or your partner are currently doing voluntary work, in which case you’ll need to do at least 15 hours a week or 30 hours a fortnight.
How to claim
As baffling as it sounds, in order to receive the Child Care Rebate, you’ll need to apply for the Child Care Benefit first--yes, even if you’re eligible for zero rate of the Child Care Benefit due to your family income being too high!
You can apply for the Child Care Benefit either in person at a Centrelink service centre, or online through The Department of Human Services website.
After being assessed and approved, your Child Care Rebate and/or Child Care Benefit payments will start when your childcare service sends through your child’s attendance details to Centrelink.
If you’re eligible for both the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate, the Child Care Benefit applies first on the full fees, and then the Child Care Rebate will apply to the remaining amount.
You have a few options as to how you’d like to receive your Child Care Rebate. You can either have it paid as a fee reduction, or you can pay full childcare fees and have the rebate paid to your bank account directly. If you prefer the latter, you can opt to have the rebate paid fortnightly, quarterly, or annually as a lump sum payment. If you receive both the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate, and you opt for a fee reduction, Centrelink will withhold 15% of your Child Care Rebate entitlement during the year. This amount will be paid to you after the end of financial year.
What happens if your child is absent?
All parents who receive the Child Care Rebate payment are eligible for up to 42 absent days per child per financial year. For these 42 days, your child can be absent for any reason and you will still receive your Child Care Rebate payment without having to provide any supporting evidence or documentations.
If one or more of your child’s childcare bookings happens to fall on a public holiday and your centre still charges you for the childcare fee, this will also be considered an absence and will be included in your child’s absence count for the year.
For any additional absences beyond the 42 days a year, you can still receive your Child Care Rebate payment if the reason for the additional absence is any of the following:
- Your child is sick
- You have rostered days off or rotating shifts
- You have shared care arrangements due to a court order, parenting plan or parenting order.
You will be required to provide supporting documents to verify the reason for absence, such as a doctor’s certificate if your child is sick.
Please note that from 2 July 2018, there will be changes to the existing childcare assistance. The current Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate will be replaced by the Child Care Subsidy package. For more information regarding this please visit The Department of Education and Training website
If you need more information on the Child Care Rebate and the Child Care Benefit, contact Childcare Near Me and one of our childcare experts will be happy to help you out!