What is Child Care Benefit (CCB)?Last updated: June 2017
Child Care Benefit (CCB) is an income-tested form of government fee assistance provided by Centrelink. The aim of CCB is to assist families with the costs of child care, from approved long day care centres (including Lilypad Early Learning Centre), as well as other forms of care such as family or occasional care, after school care, vacation care and preschool.
It’s easy to get confused by the process of claiming your Child Care Benefit, so we’ve made it easy for our families by organising everything on your behalf. Simply provide us with you and your child’s Customer Reference Number (CRN) and date of birth, and in many cases, we can figure out the rest. If we need your input or any more information, we can provide further instructions.
If you’re not yet part of the Lilypad family – welcome! For a free, personalised tour around the centre, we recommend you book a tour with our Centre Director.
How does Child Care Benefit work?
To skip to a section, click on one of the links below:
- How do I apply for Child Care Benefit?
- What is an approved child care centre?
- How much Child Care Benefit will I receive?
- What income tests do I have to complete?
- What are my child’s immunisation requirements?
- What are the Child Care Benefit residency rules?
- What is the Work, Training, Study test?
- Does Child Care Benefit cover absences?
- What is Grandparent Child Care Benefit?
- What is Special Child Care Benefit (SCCB)?
- What is Child Care Rebate (CCR)?
Otherwise, read on to learn more about Child Care Benefit, an explanation of specific eligibility requirements and special cases.
How do I apply for Child Care Benefit?
While there is a great deal of information about Child Care Benefit available online, it can still be a confusing process. To make things simpler for our families, we can often organise (almost) everything from our end.
When enrolling, we’ll ask for the following details from you:
- You and your child’s full names
- You and your child’s Customer Reference Number (CRN)
- You and your child’s date of birth
Once these details are processed, we can automatically deduct your Child Care Benefit from your child’s fees, and the rebate deductions will be reflected in your family statements. If we need anything more information, we’ll either let you know or guide you through the process.
If you’d like to book a tour or enrol, please fill out your details on our booking form.
What is an approved child care centre?
Approved child care centres are services that have the approval of the Australian government to be subsidised by Child Care Benefit. Examples of child care services that could be approved include:
- Long day care
- Family day care
- After school care
- Vacation care
- In-home care
- Occasional care
In our case, Lilypad Early Learning Centre is an approved “long day” child care provider which is eligible for Child Care Benefit.
How much Child Care Benefit will I receive?
At the time of this guide, the current payment rate for approved child care providers is $4.24 per hour (or $212.00 per week) for each child who is not of school age. Children who are of school age receive 85% of this rate.
This rate can change depending on your circumstances, based on criteria such as your family income or the number of children who are receiving approved child care. Families are generally eligible for 24 hours of subsidised care per week for each child, with up to or more than 50 hours depending on the outcome of your Work, Training or Study test, certain exemptions and special cases.
Without making an application for Child Care Benefit, it is difficult to estimate exactly how much fee assistance you will receive. However, you can find a more accurate ballpark figure by using the online rate estimator tool.
What income tests do I have to complete?
To be eligible for Child Care Benefit, you will need to complete an income test where your family income must be declared. This does not include your family’s assets.
As the amount of Child Care Benefit depends on your family’s income, it is important that you keep your family income estimate updated on MyGov. This will reduce the likelihood of being overpaid when fee assistance payments are rebalanced at the end of every year.
Even if you don’t meet the requirements for Child Care Benefit, it is likely that you’ll still be eligible for Child Care Rebate. If you are ineligible for CCB but wish to receive CCR fee assistance, you will have to submit a separate claim.
What are my child’s immunisation requirements?
Since the beginning of January 2016, eligibility to Child Care Benefit has been subject to the No Jab No Pay laws, requiring all children to meet a certain standard of immunisation.
Families with children who are not fully immunised will not be able to receive Child Care Benefit, except in certain special cases that must be approved by a General Practitioner. Personal objection to immunisation is no longer a valid exemption.
A full list of immunisation requirements are available on the National Immunisation Program Schedule.
What are the Child Care Benefit residency rules?
For your child to be eligible for Child Care Benefit, you or your partner must be currently living in Australia, which will be determined by the following criteria:
- Your primary place of residence
- Whether you have family in Australia
- Your employment or business ties in Australia
- Your assets in Australia
- How much time you spend overseas
You must also have some form of residency status in Australia, such as citizenship, permanent residency (PR) or some sort of temporary visa (e.g. Partner Provisional or Temporary Protection). You may also be eligible if you are sponsored by the Australian government, under hardship or certain special circumstances.
If you no longer meet one of these criteria, your Child Care Benefit payments may be paused or cancelled.
What is the Work, Training, Study test?
The Work, Training, Study test is designed to understand the number of hours to be subsidised by Child Care Benefit. This test identifies whether you and your partner have work, training or study related commitments to require child care fee assistance.
Commitments that fulfil this requirement include:
- Paid work for more than 15 hours a week
- Setting up a business
- Training or studying
- Actively looking for work
- Voluntary work that improves your work skills
If you are unable to meet one of the above circumstances, you can satisfy the Work, Training, Study test if you are:
- On annual or long service leave
- On sick or other paid leave
- On paid/unpaid parental leave (maximum 12 months)
- On self-employment leave, including sick leave
- On carer leave or carer sick leave
- Receiving Carer Payment
- Receiving Carer Allowance
- Caring for a person with a disability
It is also possible for you or your partner to be exempt from these requirements if you or your partner:
- Has a disability
- Are on Disability Support Pension
- Are overseas or in prison
To claim exemption under other circumstances, we recommend you speak directly with Centrelink.
Does Child Care Benefit cover absences?
If your child is absent on a day that normally would have been covered by Child Care Benefit, this will still be covered by fee assistance as normal. Child Care Benefit covers up to 42 absences every financial year, except under some special circumstances. Any days that would not have been covered by Child Care Benefit will not be counted towards the 42 absences.
No evidence or reason is required to claim Child Care Benefit on absent days.
What is Grandparent Child Care Benefit?
If you are both the grandparent and primary caregiver of a child attending child care, you may be eligible for additional fee assistance through Grandparent Child Care Benefit.
Grandparent Child Care Benefit covers the full cost of child care that would be covered by the standard Child Care Benefit, up to 50 hours each week. This is paid directly to the approved child care service.
To be eligible for Grandparent Child Care Benefit, you must:
- Be eligible for Child Care Benefit
- Be the biological, adoptive or step-grandparent of the child
- Be the primary caregiver with the responsibility of making decisions for the care, welfare and development of the child
- Be receiving income support payments from the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Great-grandparents and their current and former partners are also eligible for Grandparent Child Care Benefit if they are the primary caregiver of the child.
What is Special Child Care Benefit (SCCB)?
Special Child Care Benefit is designed to help children who are:
- At serious risk of abuse or neglect
- Part of a family experiencing hardship
In both circumstances, the child must be in a position where access to child care would alleviate the risk or hardship, but is unaffordable due to the family’s financial situation.
The approved child care service provider can approve Special Child Care Benefit for up to 13 weeks in any financial year. For a longer period of Special Child Care Benefit, an application must be made to the Department of Human Services.
What is Child Care Rebate (CCR)?
Child Care Benefit can be supplemented by Child Care Rebate, another form of government fee assistance that is not income-tested. Child Care Rebate can cover up to 50 percent of child care fees, up to $7,500 per child, per year
For more information, please read: What is Child Care Rebate (CCR)?
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