Grandparents often play a key role in raising their grandchildren, but did you know that eligible grandparents may be able to receive government assistance to help with the cost of childcare too?
Want to know more? Here’s how the Grandparent Child Care Subsidy works.
The Additional Child Care Subsidy for grandparents
If you have young children, chances are you’re already familiar with the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) offered by the government to help with the cost of childcare. But did you know that there’s also additional assistance available for families who are already eligible for the CCS? Known as the Additional Child Care Subsidy, this payment provides eligible families with extra help with the cost of approved childcare.
With that said, if you’re a parent and your child is cared for by the grandparents in place of childcare, you won’t be able to claim the grandparent subsidy.
The Grandparent subsidy eligibility criteria
To receive the grandparent subsidy, all of the following criteria must apply to you or your partner:
- Be eligible for Child Care Subsidy,
- Get an income support payment,
- Be the grandparent of the child,
- Have 65% or more care of the child, and
- Make the day to day decisions about the child’s care, welfare and development.
While the term grandparent is used to describe a child’s biological grandparent or great grandparent, it also applies if you’re related to the child through any of the following:
- Step parents or former step parents,
- Artificial conception,
- De facto relationships, and
- Surrogacy arrangements.
If you have 65% or more care of the child but don’t get an income support payment, you won’t be eligible for the grandparent subsidy. With that said, you might still be eligible for the CCS and an activity test exemption.
How much assistance can grandparents get?
When it comes to the grandparent subsidy, it works a little differently from the regular CCS. The grandparent subsidy:
- Doesn’t have an annual cap,
- Isn’t subject to a withholding amount, and
- Isn’t balanced at the end of the financial year.
If you’re eligible for the grandparent subsidy, you’ll be able to access 100 hours of subsidised care each fortnight for your grandchild. Centrelink will pay either:
- 100% of the fee charged where it’s equal to or below the hourly rate cap, or
- Up to 120% of the hourly rate cap where the fee charged is above the hourly rate cap.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no time limit on how long you can get this additional subsidy. As long as you stay eligible, you’ll be able to receive this assistance.
How to apply for the grandparent subsidy
If you already get the CCS, you just need to complete 3 simple steps to apply for the grandparent subsidy. If you don’t currently get CCS for your grandchild, you’ll need to submit a claim for it online. During the process, Centrelink will ask a few questions to determine whether you’re also eligible for the grandparent subsidy. You can read more about how to claim the CCS on the Services Australia website.
To apply for the grandparent subsidy, follow these three steps:
Step 1: Get ready to apply
The easiest way to apply for the grandparent subsidy is online. To apply online, use your Centrelink online account linked to your myGov. If you don’t have a myGov account or a Centrelink online account you’ll need to follow the steps to create them.
Make sure you have your supporting documents on hand to help answer the questions in the application. These documents should provide evidence of your or your partner’s relationship to your grandchild and your percentage of care. It must also demonstrate that you make the day-to-day decisions about the child’s care, welfare and development.
Supporting documents that prove you or your partner’s relationship to the child can include:
- A family law order or custody order,
- A parenting plan or order,
- Birth certificates of your own children and their children,
- Birth and marriage certificates for step-grandparents,
- Adoption papers, or
- Artificial conception or surrogacy documents, when there isn’t an adoption.
The following documents can be used to show that you make the day to day decisions about the child’s care, welfare and development:
- A family law order,
- A custody order,
- A parenting plan or order,
- A foster care placement,
- A court order, or
- Third party documents such as a letter from school or general practitioner.
You can use a single document if it proves your relationship and the level of care you provide. These supporting documents must be provided to Centrelink within 14 days of them being requested, so it’s usually best to have them on hand when you submit your application.
Step 2: Make your application
If your Centrelink account is linked to myGov you can apply online using the following steps:
- Sign in to myGov.
- From the menu, select My Family.
- Under Childcare, select Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent) then follow the prompts to complete your application.
Step 3: After you apply
Once you submit your claim online, you’ll get a receipt listing the ID number of your application. This receipt will tell you what other documents you’ll need to provide so Centrelink can assess your application. If they need any more details they’ll ask you for them.
Once your application has been assessed, Centrelink will let you know the result of your application by sending a message to your myGov Inbox. Alternatively, if you haven’t opted to receive electronic letters, they’ll send you a letter in the mail.
Whether you’re a grandparent carer looking for a little more information about childcare or you’re a parent looking to get the grandparents involved with your little ones, Care for Kids has a huge range of resources to help you on your journey. Explore our collection of articles on getting grandparents involved in childcare. Or if you’re looking for help finding local childcare services, use our childcare search tool to find and compare providers in your area.