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Families affected by COVID-19 can apply for extra Child Care Subsidy (CCS) hours

Families who are doing less work, study or other recognised activity due to COVID-19 may be able to apply for more Child Care Subsidy (CCS) hours.

Families affected by COVID-19 may get up to 100 hours of CCS per fortnight for up to 12 weeks.

If you’re eligible, you can access extra hours between 13 July and 4 October 2020. You can apply any time before 4 October but the government can only back pay you up to 28 days.

It’s important you keep your activity test details up to date so the government can give you the right rate of CCS. Check they’re correct before applying for extra hours.

Who can get extra hours
You can get extra CCS hours if your family’s recognised activity level has gone down because of COVID-19. All of the following must also apply:

  • you don’t already have access to 100 hours of CCS
  • between 13 January and 22 March 2020, you were doing more than 16 hours of recognised activity per fortnight
  • now, you’re doing 8 or more hours of recognised activity per fortnight.

You can’t get extra hours if you’ve chosen to do less activity and this isn’t because of COVID-19.

Services Australia has created the below short video to help families understand if they are eligible.

What you need to do
You can apply for extra hours using your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select My Family from the menu, then Child care.

You can also use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

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CCS News

Why the amount of Child Care Subsidy (CCS) changes

As the new financial year starts you may notice that your out of pocket child care fees change. This is most likely caused by a change in your CCS payment. These are the 4 main reasons how much the government pays your child care service might differ.

1. Your CCS rate changes
Your CCS percentage and hours of subsidised care depend on:

  • your family income
  • the type of care you use
  • the hours of activity you and your partner do.

Every July the government:

  • updates the family income thresholds, annual cap and hourly rate caps to match Consumer Price Index (CPI) changes
  • starts using your family income estimate for the new financial year.

These updates mean you could get more or less CCS from July.

2. Your eligibility changes
You may no longer be eligible for CCS if:

  • your child doesn’t meet their immunisation requirements
  • you travel outside Australia
  • your percentage of care reduces below 14%.

If you’re no longer eligible, your CCS will stop. You can keep using child care, but you’ll need to pay full fees.

3. You’re repaying an overpayment
The government may use some of your CCS to repay money you owe them for child care fee assistance.

4. You change your withholding amount
When you get CCS the government withholds 5% of your subsidy. You might have chosen to increase your withholdings unintentionally or intentionally. If you do, your out of pocket fees are likely to increase.

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CCS News

Child Care Subsidy activity test from 13 July 2020

The activity test requirements will be eased from 13 July 2020 to help families impacted by COVID-19.

From 13 July 2020 to 4 October 2020, individuals who can no longer engage in the same number of hours of work, training, study or other activity recognised by the CCS activity test immediately prior to the COVID-19 crisis, can advise Services Australia they meet the requirements to access 100 hours of subsidised child care, per child, per fortnight for up to 12 weeks.

This can be done through their Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. For more information, visit dese.gov.au/covid-19/childcare.