Payment options for Child Care Benefit

You can choose how your Child Care Benefit is paid.

Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate can't be claimed through the tax system.

Approved care

For care provided by an approved child care service, Child Care Benefit can be paid as a fee reduction or as a lump sum.

Approved care is care provided by child care services which have Australian Government approval to pass on the Child Care Benefit for approved care to families as a reduction in their child care fees. Approved child care can include:

  • long day care
  • family day care
  • outside school hours care
  • vacation care
  • in home care, and
  • occasional care

Fee reduction

If you choose this option, your Child Care Benefit will be based on your annual family income estimate for the financial year and will be paid directly to your approved child care service.

The amount will be deducted from your child care fees by the child care service. You'll have to pay any gap in outstanding fees.

By choosing this option you can receive your Child Care Rebate as a fortnightly or quarterly payment. The rebate can be paid up to an annual limit of $7,500 per child. This also means you won't have to submit a Child Care Benefit lump sum claim at the end of each year.

Example

This example shows how Child Care Benefit as a fee reduction and Child Care Rebate may benefit you when your Child Care Rebate is paid fortnightly.

Child care fee   $1,000.00
Less Child Care Benefit entitlement   -$300.00
Sub total   $700.00
Child Care Rebate entitlement $350.00  
Less 15% of the Child Care Rebate as a withholding $52.50  
Sub total Child Care Rebate fee reduction $297.50 -$297.50
Final out of pocket cost   $402.50

There are payment choices you can make when you claim Child Care Benefit as a fee reduction to help reduce your risk of being overpaid.

Read more about payment choices to reduce your risk of overpayment.

Lump sum payment

If you choose to claim a lump sum payment, you'll pay full child care fees to your child care service during the year. After the end of the financial year, you can submit a claim for Child Care Benefit as a lump sum. Any Child Care Rebate will also be paid as a lump sum at that time. If you wish to receive Child Care Rebate as a fortnightly or quarterly payment you'll need to claim Child Care Benefit as a fee reduction.

If you’ve already claimed as reduced fees, you can still claim as a lump sum for any periods in the past year for which you hadn’t been paid.

You have 1 year to submit your claim for the financial year for which you're claiming. The year is measured by financial year, not calendar year.

If there are special circumstances that prevent you from submitting your lump sum claim within the 1 year timeframe, contact us to discuss your options.

Read more about the time period for submitting lump sum claims and confirming income.

You need to formalise your child's enrolment to allow your child's attendance information to be sent to us by your child care service. To do this, you need to give them your and your child's Customer Reference Numbers, and dates of birth.

Approved care is care provided by child care services which have Australian Government approval to pass on the Child Care Benefit for approved care to families as a reduction in their child care fees. Services that provide this care include long day care, family day care, outside school hours care, vacation care, in-home care and occasional care.

Registered care

Payments for registered care are made as a lump sum payment. You need to provide all original receipts for the periods you're claiming and you must submit your claim within 1 year of the care being provided.

Registered care is care provided by individuals who are registered as carers with us. It can include care provided by grandparents, relatives, friends or nannies. In some cases, it can also include care provided by individuals in private preschools, kindergartens and some outside school hours services including before and after school care and vacation care.

Your receipts must have the following information for each child:

  • the registered carer's name and address or Carer Reference Number
  • the child’s full name
  • the full name of the person who paid for the child care fee
  • the details of the care provided for each week of care including hours and amount paid, and 
  • the registered carer's signature and the date

Page last updated: 4 October 2016

This information was printed Tuesday 6 December 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/payment-options-child-care-benefit It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.