Categories
CCS News

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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
CCS News

Changes to absences under the Child Care Subsidy

What is an absence day?
Under the Child Care Subsidy, families are allowed 42 absence days per child, per financial year. These 42 allowable absences can be taken for any reason, including public holidays and when children are sick, without the need for families to provide documentation.

Changes to absences
From 13 July 2020, families can receive CCS for absences up to seven days before a child’s first, and after a child’s last, physical attendance at a service, where a session of care would have usually been provided, for any of the following reasons:

  • any of the additional absence reasons
  • the child, the individual who cares for the child, the individual’s partner or another person with whom the child lives is ill (no medical certificate required if the child has not used 42 absence days)
  • the service has changed ownership
  • the usual service is closed and the child is attending a different service under the same provider
  • a family tragedy (a major event including the death of an immediate family member) has occurred, or
  • the enrolment ceased incorrectly.

This amendment was made in response to feedback from the sector and has been timed to coincide with the start of the 2020-21 CCS year.

Families can continue to claim additional absences for COVID-19 related reasons without the need for medical evidence until 31 December 2020.

For more information check out the updated absences fact sheet and FAQs from Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Categories
CCS News

Child Care Subsidy is starting again soon – are your families ready?

Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is starting again on 13 July 2020.

If you were receiving CCS before 6 April 2020, it will automatically start again if you’ve stayed eligible and your enrolment is current and confirmed.

Follow these five steps to make sure you’ve stayed eligible and receive the right amount of CCS:

  • Give Centrelink your 2020–21 family income estimate to receive the correct CCS percentage and avoid an overpayment.
  • Check your activity hours to receive the correct amount of hours of CCS per fortnight*.
  • Make sure your child meets immunisation requirements.
  • Check your child’s enrolment details are current with your child care service and re-enrol if you need to.
  • Confirm your income for 2018–19 if you haven’t already by 30 June 2020.

*From 13 July 2020, the Australian Government is easing the activity test for CCS. This means you may be able to apply for extra activity hours if COVID-19 has affected you. There will be more information about how to do this in July.

If you’re new to child care, you should claim CCS as soon as possible. From 13 July 2020, you’ll pay full fees unless you’re getting CCS.

For more information, visit Services Australia.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has created an information sheet for families about the transition arrangements for the end of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package and the return to CCS.