Child benefit for children of legal age

Under certain circumstances, child benefit can also be paid for an adult child. In this case, the parents usually have to make a new application for child benefit. Because by default, child benefit is only paid for children up to the age of 18. For a payment beyond this age, special requirements must be met. An extended child benefit for children of legal age is particularly possible if the child:

  • a school or vocational training, a internship or completed a degree
  • cannot complete an apprenticeship because no apprenticeship position was available
  • is unemployed
  • does a federal voluntary service or a similar service
  • is in the transition period between two training phases
  • is unable to support himself due to a disability

The cases for an extended child benefit payment beyond the child’s 18th year and the corresponding requirements are explained in more detail below.

Child benefit for a child in training

If the adult child is in an apprenticeship for a future profession, child benefit can still be paid – however, up to the age of 25. The training must be geared towards a specific professional goal. This is the case if the training is accompanied by the acquisition of skills and knowledge that are suitable as a basis for the subsequent pursuit of the intended profession. The professional goal can in principle be geared to any conceivable activity that will serve as the child’s earning base in the future and can be carried out for a fee.

In order for child benefit training to be taken into account, it must be carried out seriously. The apprenticeship must create an obvious reference to the intended professional goal through a corresponding amount of time and manpower. The seriousness of attendance and attendance at schools must be clearly demonstrated due to the attendance requirement. In the case of studying, where attendance is not always absolutely necessary, the family fund can request evidence that the training is being followed up seriously. This must then be documented in the form of proof of performance, the so-called certificates.

The following cases count as training:

  • School education at a general, vocational or private school where teaching is carried out according to or approved by state-approved curricula
  • Training in a job-related training relationship or in a state-recognized training occupation
  • Studied at a university or college
  • Internship, provided knowledge and skills are imparted that are suitable for the desired profession
  • Language stay abroad if this takes place at an institution recognized for vocational training (e.g. a general school or university)

Children of legal age without an apprenticeship

Child allowance can be paid for a child who is over 18 years old but has not yet reached the age of 25 and does not have an apprenticeship. The prerequisite for this is that the child wants to start or continue an apprenticeship, but cannot because of the lack of an apprenticeship position. This is especially the case if

  • despite serious efforts, the child has not found an apprenticeship. These serious efforts must be proven or credible. Evidence can be provided, for example, by written applications including the cancellation of training positions.
  • the child was promised an apprenticeship position, but this can only take up the place later for organizational reasons (e.g. at the beginning of the company apprenticeship year).
  • the child is listed as an applicant for an apprenticeship or for another educational measure at the employment agency.
  • the child intends to apply for an apprenticeship as soon as possible – for example for a study place within the next application period.

Incidentally, there is no lack or lack of training places if the child does not meet the requirements for the respective training place.

Children volunteering

If a child of legal age who has not yet reached the age of 25 does regular voluntary service, the child is still entitled to child benefit. The regulated voluntary services include, for example, a voluntary ecological year, a voluntary social year or a federal voluntary service. Those interested can obtain more information from the family health insurance.

Child benefit for adult children without a job

There is a right to child benefit for a child of full age up to the age of 21 if the child unemployed is, i.e. is not in an employment relationship and at the same time is registered as a job seeker with an employment agency. Evidence that the child is registered as seeking work is issued by the Employment Agency in the form of a certificate. This must be presented to the responsible family fund.

Children between two training periods

A child under the age of 25 is entitled to child benefit if there is a transition period between two stages of training (e.g. between the general education school) and the in-company training). Also considered are cases in which the child is in a transition period between a training phase and the performance of a regulated voluntary service or voluntary military service. The child benefit will continue to be paid for a maximum transition period of 4 months.

Adult children with disabilities

Under certain circumstances, children of full age with a disability are entitled to child benefit beyond the child’s 25th birthday. This is the case if the child is unable to make a living due to physical, mental or mental disabilities and if the disability occurred before the age of 25. If the child is able to make a living in spite of his or her existing disability, there is no entitlement to child benefit for this child beyond the usual age limits.


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Christina Cherry
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