Child benefit entitlement – all important information

In principle, regardless of income, all families are entitled to child benefit for all minor children who live in their household and who provide for them regularly. Which includes not only their biological children, but also foster children, grandchildren or stepchildren. Grandparents or step-parents are entitled to child benefit if they have taken the grandchild or stepchild into your household. For the entitlement to child benefit, it is assumed that the place of residence of the caring parents is in Germany, a country of the European Union (EU) or in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Multiple beneficiaries

Child benefit is only paid to one authorized person for each child. So if the child lives in the parents’ shared household, the parents must determine which parent should receive the child benefit. This is also called the eligibility determination. This gives parents the opportunity to designate the parent to be entitled to child benefit, who may be entitled to a higher child benefit.

In the event that the child for whom child benefit is requested lives in a separate household and is self-sufficient, the child benefit can also be paid directly to the child. However, if the child receives maintenance from their parents with their own household, the child who pays maintenance is entitled to child benefit. In the event that there are several maintenance providers, the person who pays the highest maintenance is entitled to child benefit. The same applies if the child is accommodated in a youth welfare measure instead of in a separate household. If both parents pay the same amount of maintenance, the parents can determine among themselves who of them should receive child benefit.

Diversion of child benefit

If someone branches off the child benefit, i.e. wants to receive it in the future, a branch application must be submitted to the responsible family fund. The application must be made in writing and is only valid with a signature. The family fund provides a form for the application.
Incidentally, the amount of the diversion can differ from the child benefit amount for the respective child, since it is calculated as follows: Total child benefit for all children divided by the total number of children.

Disbursement to another person or authority

If a person entitled to child benefit does not provide his child with sufficient support, or can not do so the family fund Pay the child benefit for the respective child to other people or authorities – to the person or authority that actually maintains the child. One then speaks of the so-called diverted child benefit. The child benefit can also be diverted to the child himself under the above conditions of insufficient maintenance. Maintenance is considered insufficient if it is less than the amount of the child benefit.

Duration of child benefit entitlement

Parents receive child benefits up to the age of 18 of the respective child if they are entitled to this. The entitlement exists for every month in which the eligibility requirements were met on at least one day. So if a child on May 31. child allowance can be applied for for the full month of May. The paying out child benefit usually ends at the end of the month in which the child turns 18.

Child benefit entitlement for adult children

For children over the age of 18, there may be an extended entitlement under certain circumstances and child benefit may continue to be paid. Child benefits for children who are unemployed can continue to be paid until they are 21 years of age. An even longer payment is possible for children who are in training. Child benefit can still be paid here until the child reaches the age of 25. The training must be geared towards a specific professional goal. Training includes attending general education schools, (technical) universities and completing in-company training.

The child benefit will only be paid beyond the age of 18 if proof of school or company training or study at the family fund is provided and the child benefit is requested again.

In principle, child benefit can be paid up to the age of 25 at the longest. There is a special case when applying for child benefit for a child with a disability. For a disabled child, parents can receive child benefit without a child’s age limit. Further information on child benefit for children with disabilities.


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Christina Cherry
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