Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the waiting list for subsidized child care?
Waiting list times vary, and usually are at least several months long. As of October 2012, when additional funding is available, the next families to be offered funding applied in April 2012. We expect that the wait for funding will be at least 6 months and possibly longer.
How much will I have to pay when I get subsidized child care?
A family’s weekly copayment (fee) for child care is based on the family’s total gross income (before taxes and deduction are taken out) and number of people in the family. Pennsylvania uses a scale called the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines to determine who is eligible and how much a family should pay. Certain deductions such as very high, ongoing medical expenses and child support paid out can be deducted.
Once the CCIS has all of your verifications, we will determine how much your copayment is. Changes in your income will affect your copayment, so it is important to report changes promptly. This may mean you will pay less.
The copayment is for the family, no matter how many children are in child care. Sometimes if the family’s copayment is high, such as $50 or more, it will be split between the children who are receiving subsidy, but it is still a family copayment.
When a family begins receiving subsidy, the parents must pay their copayment to the child care program every week. Not paying your copayment on time may mean that you lose your subsidy or that your provider will not provide care.
How many hours do I have to work to get subsidy?
Parents or guardians must work at least 20 hours per week, or if hours vary, must average at least 20 hours over a 4 week period of time. Parents who are enrolled in school or training may work fewer hours, but no less than 10, as long as the total of work and school equals 20 hours.
Can I get subsidy if I go to college?
Yes, but you still must work at least 10 hours per week (or average 10 hours/week over a 4 week period). The combination of work and school must equal at least 20 hours/week.
You can use child care during the time you work or go to school or both, depending on what you need. You cannot use subsidized child care for study time.
If you receive cash assistance (TANF) or food stamps, you may qualify for subsidy during the hours you are in training. Talk with your caseworker at the County Assistance Office about this.
What if my husband works and I go to school?
Each parent still must work at least 10 hours per week (or average 10 hours over a 4 week period), and each parent must have at least a total of 20 hours per week of school and work combined.
What if I get a raise after I’m getting subsidy?
Any increases in your income will not affect your copayment or your eligibility until your next redetermination which are done every six months. If your income is still within the state guidelines, your funding will continue although your copayment may increase. If you are no longer eligible, you will get written notice that your funding will end.
Do I have to report changes before my redetermination is done?
Yes, parents are required to report changes in address, family members, and employment information within 10 days of the change. If you lose your job, get a new job, change your hours or days of work, become disabled, have a new baby, move in with your child’s other parents, move, or anything else that could affect your eligibility, you must report that to your caseworker. If you don’t report changes promptly, you may be charged with overpayment of subsidy or with welfare fraud. If you’re not sure if you should report a change or not, it is best to report it and your caseworker will tell you if the information is needed.
Is court-ordered child support required for a family to get subsidy?
At this time, court ordered child support is not required for child care subsidy, although it is for other government programs. Any income, whether it is court ordered support or voluntary child support, must be reported and documented. Voluntary child support is any money that a parent receives from the other parent to help with a child’s expenses.
If I live with my boyfriend, do I have to include his income?
If the boyfriend (or girlfriend) is the child’s parent, that person’s income must be included and that person must meet the work/training requirements. Failing to report that a parent is in the home is considered welfare fraud. If the boyfriend (or girlfriend) is not the parent, that person is not required to be included in the family for the subsidy program.
I work overnight. Can I use child care so I can sleep during the day?
Yes, parents can request child care for sleep time if their work shift ends at midnight or after, up until 9AM.
If I apply for subsidized child care on-line (or if I do my redetermination on-line), do I need to send paperwork in?
Yes! Applying or doing your redetermination on-line is just the first step in applying for or reviewing your eligibility for subsidized child care. The CCIS is required to have documentation such as the employment verification form and paystubs of your eligibility in a file.
What is the age cut off for getting subsidized child care?
Children are eligible for subsidized child care until the day after the child’s 13th birthday. If the child is disabled and requires supervision, an exception may be made with a letter from the child’s doctor.
Can a family member be my child care provider?
A family member can be the child care provider as long as that person does not live in the same home with the child. A biological parent cannot be paid as a child care provider no matter where he/she lives.
Can I have my children at different providers?
Yes. Parents can choose a different provider for each child if they want. Generally the family copayment is paid to the provider who cares for the youngest child.
Do I have to tell my provider in advance/give notice if I want to change providers?
Most providers expect advance notice of a week or in some cases, two weeks. If a parent fails to give notice, the provider may pursue the cost of care for that period. However, subsidy may be transferred at any point after the parent calls the CCIS to notify them of the need for a change of provider. Subsidy usually cannot be transferred in the past, only the future.