Assistance with child care fees

We offer a range of payments and services to help with the costs of child care.

Pending the passage of legislation, there’ll be changes to child care payments in July 2017. Read more about the proposed changes.

Help with child care costs

The Nanny Pilot Programme offers support for families finding it hard to access mainstream child care. For all enquiries about the programme, visit the Department of Social Services website.

We offer a range of financial assistance to help with the cost of care.

  • Child Care Benefit can help you with the cost of approved and registered child care
  • Child Care Rebate can assist with your out of pocket expenses for Child Care Benefit for approved child care if you are working, studying or training - to get Child Care Rebate, you must make a claim for Child Care Benefit for approved care
  • Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance can help you with the cost of child care if you are eligible for Child Care Benefit for approved care, want to return to work after having a child and are doing activities such as job search, work or study

Work out the assistance you may be able to get

Our online estimator lets you work out:

  • the amount of Child Care Benefit for approved care and Child Care Rebate you might get
  • the number of hours you can claim, and
  • your child care out of pocket expenses

Make a claim for child care assistance

The first step is to claim Child Care Benefit for approved care or registered care based on the type of care that you are using. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim for Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Child Care Fee Assistance.

For approved care, there are details you need to give your child care service regardless of how you intend to claim.

You do not need to claim Child Care Rebate. We will automatically assess your eligibility once you have submitted a claim for Child Care Benefit for approved care. Even if your income is too high for Child Care Benefit, you may still be able to get Child Care Rebate. Child Care Rebate is not paid for registered care.

If you are unsure about what type of child care you use, information on this page may help or you can check with your child care service.

Choose the best payment method for your family

We offer a range of payment options for Child Care Benefit for approved care and payment options for Child Care Rebate so you can choose what best suits your family.

JET Child Care Fee Assistance is paid directly to your child care service on your behalf.

Child Care Benefit for registered care is paid to you as a lump sum payment.

Details you need to give your approved child care service

When you enrol your child in a Child Care Benefit approved child care service, you will need to provide information to identify your family. This lets the child care service create a formal enrolment with us and lets them get the child care assistance payments on your behalf where you have claimed Child Care Benefit as reduced fees. They can then reduce your child care fees, so you pay less.

If you are not claiming Child Care Benefit as reduced fees, you still need to give your details to the child care service if you wish to claim or be assessed for Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate in the future. This allows the service to send your child’s attendance information to us so that we can assess your entitlement.

The details you need to provide to your approved child care service are your:

  • Customer Reference Number and date of birth, and
  • child's Customer Reference Number and date of birth

You and your child will get a Customer Reference Number as soon as a record is created with us. For example, when you submit a claim for family assistance or if you contact us before you submit a claim.

Your Customer Reference Number will be on the letters we send you. You can access your Centrelink online account through myGov or use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to check your child’s Customer Reference Number.

Differences between approved and registered child care

Approved care

Child Care Benefit approved child care services are approved by the Department of Education and Training to accept payments on your behalf. These services can include:

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

Child Care Rebate can be paid for approved care even if your income is too high to receive payment of Child Care Benefit.

The mychild website provides information to help you choose a child care service that meets your needs.

Registered care

Registered child care is care provided by individuals who are approved by us to allow you to claim Child Care Benefit for registered care. Registered carers can include:

  • grandparents
  • relatives
  • friends
  • neighbours
  • nannies, and
  • individuals in some child care services such as
    • private preschools
    • kindergartens, or
    • some outside school hours services, including before and after school care, vacation care and holiday programs

Individuals are not eligible to be registered carers if they provide care within a child care service which offers Child Care Benefit for approved care.

Before you claim Child Care Benefit for registered care, the person providing the care needs to be registered with us. Child Care Rebate is not paid for registered care.

If you are a provider of child care, read more about child care service providers.

How your child's child care service becomes approved

Child care services are approved by the Department of Education and Training to provide Child Care Benefit for approved care.

How your child's carer becomes registered

Individuals who provide child care can apply by lodging an application with us. Read more about registered carers.

If your circumstances change

If you separate from your partner or have a new partner, you should discuss who will have the ongoing responsibility for the child care fees. If there is a change in the person who will be responsible for paying the fees, the person now responsible should claim the child care payments and advise the child care service of their Customer Reference Number and date of birth.

Other government and community support services

There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful. You can use service finder to locate assistance in your local area.

mychild is a useful resource for children's health and wellbeing, parenting and family support services. There is information on what kind of child care is available to suit your needs and you can check if your child care service is approved for Child Care Benefit for approved care.

You can also search for child care services in your local area - in many cases, you will be able to find fee information and vacancies. Department of Social Services can help you if you are a child care service provider.

MoneySmartMoneySmart has information to help you make the most of your money. Read the Having a baby section on the MoneySmart website.

Page last updated: 7 March 2016