If you?ve ever worked from home with a toddler in tow, you?ll understand my desire to get the low down on this one.
There are days when I hear her happily chatting away to herself in the background and I forget all about the need to schedule some time exclusively for me to work.
It?s those days when she?s screaming, shaking the baby gate behind me while I try and work through some accounts or deadlines or she won?t settle for any kind of attention unless she?s on my lap typing with me that I think, yes, it might be time to revisit this idea!
The workings of the childcare benefit and childcare rebate are complicated. These two little benefits alone equate to about 35 pages in printed information. But I?ve done the reading for you to answer this burning question of ours.
What is the childcare benefit?
The childcare benefit is a payment towards the cost of approved and registered child care. The current rate payment rates are:
- $4.17 per hour or $208.50 per week for approved care
- $0.69 per hour or $34.80 per week for registered care
How does it work?
You must use approved or registered care services, be responsible for paying the childcare fees and have your child immunised.
There is an income test that applies; so if your combined household income exceeds the following STOP reading. You aren?t eligible ? skip to the childcare rebate section!
|Number of children in approved care||Income limits before your payment reduces to $0|
|3 or more||$178,023 plus $33,671 for each additional child|
If you meet the income test above, you are eligible for a benefit for up to 50 hours per child per week if you and your partner are working, looking for work, training or studying for at least 15 hours a week (or 30 hours per fortnight).
If you can?t meet this work, study, training requirement, don?t worry, all families are entitled to a benefit for up to 24 hours per child per week (so long as they meet the income test as well).
What is the childcare rebate?
The rebate is a payment to you which covers 50% of the out of pocket childcare expenses for approved child care.
Out of pocket expenses are typically total fees less childcare benefit (if you are eligible). The maximum you can get is $7,500 per child per year.
How does it work?
The childcare rebate is not income tested.
You must use approved care services, meet the eligibility criteria for childcare benefit (even if you don?t meet the income test for it) and you and your partner must meet the work, training, study test (or be exempt).
You meet the work, training, study test if you and your partner participated in any of the following activities at some time during the week in which you used child care:
- Paid work or self-employment
- Setting up a business
- Training or studying
- Looking for work
- Voluntary work to improve your skills
No minimum number of hours is required
Interestingly, you still meet the work, study, and training test if you are on:
- annual or long service leave
- sick or other paid leave
- paid or unpaid parental leave (up to 12 months maximum)
- self-employment leave
- carer payment or allowance (including leave)
- caring for a person with a disability
ANSWER: self-employment is not an issue when it comes to eligibility for the childcare benefit or childcare rebate.
For more information please visit Department of Human Services?(although I hope you won?t have to now)!