Centrelink provides several payments to families to help support their income and reduce or subsidise child care costs. However, the eligibility requirements and what the payments actually provide a family can become very confusing.

As a young mother I encountered this when I decided to return to work. Many people gave me their opinion that child care was so expensive that it wasn't worth returning to work. However, I found this not to be the case, but understood how people may come to this conclusion.

Centrelink provides two main payments when it comes to child care. They are Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.

The Child Care Benefit (or CCB) is entirely dependent on your family income, whether you are single or partnered. It is calculated as a percentage based on your annual income and is given to you in the form of a weekly reduction in your child care fees.
As an example, if the weekly cost of child care is $400 and Centrelink assesses you to receive 50% of CCB, your weekly child care costs are reduced by $200, so that you only pay $200 per week.

The Child Care Rebate (or CCR) is 50% of all your out of pocket child care costs up to $7,500 per year per child, and you can receive it weekly, quarterly  or annually.
Carrying on from the previous example, if after CCB you pay $200 in child care costs for the week CCR then reduces this to only $100 per week.

Child care costs do look expensive if you think that you are going to be paying $400 for the week. However, depending on your individual circumstances, Centrelink does provide some worthwhile benefits to reduce these costs and you may be surprised by how little you actually end up paying.

If you are confused by the child care benefits provided by Centrelink, or you are considering returning to the workforce and would like some further information, please contact us, we would be happy to help.