Child benefit 2020: more money, amount, requirement and application

What is child benefit? Who gets it?

In Germany, child benefit is used to support parents or as basic security for children and is known as a so-called compensation payment. Parents are entitled to payment from the month of birth of the first child. The essentials in brief:

  • Child benefit requires a one-time application after the child is born
  • Child benefit is available until the age of 18, up to the age of 25 when the child is completing an apprenticeship / study
  • Child benefit amount from July 2019 per month: 204 euros for the first and second child, 210 euros for the third and 235 euros from the fourth
  • Income-independent benefit, but offset against child allowance

An application must be submitted in advance. In addition to child benefit, the child allowance can also become relevant if a certain income limit is reached.

Child benefit amount from 2019 until the end of 2020

Child benefit is fundamentally per month paid in the following amount:

  • for the first and second child 204 euros each
  • for the third child 210 euros
  • From the fourth child 235 euros each

To the child benefit calculator

Parents should be pleased that the child benefit for January 1st 2018 was raised and grew by at least two euros. This is by no means the only child benefit increase in recent years, and the amount has already been increased by two euros in 2017. From the July 01, 2019 there will also be another increase, with which parents receive a full ten euros more per month. The child allowance has already been adjusted accordingly and increased from EUR 7,428 to EUR 7,620. Below we have listed a table in which the child benefit amount of the past years and in 2019 until the end of 2020 can be seen.

2017 2018 2019 2020
1st + 2nd child 192 euros 194 euros 204 euros 204 euros
3rd child 198 euros 200 euros 210 euros 210 euros
from the 4th child 223 euros 225 euros 235 euros 235 euros

Tip: Our child benefit calculator can be used to calculate the amount of child benefit for your own household.

Who is entitled to child benefit?

As a rule, all parents or legal guardians (e.g. grandparents or foster parents) who live or live in Germany receive child benefit. Only one person can receive child benefit for each child. In the case of parents living together, the relevant parent is specified in the child benefit application. If the parents live separately, the child benefit is paid to the parent with whom the child mostly lives. A written application precedes this claim, however, and the amount is then paid out automatically. It is important to note that the right to child benefit depends on the age or level of education of the child:

The essentials in brief:

  • Up to the age of 18: All children are entitled to child benefit
  • 18 – 21 year old: Children without employment who are registered as looking for work
  • 18 – 25 year old: Children in an apprenticeship, study or voluntary service, children in the transition period between graduation and training or beginning of studies
  • From the age of 25: Claim for disabled children

Entitlement up to the age of 18

If the child has not yet reached the age of majority, eligible parents are generally entitled to child benefit. From the time the child is born. The respective month always applies. If, for example, the offspring see the light of day on November 25th, the child benefit for the entire month of November will already be paid out. The payment is then made monthly. Upon reaching the age of majority, child benefit is only available if the following conditions are met:

Child benefit entitlement from the age of 18

If the child has reached the age of 18, the legislature differentiates between different cases.

Up to the age of 21

If child benefit registers the child as unemployed, but with an employment agency as job seeker, child benefit continues to be paid. In this case, evidence of job search must be provided regularly (every 3 months). The entitlement also applies if the unemployment registration is in an EU country, a country in the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

Until the age of 25

If the child is in an apprenticeship, a course of study or also in a voluntary service, there is still a right to child benefit. If the child temporarily suspends training due to illness or maternity, the payment runs of child benefit generally continue. Child benefits will continue to be paid for up to 4 months for transition periods after graduation or a forced break. Examples of this are times between graduation and vocational training / studies. Children of full age who have completed their training or have completed their studies are entitled to this if they are doing "harmless gainful employment". This includes, for example, gainful employment during in-company training, marginal employment or if the regular weekly working hours do not exceed 20 hours. A special case is also when the child is unable to show employment and is making intensive efforts to train. Evidence must be provided, for example in the form of applications.

