Child Care Subsidy

As Bright Sparks is an Australian Government approved service, we are eligible to receive Child Care Subsidy (CCS) from Centrelink on your behalf to assist with your fees.

Most families are eligible for CCS, which is paid directly to the Centre to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. CCS reduces your fees for an approved number care hours per fortnight depending on your (and your partner’s) amount of work, training, study, volunteering, looking for work, or other eligible activities. The amount of reduction depends on your household income.

See more information from Centrelink about how to claim CCS at Centrelink online.

We recommend claiming CCS at Centrelink before enrolling. Approval typically takes around four weeks. Full fees are payable until your CCS is approved by Centrelink, but CCS will be backdated up to 28 days to your date of claim.

CCS Activity Test

For the Activity Test, if you declare at least 48 hours of activities per fortnight (equivalent to 3 days per week), you will be entitled to the maximum 100 hours of CCS.

Eligible activities are:

  • regular work
  • your highest expected amount of casual or irregular work in a fortnight over the next three months
  • paid or unpaid leave
  • study
  • training
  • looking for work
  • unpaid work
  • setting up a business and
  • volunteering.

You should include breaks and travel time in your Activity Test hours. You may be eligible for an exemption to the Activity Test.

See more information from Centrelink about about how your activity level affects your CCS hours.

CCS Income Test

The amount of fee assistance depends on your household income. Centrelink will calculate a CCS percentage using your family income estimate. For example, if your household income is less than $69,000 you will be entitled to 85% CCS.

Typically, 5% of your Child Care Subsidy is withheld and paid to you directly after balancing at the end of the financial year. This also reduces the risk of a Centrelink debt. However, if you are confident you will not underestimate your household income, you can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses by changing your withholding to 0% in the Centrelink app or at Centrelink online.

See more information from Centrelink about about how your household income affects your CCS percentage.

You may be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) to provide further fee assistance.

Additional Child Care Subsidy – Transition to Work

If you have a Job Plan or a Participation Plan and are studying, training, looking for a job, or transitioning off an Income Support Payment, you may be eligible for ACCS Transition to Work which is 95% CCS. See more information from Centrelink about the Transition to Work subsidy. Apply at Centrelink as part of your CCS claim.

Additional Child Care Subsidy – Temporary Financial Hardship

Full fees may be covered for up to 13 weeks if you have recently experienced a financial hardship which has substantially reduced your capacity to pay child care fees. You may be eligible for ACCS Temporary Financial Hardship which is 100% CCS if you have recently lost your job, lost income or a business, been affected by a major disaster, lost your home, lost a partner or child, lost child support, or been affected by family or domestic violence. See more information from Centrelink about the Temporary Financial Hardship subsidy. Apply at Centrelink as part of your CCS claim.

Additional Child Care Subsidy – Grandparents

Grandparents are eligible for full fee assistance which is 100% CCS for grandchildren in their care when receiving an income support payment. See more information from Centrelink about the Grandparent subsidy. Apply at Centrelink for ACCS Grandparent after your CCS is approved.

Additional Child Care Subsidy – Child Wellbeing

ACCS for Child Wellbeing covers full fees which is 100% CCS where a child is at risk of serious abuse or neglect. This may apply if a child is at risk of experiencing harm through physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse, or domestic or family violence. Risks of neglect include parent mental health issues, stress, family instability, substance abuse, or a lack of parenting capacity. Please contact us for more information about Child Wellbeing.