ACCS – What exactly is Additional Child Care Subsidy?

The Australian Government provides extra help for those who are struggling financially, particularly with childcare costs. Learn more about the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). Who is eligible and how much can they receive? 

Introduction

Access to quality early learning centres is crucial for many children, to foster their development and help them reach their milestones physically, emotionally and intellectually. Unfortunately, not everyone can access childcare so easily due to many different circumstances. To make childcare more accessible, the Australian Government has put subsidies and income support payments in place to help out. If a parent is eligible for the Child care Subsidy, they may also be able to get extra financial help through the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). Let’s take a more in-depth look into what it is and who is eligible to receive it.

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Some families are eligible for ACCS (Additional Child Care Subsidy) which can cover up to 120% of the child care subsidy hourly rate cap

What is the ACCS?

The Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) is a government payment made available for parents and carers who may need help to cover the cost of childcare. It is a top-up payment in addition to the Child Care Subsidy.

In some parts of Australia, childcare is quite an expensive affair. According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, nearly one in three families spend more money on childcare than groceries. Having a government income support payment in place to support people who may be facing a lot of financial burden can really help them out and ensure their kids have access to quality early childhood education.

Who is eligible for ACCS?

Parents or carers must meet the Child Care Subsidy criteria and a few additional requirements for the ACCS.

What are the additional subsidies you can receive?

There are four different types of additional subsidies you can apply for. Here is an outline of each one:

●    The Grandparent Subsidy

This refers to the child’s biological grandparent or great-grandparent. This can also be through adoption, stepparents, de-facto relationships, artificial conception and surrogacy.

To be eligible for this type of subsidy, all of the following factors must apply to you or your partner:

–      must be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy

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–      should receive an income support payment

–      are the grandparent of the child

–      have 65% or more care for the child

–      make the day-to-day decisions for the child’s wellbeing

●    The Transition to Work Subsidy

This particular subsidy is to support families whilst they are transitioning to work (from income support into paid employment) as they are busy with work, study or other training activities.

To receive this type of subsidy, you must:

–       must be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy

–       meet the transition to work requirements

–       have a family income which is less than $7,015

–      meet each of the time limits for the transition to work activities

●    The Temporary Financial Hardship Subsidy

This subsidy is to provide extra support for families that may be experiencing extreme financial burdens.

 To be eligible for this subsidy, you must meet the following requirements:

–      must be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy

–      have experienced financial hardships due to an event that has occurred over the past six months

–      have an extremely reduced capacity to cover fees.

●    The Child Wellbeing Subsidy

The child wellbeing subsidy aims to assist families that experience financial hardship and help overcome cost barriers so kids can remain in care, thus ensuring a higher level of safety. Children who are at health risk of any type of abuse gives the family a higher rate of subsidy and more hours of subsidised childcare.

To receive this subsidy, the parent or carer must:

–      already be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy

–      be caring for a child that is at risk of abuse/neglect

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Check to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and if not, you may be eligible for other types of income support payments

How much can you receive?

●    ACCS for Grandparents

You will receive a subsidy equal to 100% of the fee charged where it is equal/below the cap, with up to 120% of the child care subsidy hourly rate cap if the fee is above the hourly rate cap (for up to 100 hours of assistance every fortnight).

●    ACCS for Transition To Work

The government will pay the lower of either 95% of the fee charged when it is equal to or below the rate cap or up to 95% of the hourly rate cap where the fee is charged above the cap. However, income must be below $69,390. The duration of how long you can receive this subsidy depends on whether you are studying, searching for a job, working or training.

●    ACCS for Temporary Financial Hardship

You will receive a subsidy equal to 100% of the fee charged where it is equal/below the cap, with up to 120% of the child care subsidy hourly rate cap if the fee is above the hourly rate cap (for up to 100 hours of assistance every fortnight). This is limited to a maximum of 13 weeks for each event.

●    ACCS for child well-being

You will receive a subsidy equal to 100% of the fee charged where it is equal/below the cap, with up to 120% of the child care subsidy hourly rate cap if the fee is above the hourly rate cap. If eligible, you will be entitled to this subsidy for up to 6 weeks.

How do you apply for ACCS?

Applying online is highly convenient and definitely the easiest way. Simply log into your MyGov account and get all your supporting documents ready to make your claim faster.

You will then need to make your application by answering all the questions and reviewing all your details to ensure it is all correct. After your claim is completed, you will receive a receipt with an ID number which is essential for any follow-ups. The result of your application will be sent to your MyGov inbox.

With the ACCS for child-well-being subsidy, the childcare provider has to make a claim on your behalf. You will need to get in contact with your child care service for more information on this.

What supporting documents are required?

Each of the different subsidy types has different supporting documents requirements:

●    ACCS for Grandparents

Sufficient documentation will need to be submitted to prove you or your partner’s relationship with the child. Evidence includes: a custody order, parenting plan, birth certificates of your own children and their children and more.

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You will also need to prove that you make the day-to-day decisions for the child. This can be done by submitting a family law order, custody order, court order or a few other recognised documents. For a more detailed overview of the accepted documents, visit the Services Australia grandparents page

●    ACCS for Transition To Work

If you apply for this type of subsidy, you will need to present: proof of enrolment into the course, proof of progression, evidence of paid/unpaid work (from employers), setting up business documents, training and evidence of job search.

For a more detailed overview of the accepted documents, visit the transition to work page HERE.

●    ACCS for Temporary Financial Hardship

The documents you provide as evidence to be eligible for this subsidy must prove that a detrimental event took place within the last six months. Additionally, you must also show that you have a significant reduction in your capacity to pay childcare fees because of the incident.

For a more detailed overview of the accepted documents, visit the Services Australia temporary financial hardship page. 

●    ACCS for child wellbeing

Childcare services will need to claim this subsidy on your behalf. Speak to your childcare service for more support and guidance.

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If you’re receiving any type of income support payment, make sure you always update Centrelink when your circumstances change, to avoid overpayment which you may be billed for later.

How do you manage your ACCS payment?

Having an authorised representative to deal with your payments and update information is also a possibility. For the ACCS grandparents subsidy, there will be an annual review for eligibility since the date the application was approved.

For more information about managing payments, the following page will be helpful.

What happens if you have a change of circumstances?

If you do have a change in circumstance, the provider may decide that you are no longer eligible, then Centrelink will be notified, and the ACCS will end. However, the family may be permitted to receive the regular Child Care Subsidy. You must always notify Centrelink if you have a change in circumstances to avoid being overpaid and then billed in the future.

Conclusion

The Additional Child Care Subsidy is an initiative by the Australian Government to support families who may need extra help with childcare fees. Eligibility for the subsidy depends on several factors, and families must meet the specific criteria to receive the payment. Furthermore, families must submit supporting documents to prove that they are genuinely in need of support.

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