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Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship)

Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship) is designed to provide short-term support to families who are experiencing significant financial stress due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. This will help ensure continuity of care for the child and ensure that families are provided with support when they need it most.

To be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship), an individual must:

  • be eligible for Child Care Subsidy
  • be assessed as experiencing temporary financial hardship, for circumstances that occurred no more than six months before the application is made
  • have had a substantial reduction in their ability to pay child care fees as a direct result of the temporary financial hardship circumstance.

Eligible families will receive a subsidy equal to the actual fee charged, up to 120 per cent of the Child Care Subsidy hourly rate cap, for up to 100 hours per fortnight. The eligible individual (or their partner) will not have to meet activity test requirements. This support will be provided for a maximum of 13 weeks per event.

An individual is taken to be experiencing temporary financial hardship if they have had a substantial reduction in their ability to pay child care fees due to any of the following:

  • the death of a partner or child of the individual
  • a loss of employment of the individual, or a partner of the individual, other than due to their resignation or retirement
  • a loss of income or business failure of the individual, or a partner of the individual, due to circumstances outside the control of the individual or the partner (such as serious illness)
  • a loss of income of the individual, due to the death of a former partner, where the former partner was providing ongoing financial assistance in relation to the child under child support arrangements
  • the individual, or a partner of the individual, being adversely affected by a major disaster event
  • the destruction of, or severe damage to, the home of the individual, or of a partner of the individual
  • the individual having to leave home, and not being able to return because of an extreme circumstance, or
  • the individual still living at home after being subjected to domestic violence by a family member who has left or has been removed from the home.

Individuals will need to provide evidence to demonstrate there is a link between the circumstances they are experiencing and the financial hardship (including evidence of a substantial reduction in their ability to pay child care fees). Evidence will also need to show that the circumstance or event occurred within six months from the date the application was made.

In some cases, more than one of these circumstances may affect a family at the same time, increasing and compounding the hardship that that family is facing. Individuals can nominate one or more circumstances that have led to their situation of temporary financial hardship.

Information for families

Where a family shares information with a provider about difficult circumstances that are impacting on their ability to pay fees, which may fall into the circumstances listed above, the provider can encourage the family to contact Centrelink.

The provider is not directly involved in the application process but will be notified if Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship) is approved for a child enrolled in their service.

Centrelink may also be able to provide advice on other support and assistance based on the family's circumstances.

The evidence required to support an application may include but is not limited to:

  • independent documentation such as a letter from an employer (for loss of job), or from an independent professional
  • a statutory declaration from the individual outlining the nature of the temporary hardship event
  • a natural disaster event that has been formally declared and where the families concerned would be eligible for disaster assistance
  • medical or death certificates.

The evidence provided will need to demonstrate that the individual has had a substantial reduction in their ability to pay child care fees as a result.

An application for this type of Additional Child Care Subsidy is made by the family directly to Centrelink through their Centrelink online account. Centrelink will assess the application and advise the provider if Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship) is to be paid.