Friday, 11 September 2015 23:31

Understanding Childcare Fees in Australia

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Understanding Childcare Fees in Australia

 


Having worked in the childcare industry in Australia for 10+ years, it astounds me how many families still don't understand their childcare fees and what they need to pay. The childcare management system is complex with many subsidies available to families depending on their personal situation. This article will clear up some of these concerns outlining what each subsidy means and explain how these subsidies are applied to your invoice.

 

Childcare Benefit

 


The first subsidy families often ask questions about is childcare benefit or CCB. Childcare benefit is a federal government subsidy that is paid to the childcare provider. A families income is assessed to determine whether a family is eligible for CCB. If a family meets the income test requirements they receive a payment from the government to their childcare provider which helps reduce their daily fee. 

 

Childcare benefit is not paid to all families. I have attached a link from the Australian government website below that shows the cut off points for a families eligibility for CCB:  http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/child-care-benefit/income-test

 

Once a family has determined that they are eligible for CCB they then need to provide some documentation to their childcare provider. This includes a CRN number for both the child and the carer. This number is obtained from the local Centrelink office. They also need to ensure their immunisation details are up to date for their child. Click onto the link below which explains when each vaccine is required:  http://www.smashfit4kids.com/images/Immunisation_and_kids_parents_stuff_page.pdf

 

Securing all of this information, allows the childcare provider to formalise the enrolment and allow CCB to be paid to the service. On a families invoice, CCB is reflective as a percentage and is paid each week once the childcare provider has submitted their childs attendances to Canberra. I have provided at the bottom of this article and example of what a typical invoice looks like with the CCB percentage identified:

 

 

 

 

Childcare Rebate 

 

Childcare rebate or CCR is another federal government subsidy that covers 50% of out of pocket childcare expenses for approved childcare. Out of pocket expenses are the total childcare fees less the amount of any CCB or JET (which will be explained a little later) a person may be eligible for. The maximum amount of CCR paid in any financial year is $7500.00 per child. This is referred to as the cap amount.

 

Childcare rebate can be paid to a family in 4 different ways. These include: 

 

  • paid directly to your childcare provider on a fortnightly basis. This will help further reduce a person's childcare fees on a daily basis.
  • paid directly to a person's bank account on a fortnightly basis.
  • paid directly to a person's bank account on a quarterly basis.
  • paid annually to a person's bank account. This option however is only available to families that receive their CCB for approved care as a lump sum payment.

 

It is important to note that the payment method chosen is applied for a full financial year and cannot be changed. A new payment method can only be changed at the commencement of a new financial year unless exceptional circumstances apply.

 

 

 

Job, Education and Training Subsidy

 

Job, Education and Training Subsidy which is also know as JET is a federal government payment made to parents who are undertaking an approved activity. To understand what an approved activity is I have attached a link from the Australian Government website, which outlines the different types of approved activities:

http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/jobs-education-and-training-child-care-fee-assistance

 

Once JET has been approved, it will reflect on the invoice received from the childcare provider.

 

Special Childcare Benefit for Hardship and Child at Risk

 

Special childcare benefit or SCCB is a federal government subsidy that is available for children who are at risk of serious harm or neglect or for families who are undergoing temporary financial hardship that is restricting their ability to pay their fees.

 

For more information on SCCB, click on the link below:

http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/fa023

 

 

 

Reading your childcare invoice

 

To better understand your childcare invoice I have a copy of a typical invoice below with an explanation of what each item on the invoice means:

 

 

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