As we move further into 2021 we know many families are continuing to face challenging times.
The end of Jobkeeper payments on 28 March is an additional concern that has many families thinking about the cost of early learning and their weekly family budgets.
It's important to know there is additional support available for families to ensure their children can continue to attend the early learning and care we know they need to really make a difference.
These additional subsidies and support have been designed to help families through tough times just like this, so that you can have peace of mind that your child’s learning and care can continue.
Families experiencing temporary financial hardship
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to an event that happend in the last 6 months (including COVID) or have a subtantially reduced ability to pay child care fees then you may be eligible for the Government's Additional Child Care Subsidy.
If your income has been reduced because you have lost your job, have gone through a separation, you are caring for a seriously ill family member or have recently lost a family member or loss of a business you may be eligible.
You may be eligible to receive up to 13 weeks of subsidy towards your child care fees, for up to 100 hours of care per fortnight. In most cases, these subsidies will cover the full fees charged by your child care centre (up to 120 per cent of the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) hourly rate cap).
Please note: you need to lodge your claim for ACCS -TFH within 6 months of the event occurring.
If you have already lodged a claim for ACCS - Temporary Financial Hardship previously
Please also note: that if you have accessed ACCS - Temporary Financial Hardship before and have had a second event that has temporarily affected your ability to pay your child care fees then you may be eligible to apply again.
The following reasons may constitute a ‘second event’. The second event cannot be the same as the first for example: temporarily stood down is the first event, losing your job may be the second event.
Please be aware that your circumstances need to be tested with Centrelink.
Being stood down from work / no rostered hours
Reduced hours or irregular work (including after a period of being stood down or even returning to work)
Inability to find or return to work due to business or industry impacts from COVID
This should especially be considered in localised areas of very high unemployment, e.g. where local employment relies heavily on tourism (e.g Gold Coast)
Having to leave home because of extreme circumstance, eg could no longer afford rent/mortgage due to COVID
Serious illness of a family member or having a health vulnerable family member at home, restricting ability to work/study/travel outside the home and/or
Other major disaster event, including widespread lockdowns, floods etc
For further information on the eligibility criteria for all types of ACCS - TFH please visit the Services Australia website.
Applying for the subsidy
If you have access to a computer, you can apply for ACCS online or you can apply in person by visiting your local Centrelink office. To support your application, it is helpful if you write a statutory declaration that states the following:
The event or incident that has caused your financial hardship, e.g. lost job, substantially reduced income, family illness, natural disaster, etc
The date this event occurred and
How this even has affected your family’s ability to pay your child care fees
Families who are training, re-skilling or getting back into work from income support
If you are currently receiving income support payments from Centrelink, such as JobSeeker or Parenting Payments, you might be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) Transition to Work.
This subsidy pays up to 95% of your child care fees so that you can get back to work or do some study or training/upskilling to help you find a new job.
If you have access to a computer, you can apply online via myGov or you can apply in person by visiting your local Centrelink office.
To support your application, it’s a good idea to have a plan for what you want to do (ie. return to work, train or study) and when you plan to start. This will help Centrelink work out how long you can receive the ACCS Transition to Work support.
For detailed information on the additional subsidies available to families please visit the Services Australia website.