After the age of 25

At the age of 25, there is only child benefit for children in school or vocational training / studies, if they were working as development workers or have performed the basic military or community service (until July 2011). Disabled children who cannot maintain themselves due to a physical, mental or mental disability continue to receive child benefit. The entitlement exists if the child cannot use the available financial means to cover his or her living needs (income below the basic allowance). The disability must have been determined before the age of 25. When the child marries, the spouse provides maintenance and the right to child benefit expires (see Az .: III B 93/16)

How to apply for child benefit

Even though generally all parents of children in the Federal Republic are entitled to child benefit from the month of birth, this is not automatically transferred by the family funds. Instead, an application is required, which must be submitted in writing and which can easily be called up on our website. You only have to submit the application once. The child benefit is then transferred monthly without further applications. Further reports to the family fund are only necessary if your place of residence should change or your child has completed vocational training.

It is important to note that child benefit should be applied for as soon as possible after the birth. The application takes a certain amount of time, around four to six weeks should be planned here. Parents should also note that the tax identification number must be submitted with the application. This is required by law, so that double payments of child benefit can be avoided. In general, it is certainly good to know that child benefit retrospectively for a period of six months can be paid.

  1. Open and download the form of for the child benefit application
  2. Specify required data
  3. Submit child benefit application by post

Child benefit reference period

How long, or up to what age, the family funds pay out the child benefit varies. The child benefit is transferred from the month from which the child sees the light of day. The payment is then made monthly. Without further forms or applications, child benefit is paid up to the age of 18 in any case if the child has been in his own household for so long. Special regulations apply from the age of 18. Child benefit can be drawn up to the child’s 21st year of life if the child is unemployed but has been registered as a job seeker with a job agency. Child allowance can be drawn up to the age of 25 if the child is in training, studying or doing voluntary service. If none of these apply, it must be demonstrated that the child is trying to find such a position. Such regulations do not apply to disabled children; they receive child benefit regardless of their professional status or age.

When is there child benefit??

When the child benefit is paid out in 2019 depends on which child benefit number or final digit of the child benefit number applies to your own offspring. This is determined by the family fund and at the same time defines the times for child benefit payments. Specifically, this means that with the final digits 0 and 1, a payment can be expected at the beginning of the month. With increasing final digits, the payment dates are then delayed, so that final digits 8 and 9 receive child benefits at the end of the month. If you would like more detailed information about the payment of child benefit, you can do so with the help of our overview of child benefit payment dates. And even determine the exact times for your payment here.

What is the child supplement?

The child supplement (KiZ) is an additional form of support from the family fund or the state. The decisive factor here is a respective maximum amount that is calculated individually for a family. If the parents do not exceed this maximum amount, but at the same time reach a minimum wage (600 euros for single parents, 900 euros for couples), the KiZ will be paid. This supplement is intended to ensure that the child’s basic security is in place, even if the child has to obtain Hartz IV from the child. However, the child supplement is not always granted in parallel with the child benefit, but usually for a period of six months. It should also be noted that this surcharge is not paid if the parents receive unemployment benefit II and social assistance, but cannot show any further income. In this case, only child benefit is paid.

Child benefit or child allowance?

When supporting parents, child allowance is always considered first. In fact, the German state also provides a possible alternative for parents with the so-called child allowance. This is generally interesting if a corresponding income can be shown. In this case, the tax office then grants benefits that can be more worthwhile for parents than the payment of child benefit. Good to know: At the end of the year, the tax office automatically carries out a favorable assessment as part of the income tax return, which then determines which route is more suitable for the parents. A rule of thumb says that the child allowance is worthwhile if an annual taxable income of

  • approx. 34,000 euros for single people
  • approx. 64,000 euros for married people

is exceeded. It should be noted here that an application for child benefit must also be made if the child allowance is desired. If child benefit has already been paid out, this will be taken into account at the end of the year and offset against the corresponding child allowance. The current child allowance is EUR 7,620 and was raised on January 1, 2019.

Children of legal age: what to consider?

Various conditions must be met for the child benefit to be paid continuously for children of legal age. Parents, for example, generally only receive child benefit from the child’s 18th year of life if the child is in training or studying. Special cases also form a voluntary service or a social year. In these cases, child benefit is paid up to the age of 25. If the child is not in employment, child benefit can be claimed up to the age of 21 if the child is registered as a job seeker with the Federal Employment Agency. In some cases, the payment can even continue until the age of 25, but it must then be proven that the child has made intensive efforts to find a job, apprenticeship or study place. Parents of disabled children do not have to observe any special requirements or framework conditions even when they are 18 years old. If the disability occurred before the age of 25, the child benefit is paid beyond the age of 25 under certain conditions.


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Christina Cherry
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