Higher Child Care Subsidy

Families with more than one child aged 5 or under in care can get a higher Child Care Subsidy (CCS). They’ll get the higher subsidy for their second child and younger children. This measure was introduced on 7 March 2022.

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Who is eligible for the higher subsidy?

To get the higher subsidy, a family must:

  • earn less than $354,305
  • have more than one child aged 5 or under in child care.

Who gets the higher subsidy?

Services Australia works out which children get the higher subsidy by: 

  • assessing all children in the family
  • identifying the standard rate child, and
  • identifying the higher rate children. 

The standard rate child is usually the eldest CCS-eligible child aged 5 or under in the family. They get the income-tested CCS rate

Younger children get a higher subsidy.

All eligible children aged 5 or under are counted when determining the standard rate child.

For children born on the same date, such as twins, Services Australia will automatically determine one child as the eldest child and apply the higher rate to other children. 

Services Australia can change the automatic ordering of children born on the same day, if required. Families should contact Services Australia to request this.

How much is the higher subsidy?

Eligible higher rate children get a 30% higher subsidy, up to a maximum of 95%. 

Families will continue to receive their income tested CCS rate for all children. Children eligible for the higher rate will have the increase automatically included in their CCS percentage reported to services.

Eligibility for the higher subsidy rate

If Services Australia believes there is no intention for a child to use child care, they will end a child’s CCS eligibility.

Between 7 March and 10 July 2022, families can get the higher subsidy even if their eldest CCS-eligible child aged 5 or under is not using care.

This transition period will help families plan their child care arrangements.

From 11 July 2022 onwards, children who haven’t used care in 26 consecutive weeks will no longer be eligible for CCS. This rule will first be applied to children who haven’t used care for the 26-week period from 10 January to 11 July.

This may affect a family’s entitlement to the higher subsidy.

If a standard rate child’s CCS eligibility ends, Services Australia will reassess all other children in the family to determine:

  • the new standard rate child
  • new subsidy rates.

We will not reassess CCS payments for the 26-week period, for example between 7 March and 10 July 2022. The family must remain eligible during this period.

If a child starts to attend care again, a family can lodge a new claim for CCS.

Combined families

The higher CCS recognises diverse family circumstances, including combined families. A combined family is where each parent or carer gets CCS for different children in their family.

The Child Care Subsidy System is being enhanced to recognise combined families from July 2022.

Services Australia will backpay the higher subsidy amount to affected families for the period March to July.

Some combined families may notice a higher rate from March 2022. This will occur if one member of the couple is CCS-eligible for more than one child age 5 or under in care. Services Australia will reassess the family’s eligibility as a whole from July 2022 and backpay any higher subsidy due for the period between March and July.

Combined families who want to get the higher subsidy before July 2022 can choose one member of the couple to claim CCS for all children. That individual will need to make a new CCS claim. Families should do this as soon as possible because claims can only be backdated for a maximum of 28 days.

If a family takes up this option, you must update the family’s enrolments. Enrolments must reflect the individual who is now claiming CCS for all children. 

Combined families do not have to take up this option. They can simply wait until July 2022 to get the higher subsidy rate. These families will be back paid their full higher subsidy entitlement for the period March to July.

Families who get Additional Child Care Subsidy

Children who are entitled to both the higher subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will be paid the ACCS rate.

Families who use In Home Care

Sessions of In Home Care (IHC) do not attract the higher subsidy for younger children. This is because IHC is subsidised on a family rather than per child basis.

However, children aged 5 or under in IHC are included in the family unit when determining the standard rate child. A family with their standard rate child in IHC will get the higher subsidy for younger children who attend other care types.

CCS fortnights

A CCS fortnight is a 2-week period that starts every second Monday. The first CCS fortnight for the 2021–22 financial year started on Monday 12 July 2021.

Generally, we calculate CCS at the start of a CCS fortnight. This amount continues for the whole fortnight regardless of any change of circumstance. 

This means that if an eldest eligible child turns 6 partway through a CCS fortnight, younger children will keep the higher subsidy for the whole CCS fortnight.

Resources

Resource You can…
Higher CCS poster 1 display this poster at your service
Higher CCS poster 2 display this poster at your service
Higher CCS factsheet share this factsheet with families

Families who want more information should go to the Services Australia website.