One of the reasons why Australia is fast becoming a popular choice for Filipino migrants is because it is incredibly family-friendly. In the Philippines, part of the reason why many young professionals hold off on having children is because arranging for their proper care can be quite expensive. You would need to hire a midwife, a nanny, and perhaps even a private tutor or two later on to help your kids with their studies.
While it does indeed take an entire village to raise a child, the Australian government at least helps you pay for that village. Apart from the Child Care Benefit, which assists citizens with child care costs like vacation care, preschool and kindergarten, among other things, there’s also the Child Care Rebate.
Related post: Understanding How Child Care Rebate Works
Now, before you avail of the Child Care Rebate, you first need to claim your Child Care Benefit, which you can do through using childcare services approved by the Australian government, such as licensed day care centers, for instance. While the Child Care Benefit decreases the amount of money paid to approved or registered carers, the Child Care Rebate helps out with about half of the expenses involved in sending your child to the said carers.
So, what are the ways in which you can receive your Child Care Rebate? They are as follows:
Annually. This option is available to you if you also claim your Child Care Benefit as an annual, lump-sum payment. Once your claims for the benefit and the rebate are approved, both payments will be deposited to your bank account of choice.
Do note that you need to submit your lump-sum claim for your Child Care Benefit before the end of the period (i.e., financial year) that you wish to claim it for.
Quarterly. Child Care Rebates can also be credited to your bank account of choice every quarter or every thirteen (13) weeks. Under the financial year, the first quarter always begins on the first Monday of July. You can thus expect rebate payments every October, January, and April.
Payments are made to you for the last quarter if you still have some outstanding benefits of rebates at the end of the financial year. As of this writing, the ongoing quarterly rebate period will be until 3 July 2016. You can expect the rebate for that period to come in from 27 July 2016 onwards if you opted to receive quarterly payments.
If the payment period for a certain quarter arrives, and you did not receive your rebate within a week of it, you may call 136 150 to follow up.
Fortnightly (Every two weeks). Depending on how often your chosen child care service provider sends attendance reports to the government, you can receive your rebate every two weeks or even weekly. The rebate is usually credited to your nominated bank account after each attendance report is received and processed.
If you are currently receiving your Child Care Benefit at a rate greater than zero percent and you are availing of your Child Care Rebate fortnightly, fifteen percent of your total entitlement will be withheld during the financial year. You will, instead, receive the said fifteen percent after the end of the financial year after all your payments have been balanced.
Directly to your child care service provider. As with fortnightly rebates, Child Care Rebates that are directly paid to your child care service provider will be forwarded whenever the government receives your child’s attendance reports.
The rebate you are entitled to will simply be deducted from your total child care fees if you go for this option.
Again, as with fortnightly or weekly rebate payments, fifteen percent of your total entitlement will be withheld during the financial year. Your outstanding entitlements will, of course, be given after the end of the financial year once your payments have been balanced.
A Few More Reminders
Once you choose a payment method, that will apply for the entire financial year. You cannot choose another one until the beginning of the next financial year, save for highly exceptional cases.
You can change your preferred payment method for the next financial year by logging on to your Centrelink online account through myGov between the months of April and June.
When you enroll your child into a Childcare Benefit-approved service, you will need to provide them with the following information:
Your Customer Reference Number* and your date of birth;
Your child’s Customer Reference Number and date of birth.
This enables the childcare service provider to formalize your enrollment into the program and to send regular attendance reports to the government. This, in turn, aids the latter in assessing whether you are entitled to benefits and rebates and for how much.
*Customer Reference Numbers are generated once you transact with the Australian Department of Human Services (ADHS), such as when you apply for Childcare Benefits or make a claim for family assistance. You can usually find your Customer Reference Number on any of the letters sent to you by the ADHS while you can find your child’s Customer Reference Number on your Centrelink online account.