Help with childcare costs
A Childcare Subsidy can help with the costs of childcare while you're studying. The OSCAR (Out of School Care and Recreation) Subsidy can help cover the costs of care outside of school for school age children. There are also other forms of assistance.
On this page:
How to Apply
When you check what you can get, you will find out if you are entitled to Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR Subsidy, and can apply online.
If you can't apply online, download the Childcare and OSCAR Subsidy application form, from the Work and Income website.
General Childcare Subsidy criteria
A Childcare Subsidy can help pay childcare costs for children under 5 (or under 6 if you get a Child Disability Allowance for the child).You may be able to get up to 50 hours a week for each child while you're studying on an approved course. If your partner is able to take care of the child you may only be eligible for 9 hours Childcare Subsidy a week. The child has to attend the childcare or pre-school service at least 3 hours a week.
How much you can get depends on your income and how many children you have. The payment is made directly to the childcare or pre-school service.
OSCAR – Out of School Care and Recreation
If your children are aged 5-13 years and you have a partner who is working or studying, you may be able to get an OSCAR Subsidy to help with before and after school care, and care during the school holidays on an OSCAR approved programme.
You may be able to get up to 20 hours a week, and 50 hours per week during school holidays, for each child while you're studying. The child has to attend the programme for at least 3 hours a week.
How much you can get depends on your income and how many children you have. The payment is made directly to the programme.
Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR Subsidy rates
From 27 September 2010, new applicants will have their entitlement assessed on new income thresholds. The thresholds have returned to the same levels that were applied in 2008.
If you received childcare assistance at any time from 28 September 2009 up to, and including, 26 September 2010, you will continue to have your entitlement calculated using the previous income thresholds, until no later than 27 September 2013.
Also, childcare assistance income thresholds will no longer be adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) changes on 1 April each year.
Previous Childcare Subsidy income thresholds and maximum rates:
These rates apply if you received childcare assistance in the 12 months prior to 27 September 2010.
|Number of Children||If your weekly income before tax is…||Then the Childcare Subsidy per hour, per child from 1 April 2013 is…|
|1||Less than $1,274.00||$3.93|
|$1,274.00 to $1,379.99||$2.74|
|$1,380.00 to $1,485.99||$1.52|
|$1,486.00 or more||nil|
|2||Less than $1,465.00||$3.93|
|$1,465.00 to $1,580.99||$2.74|
|$1,581.00 to $1,697.99||$1.52|
|$1,698.00 or more||nil|
|3 or more||Less than $1,634.00||$3.93|
|$1,634.00 to $1,771.99||$2.74|
|$1,772.00 to $1,909.99||$1.52|
|$1,910.00 or more||nil|
Current Childcare Subsidy income thresholds and maximum rates:
These rates apply if you did not receive childcare assistance in the 12 months prior to 27 September 2010.
|Number of children||If your weeky income before tax is...||Then the Childcare Subsidy per hour, per child from 1 April 2013 is...|
|1||Less than $1,200.00||$3.93|
|$1,200.00 to $1,299.99||$2.74|
|$1,300.00 to $1,399.99||$1.52|
|$1,400.00 or more||nil|
|2||Less than $1,380.00||$3.93|
|$1,380.00 to $1,489.99||$2.74|
|$1,490 to $1,599.99||$1.52|
|$1,600.00 or more||nil|
|3||Less than $1,540.00||$3.93|
|$1,540.00 to $1,669.99||$2.74|
|$1,670.00 to 1,799.99||$1.52|
|$1,800.00 or more||nil|
*For the latest income thresholds please go to the Working for Families website.
20 Hours Early Childhood Education
The Government funds the cost of children aged three and four attending early childhood education for up to 20 hours a week. This is up to six hours a day at any teacher-led early childhood education service offering 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (20 Hours ECE), which has a place available for the child.
The childcare subsidy may still be available to support people who need extra hours on top of 20 Hours ECE.
If you would like more information about how 20 Hours ECE and the Childcare Subsidy work together, call Work and Income on 0800 559 009. If you have specific questions about 20 Hours ECE, go to the Ministry of Education website.
Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment
The Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment helps parents aged under 18 years who need support to pay childcare costs while they attend secondary school.
This help is offered during the time the young parent is at school, and possibly also to help with childcare centre fees over the school holidays.
Payment is made to the childcare centre directly.
For more information go to the Work and Income website.