Childcare Subsidy is a payment that helps with the cost of pre-school childcare while you study.
All payments are automatically stopped when the programme you use closes for Christmas holidays and are restarted when the centre reopens.
Who can get it
You may get a Childcare Subsidy if:
- you're the main carer of a dependent child
- you're a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- you normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here
- your family is on a low or middle income.
The child must be:
- aged either:
- under 5, or
- over 5 if the school has advised they can't start until the beginning of the term straight after their 5th birthday, or
- under 6 if you get a Child Disability Allowance for them
- attending an approved early childhood programme, eg:
- kindergartens and preschools
- childcare centres and creches
- a playgroup that has been approved by Ministry of Education
- Kohanga Reo, Punanga Reo, Aoga and other programmes with a language and culture focus
- approved home-based care (eg, Porse, Barnados)
- a hospital-based education and care service
- in childcare for 3 or more hours a week.
Hours paid for
You may be able to get up to 50 hours a week if you're studying or on an approved training course.
In most cases you can't get more than 9 hours a week if the child's other parent or caregiver can care for them.
We’ll only pay for the time that a parent or caregiver is unable to care for the child, eg:
- you’re in study for 50 hours
- your partner’s working for 40 hours and has 3 hours of travel time
- we’ll pay for 43 hours of childcare.
If you get 20 hours Early Childhood Education (ECE), you can't get the Childcare Subsidy for the same hours.
How much you can get
How much you get depends on:
- the size of your family
- your income
- how many hours a week your child goes to the childcare provider.
Payments are made directly to the childcare provider and start from the date the care starts (or from the date you apply if you apply after it starts).
How to apply
You should apply at least 3 to 4 weeks before you need your payments to start.
- Complete the Childcare Subsidy application form
- Get the childcare provider to fill out their part of the form.
- Get evidence of your situation (the application form will tell you what to provide).
- Log in to Connect and upload your form and evidence.
If you're eligible, we can grant you the Childcare Subsidy from the date you first contact us, as long as you complete your application within 20 working days of that date.
If you want to keep getting childcare payments, you'll need to confirm this with us every 52 weeks.
Reviews and changes
Childcare payments are reviewed regularly. It also usually stops or is reviewed:
- the day after your course ends
- when your child reaches the age limit for the subsidy
- when your child leaves the pre-school facility or OSCAR programme
- if the child leaves your care.
You must also tell us straight away about any changes in your circumstances that could affect your payments, eg:
- if you or your partner's income changes
- if your child stops going or moves to another early childhood programme
- if there's a change in your child's attendance
- if the number of hours you (or your partner) study or work each week changes
- if the reason why you get a subsidy changes, eg your health improves or your child leaves hospital
- your child starts or stops receiving 20 Hours ECE.