How does the Child Care Subsidy work in Australia?

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The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a government payment that can help you with the costs of childcare. If you’re yet to apply for the Child Care Subsidy for your child and wondering how it could help, we’ve compiled a child care subsidy FAQ to answer the most common questions about the scheme, so you can submit your application confidently.


Updates for 2024

The Child Care Subsidy has recently undergone a number of updates to better support families:

  • Enhanced Support for Lower-Income Families: For households earning below $80,000 annually, the CCS rate has been increased from 85% to 90%.
  • Expanded Eligibility: Families with an annual income under $530,000 now qualify for CCS.
  • Graduated Rate Adjustments: For every $5,000 earned above $80,000, CCS rates will decrease by 1%.
  • Increased Support for Families with Multiple Children: Families with more than one child aged 5 or under will receive a higher subsidy rate for their second and subsequent children.
  • Adaptable Hours for Varied Family Circumstances: The scheme allows for additional subsidised hours tailored to the situations of families.
  • Special Provisions for First Nations Children: Guaranteeing at least 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight for First Nations children.

What is the Child Care Subsidy?

In Australia, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a type of government assistance designed to help families with the cost of childcare. The exact amount you will receive depends on your Child Care Subsidy eligibility and family/ financial circumstances, specifically:

  • Your family’s combined income.
  • The number of children within your care.
  • Your childcare provider’s hourly rate.
  • The hours of recognised activity (paid and unpaid) that you and your partner do.


Child Care Subsidy eligibility is determined by meeting all of the following four requirements, according to Services Australia:

  • You are caring for a child under the age of 13 who is not attending secondary school, unless an exemption applies.
  • You are using an approved child care service.
  • You are responsible for paying the child care fees.
  • Your family meets residency and immunisation requirements.


The subsidy rate calculation is based on a sliding scale, where the percentage of child care costs covered by the government decreases as family income increases.

Combined Family Income Subsidy per cent 
Up to $80,000 90%
$80,000 to below $530,000 Decreases from 90%

The percentage will decrease by 1% for every $5,000 of family income

$530,000 or above 0%


When to apply

It’s a good idea to apply as soon as you know you’ll be needing child care for your little one. The process can take a number of weeks, so the earlier the better. If your Child Care Subsidy is not already in place when your child begins care, you will need to pay full fees until the subsidy is active. You can apply for the Child Care Subsidy before you’ve officially chosen your childcare provider or enrolled your child.


Applying for the Child Care Subsidy is simple. To begin the application, you may first need to collect certain documentation including identification documentation, payslips and medical records.

Once you’ve got your paperwork ready, here’s how to claim your child care rebate:

  1. Sign into MyGov and click on Centrelink
  2. Select “Make a claim”
  3. Find “Families” and click “Get started”
  4. Select “Apply for family assistance” and answer questions
  5. Select “Child Care Subsidy” then “Claim Now”
  6. Review and submit form
  7. Once approved, enrol your child in childcare
  8. After your child is enrolled, complete the Complying Written Agreement through MyGov

When to update details

There are a few situations where you’ll need to update your Child Care Subsidy details in your MyGov account. This includes if:

  • Your family income changes
  • Your relationship status changes
  • Your or your partner’s activity levels change, such as volunteering or actively looking for work
  • There are other changes to your circumstances, such as your child starting school or your address changing.

What other subsidies are available?

As well as the Child Care Subsidy, Australian families may have access to other forms of financial assistance to help with the costs of raising children and child care. This includes:

State-Funded Early Childhood Education Initiatives

Designed to extend access to quality early childhood education experiences, these programs enhance the affordability of early childhood education. While they operate alongside the federal Child Care Subsidy, these initiatives are distinct in their focus and funding sources as they are directly managed and financed by state governments. These initiatives include:

  • New South Wales: The Start Strong program aims to improve access to early childhood education for children in the year before school, with additional support for 3-year-old children in certain circumstances.
  • Victoria: Offers a funded kindergarten program for both 3-year-old and 4-year-old children, aiming to provide 15 hours of free or low-cost early childhood education per week.
  • Queensland: Offers a subsidy for kindergarten programs for children in the year before school.
  • South Australia: Provides access to kindergarten for all 4-year-old children.
  • Western Australia: Offers a KindiLink program for 3-year-old Indigenous children and their families for six hours a week. For 4-year-old children, Western Australia also provides funding for kindergarten.

Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS)

The ACCS is a top-up to the regular CCS for families in certain situations, providing extra support for those who need it. It includes various categories:

  • ACCS (Child Wellbeing): For families needing support due to a child’s wellbeing being at risk. In most instances, the full cost of child care is covered.
  • ACCS (Grandparents): For grandparents who are the primary carers and receiving income support.
  • ACCS (Temporary Financial Hardship): For families experiencing significant financial hardship temporarily.
  • ACCS (Transition to Work): For families transitioning from income support to work through training or study.

Parental Leave Pay (PLP)

The Australian Government provides financial support for up to 18 weeks to eligible parents who are on leave from work to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.

Dad and Partner Pay

Eligible working dads or partners can receive up to two weeks of government-funded pay when they take time off work to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.


Get in touch to find out more about the Child Care Subsidy

Still have questions about the CCS or other funding methods? Our knowledgeable team is here to help! Reach out today for personalised support and give us a call on 1300 AURRUM (1300 287 786).