Information for Families Paying for Child Care Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the difference between CCB & CCR? The Australian Government helps families to pay for child care with two payments: Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR). The main difference between the two payments is that CCB is income-tested, while CCR is not. This means that if your family income is too high for CCB, but you pass the work/study/training test, you can still get CCR. CCB is usually paid to child care services on the families’ behalf; but until now CCR has only been paid direct to the family, either annually or quarterly.
2. How is CCB paid to my child care service? The service submits details of your child’s attendance and the Family Assistance Office uses this information to calculate your CCB. The CCB payment is usually made direct to the service, so they can charge you a lower fee for care.
3. What is the change for CCR? Families can choose from two new options for payment of their CCR. You can receive the payment weekly or fortnightly to your own bank account, or you can have it paid direct to the child care service as a fee reduction. If you prefer, you can also stay with a quarterly or annual payment.
4. Why is my service charging me full fees now? Before the Child Care Management System was introduced in 2008-09, child care services received CCB in advance and were required by law to calculate an estimated amount of CCB for families and reduce the fees in advance. Now, the Family Assistance Office does the calculations and your CCB is paid in arrears to the service after they report the attendance details each week or fortnight. Many services have continued to estimate the fee reduction amount in advance, although they are under no obligation to do this. The estimated CCB amount often has to be adjusted when the service is advised of the correct amount to use. Now that CCR can also be paid as a fee reduction and the effect that changes in CCB have on the CCR amount, it has become more complex to estimate fee reduction amounts. Many services are now changing the way they invoice their fees to align with the way they receive CCB and CCR on your behalf. This change will make it easier for you to understand your accounts and make sure that the correct amounts of CCB and/or CCR are credited to your account at the right time.
5. I didn’t choose the ‘direct to service’ option, so how does this affect me? Your child care service has made a business decision about the best way to manage the accounts for all the families using the service. If they have chosen to invoice the full fee and then apply credits as they are notified of your CCB and/or CCR entitlements, you will receive the benefit of this with lower invoices within two weeks. Even without CCR being paid to the service, the same principle applies to your CCB entitlements: your service may invoice the full fee and then apply CCB credits as they are notified of your entitlements. You will receive the benefit of this with lower invoices within two weeks.