Childcare providers have been out of pocket after a Human Services Department error left them unpaid hundreds of dollars over nearly two weeks.
A government subsidy for parents, sent directly to their childcare providers, failed to arrive for about 100 Canberra- and Queanbeyan-based educators for 12 days as the department dealt with the mishap.
Childcare providers were told a department IT problem caused the delays, which left some severely short of cash and uncertain when they would be paid.
The Human Services Department said the problem started when timesheets for childcare providers were not automatically processed.
Payments arrived for providers on Monday after the department dealt with the timesheets manually.
The delay has childcare providers fuming after many spent more than a week struggling to make ends meet while remaining uncertain when they would be paid.
Queanbeyan childcare provider Leesa Schwass said she was barely able to afford groceries when payments didn't arrive.
"That's food on my table for the week," she said.
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Ms Schwass said she was on the brink of hardship before the payment arrived.
Calwell-based childcare operator Rebecca Guiren, who was missing $1000 in payments before Monday, said many providers didn't have savings to fall back on and relied on the payment each week.
The department had given no legitimate reason for why the money had been held back, she said.
"We've got a lot of educators who are single parents who rely on this money."
Communities@Work, a social enterprise sending the providers' timesheets to the Human Services Department for processing, said it used its own funds to pay childcare providers experiencing difficulty as the subsidy payments were delayed.
Ms Schwass said she received an offer from the organisation last Thursday.
Family Day Care Australia chief executive Andrew Paterson said the problem appeared to be isolated to Canberra and some providers in Queensland.
Problems with the new childcare payment system had reduced since parents reported computer glitches during the roll-out last year, he said.