News & Resources
31 Oct 2019

Understanding the Child Care Cost Estimator


In our previous article on How Much Is the Child Care Rebate in Australia, we outlined what the Care Subsidy (CSS) is and how this financial assistance can help your family. 

We explained that the amount of Child Care Subsidy your family is entitled to depend on three key requirements — your combined family income, your activity level over a fortnight and the amount of child care fees you pay.

With many variables involved in those three key requirements, it may appear tricky to figure out what amount of Child Care Subsidy your family is entitled to. Fortunately, there is a handy Child Care Subsidy Calculator to help you out.

Child Care Subsidy (CCS) Estimator

The CSS Calculator has been developed to help you estimate your possible Child Care Subsidy payment, as well as your potential out-of-pocket costs when using approved child care services.

This estimator also allows you to see how a change in circumstances or a change to your family income could affect your payments. For example, an extra day of work each week. The estimation of your child care subsidy amount is based on the required information you provide.

Try the child care subsidy calculator

Tip: The details you enter into the calculator and your final estimation are not stored so you may want to save or print your results.

Child Care Cost Estimator Examples

Often, when juggling facts and figures, it’s clearer to see them as an example. Below is an example of a family case study to show how the child care subsidy calculator estimated their final amount.

To recap the different key requirements, view our easy-to-read tables on the child care subsidy rates for your annual family income and the maximum number of subsidy hours you can claim based on your activity level. 


Case Study: Two Parents — Both in Full-Time Work

Louise and Robert both work full time and have a combined family income of $140, 000 per annum. They have one child who attends long day care five days a week.

Based on their activity test (more than 48 hours), the family is entitled to a maximum of 50 subsidised hours per week. This is perfect as it matches the number of hours they currently use for their child.

Based on their combined family income bracket, the family is entitled to an approximate subsidy rate of 50-85% of the child care fee (or the hourly rate cap — whichever is lower). While this is a scale percentage decided on by the Government, we’ll set it at 65% for the purpose of this example.

At $110 a day for up to 10 hours of care, the child’s day care hourly rate is $11 which is cheaper than the hourly rate cap for long daycare at $11.98. $110 a day x five days = $550 a week. 

Therefore, 65% x 550 = 35750. Louise and Robert’s child care subsidy entitlement is $357.50 per week. Next, 5% is withheld until the end-of-year reconciliation which reduces the likelihood of overpayment. This decreases their weekly subsidy to $339.63.

Tip: Families can change their withholding percentage online up to twice a year. View this factsheet for more information.

This means that the Government will pay their child care provider $339.63 a week and Louise and Robert will pay $210.38 a week out of their own pocket. Providing that their lifestyle and child care circumstances don’t change, Louise and Robert will receive that 5% back ($192.50) after the end of year reconciliation.

Of course, your own estimate will change depending on your lifestyle and child care circumstances. Perhaps you’re a single parent or one parent doesn’t work. You may have a low income or only use child care occasionally. No matter what your situation is, the calculator is an estimate of what amount of subsidy you can expect to receive. However, please keep in mind that you will receive a more accurate amount once you apply for assistance.

Our Family Support Consultants at Lifelong Learning Centres are happy to answer your questions about the Child Care Subsidy. Call 1800 CHILD CARE for more information. 

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