04.Child care costs
High child care costs are a concern for many parents, see below for some government benefits which can ease the pain.
Child care Benefit
Child care benefit is a Government subsidy. Your income level and care type determine how much you can receive. All eligible families can receive a benefit for up to 24 hours per week. For up to 50 hours you usually need to be working, training or studying for at least 15 hours per week (or 30 hours per fortnight).
If your income is $37 960 or less or you receive an income support payment you may be able to get the maximum amount. The maximum income limits are:
Number of children in approved care Income limits for 2009–2010
- One child: $131 560
- Two children: $136 375
- Three children: $153 995
- Each additional child add $29 077
Families using approved care can access greater benefits than families using registered care.
Approved child care must meet additional requirements set by the Australian Government. This includes having a licence to operate, having qualified and trained staff, being open certain hours, and meeting health, safety and other quality standards as set out under the Australian Government Quality Assurance Accreditation system.
Approved child care, per hour per child:
- One child: $3.60
- Two children: $3.76
- Three and more children: $3.91
Registered care, per hour per child: $0.602
Example: Claire’s three-year-old son Ben is in long day care for 50 hrs a week at a cost of $200. Claire’s annual income is $36,000, which means she will be entitled to 100% of the Child care benefit ($3.60 per hour). This means her Child care benefit entitlement is $180.00 per week so she pays the child care centre the remaining $20.00.
At the end of the quarter, Claire will also receive 50 per cent of the amount she paid the child care centre back as Child care tax rebate.
To work out how much child care benefit you can get, use the Australian Government ready reckoner to calculate.
Child care Tax Rebate
If you are using approved child care for work, training or study related reasons, you can receive 50 per cent of your out-of-pocket child care costs, up to $7778 (indexed) for each child each year.
There is no income test for the Child care tax rebate. If you are eligible for the Child care benefit but don’t receive it as your income is above the maximum limit, you’ll still receive the Child care tax rebate.
If you are an eligible grandparent who has primary care of your grandchildren and are in receipt of an income support payment, such as a pension from Centrelink, you may receive Grandparent Child care benefit. Grandparent Child care benefit will cover the full cost of child care for up to 50 hours per child, per week.
For more information and to find out if you are eligible for any of these payments visit www.centrelink.gov.au or www.familyassist.gov.au.
You can also telephone Centrelink on 13 6150 or visit your nearest Family Assistance Office and a Customer Service Officer will be able to help you.
You can also find some fact sheets on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.