Child Care Rebate The Benefits For Parents
Explaining The Child Care Rebate
Taking care of a family has become quite a challenging endeavor in this day and age. And understanding the Child Care Rebate is just an additional challenge for parents. Sure, it’s just as meaningful and vital as it always was – if not more, in an era that places a lot of demands on an individual that can be staved off with a strong family background – but it has also gotten quite complex for something that is rooted in the simple concept of child care. The many new types of family dynamics have also come in to complicate matters further, giving us new ways to be families but not without raising many needs that must also be addressed.
Financial considerations, for instance, have always been central to any undertaking, particularly in terms of child care. Different local governments have fortunately set up various financial assistance programs providing aid to families in need of rebates for child care. The Australian Government, for instance, has a precisely-laid out Child Care Rebate program. From all accounts it appears to be quite promising, with the promise of covering 50% of one’s out-of-pocket expenses on child care (within an annual limit), in addition to other programs of assistance for child care one might be availing of.
How does the Child Care Rebate work?
You may be eligible to receive the Child Care Rebate if the child care service you’re using is accredited for Child Care Benefit. This makes sense because the money in both cases would only acceptably go to a service that meets particular standards, hence the need for accreditation. The child care services accredited for the Child Care Rebate may include various types of service and delivery, such as vacation care, outside-school-hours care, family day care, and others.
The mychild website may have more information, or you can ask your provider if they are accredited for the Child Care Benefit (which would thus make them also eligible to participate in Child Care Rebate).
It’s also helpful to note that you are not automatically ineligible if you make above a certain amount in terms of salary – Child Care Rebate is a service that isn’t income tested. However, there is a Work, Training, Study test; typically this means that you and your partner must be undertaking a work commitment (Work), setting up a business, or undergoing training or study (the other two in the name)
- being on annual or long service leave
- on carer leave or carer sick leave
- on parental leave up to 12 months (paid or unpaid),
- Receiving Carer Payment or Allowance, or caring for a PWD.
Child Care Rebate covers up to 50% of your child care expenses, which would be your total child care fees minus any current assistance you are receiving (Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance, or Child Care Benefit).
The annual limit per child is $7,500, and once this limit is met you will no longer be eligible for child care assistance until the next financial year. Note that this can result in complications where – depending on how you receive the payments – the limit can be hit as you receive 85% of the annual limit; in cases like this the balance is determined at the end of the financial year.
To avoid such situations, constantly check on the amount of the rebate you are recorded as having received as well as when the child care fees will no longer be subsidized, through your Centrelink online account.
Child Care Rebate has four payment options.
- The first has the payment going directly to the child care service, which will be deducted from the fee that they charge you. This will be done on a fortnightly or weekly basis, which will depend on when the service sends your child’s attendance records. Do note that if you are also receiving Child Care Benefit above zero rate, you may not receive the full limit of the Rebate entitlement as 15% of the Rebate entitlement will be withheld.
- You can also have the option to have the payment sent to you fortnightly or weekly. This is also dependent on when your child’s attendance information is sent in. The 15% withheld Rebate entitlement in the event of receiving Child Care Benefit is also true here.
- The second option can also be paid to you quarterly rather than weekly. Note that this follows the fiscal year – first quarter starts in July, and so payments for the first quarter would come in from October to November. The second quarter starts in October and the payments would come in from January to February. The third quarter starts in January and the payments would come in from April to May. The fourth quarter starts in April and the payments would come in from July; it’s worth noting that payments for the last quarter will usually be done if you still have any outstanding entitlements.
- Finally, the benefit can be claimed annually as a lump sum payment. Again, note that the year being followed is the financial year and not the calendar year. A lump sum claim for the Child Care Rebate must be submitted within one year of the end of the calendar year the rebate is being claimed for.
Perfect attendance is not a strict necessity, although it cannot be accommodated beyond reasonable limits. Up to 42 absences per year per child are allowed for Child Care Rebate; special circumstances that would result in the child going over that limit may be discussed for approval and payment. The child care service is the first line of discussion for such cases that might need an appeal. All of this is assisted by the attendance information being submitted by the child care service.
The Centrelink online account through myGov will be an effective resource for checking on child absences. Holidays are a special case – where the child would normally have attended child care on the weekday of the holiday, the holiday is counted as an absence, and fees are charged for that day.