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The Australian government seeks to provide families with high quality, accessible early childhood education and care programs. To make this happen, they subsidise the cost of pre-school and child care for eligible families using two forms of financial assistance: the Child Care Benefit and the Rebate.

What is Child Care Benefit?

In order to understand what the government child care rebate is, you first need to know what a Child Care Benefit or CCB is.

Child Care Benefit is a form of government assistance implemented in 2000 to help working, training or studying parents or guardians pay for child care fees.This financial support depends on the family’s income, so it is not the same for everyone.

Child Care Rebate (CCR), on the other hand, is a financial assistance applied in 2004 to supplement CCB qualified families’ out-of-pocket expenses, provided that they enrol their child in government-approved service providers. Out-of-pocket costs refer to charges minus the Child Care Benefit allowance. Unlike Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate is not based on income.

How to claim a rebate?

The first step is to find out if you are eligible for the Child Care Rebate. You would have to meet the following requisites:

  • You use a Child Care Benefit approved child care service.
  • You are eligible for the Child Care Benefit, even if you earn too much to receive payment.
  • You and your partner meet the Work, Training, Study test or are exempt from it.

You also need to read the information booklet about your Claim for Family Assistance.

Once you have determined that you are eligible to claim a rebate, you may claim your rebate in any of the following ways:

  • Online
  • Via phone
  • In person

For more detailed instructions on each option, visit the official Human Services website.

Typical rebate process for most child care centres

Most centres in the country can start the rebate process for you, from checking for eligibility to sending in an application.

Once they have determined your eligibility, they will provide you with payment options to choose from. Typical options include:

  • Direct payment to the centre
  • Direct payment to your bank account

If it’s paid directly to the service, the service will receive the payment every week and that amount will be taken off your child care fees. So you will pay the gap fees. If it’s paid directly to the family, you can decide to have it paid into your bank account either every fortnight, every quarter or at the end of the financial year.

For further information as well as answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

In our next blog post, we will explain what a School Readiness Program is. Parents and guardians will learn about this critical period and understand the value of proper transition from home to preschool to formal education.