Child benefit surcharge 2019 – amount, application and maximum income limit

The child benefit surcharge, which is often referred to as the child surcharge in the official German, is a state transfer payment for parents with low incomes. The child allowance or child allowance was introduced as part of Agenda 2010 on January 1, 2005 as a supplementary measure to the Hartz IV Act. It is intended to prevent low-income families with children from falling into unemployment benefit II. The child supplement according to § 6a of the Federal Child Allowance Act (BKGG) can be up to 185 euros per month per child. The amount of the child benefit supplement was last adjusted upwards in mid-2019. The Starke Familiengesetz increased the child benefit surcharge by 15 as of July 1, 2019, so that the maximum amount increased from EUR 170 to EUR 185 per child per month.

Who gets child benefit surcharge?

The Child benefit surcharge 2019 In contrast to child benefit, not all parents get in Germany. But who gets child allowance? The payment of the child supplement is in principle linked to the child benefit entitlement. If the entitlement to child benefit ceases, no child supplement is paid. While the child benefit is paid to all parents regardless of the amount of income, the child supplement is linked to certain income limits.

The child benefit supplement is only intended for families with low incomes to prevent them from slipping into Hartz VI or unemployment benefit II. That is why there is both an income ceiling and an income ceiling for the child supplement. Only if the gross income of the parents is between this lower income limit and the upper income limit can parents apply for the child supplement in 2019. The lower limit is 900 euros for parents or 600 euros for single parents. If the gross income is below this limit, you will not receive a child supplement. As a result, parents who receive Hartz IV or unemployment benefit II cannot apply for a child benefit surcharge.

Maximum income limit for child supplement

Nor can their gross income exceed the maximum income limit so that parents are entitled to the child benefit. However, the maximum income limit has no fixed value, but must be calculated individually for each family. The maximum income limit is calculated based on the Hartz IV standard rates and the housing benefit that the family would be entitled to if they received unemployment benefit II. In addition to income from self-employed and non-self-employment, the income of the family to be taken into account includes compensation payments such as unemployment or sickness benefit, parental benefits, Childcare allowance, pensions from social security, but also interest and income from renting and leasing. In contrast, child benefit and housing benefit do not count towards the income to be taken into account. If you want to calculate whether your family meets the requirements for paying the child benefit surcharge, we recommend that you use the child surcharge check on the website of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Seniors, Women and Youth.

Amount of the child supplement

The child allowance was last raised on July 1, 2019. Since then, the child supplement has been up to 185 euros per month for each child. This is the maximum amount that low-income families can receive as a supplement. Depending on the wealth and income of the parents, the amount of the child benefit surcharge may also be lower. If the assessment base is exceeded, the child surcharge is reduced accordingly and only paid pro rata for each child. The child supplement is also reduced if the child has his own income or receives benefits such as maintenance or an orphan’s pension. For example, if the child has an income of 60 euros, only a maximum of 125 euros child benefit surcharge will be paid to the parents.

Submit an application for a child benefit supplement to the family fund

The child benefit subsidy is not paid out automatically, but must first be applied for by the parents. The application for a child benefit supplement must be submitted to the local family funds. In principle, the application for a child supplement must be made in writing. At a To apply for a child allowance, parents must also provide information about their own income and assets so that the family fund can check whether the income requirements for the child allowance have been met. Until the end of 2007, the child supplement was paid for a maximum of 36 months. This time limit was lifted in 2008. When applying for a child benefit surcharge, it should be noted that, unlike child benefit, the child surcharge cannot be applied for retrospectively. With child benefit, on the other hand, parents can still apply for it for up to four years.

Tip: If you have any further questions about applying for the child benefit surcharge, you can contact the family health insurers on the free telephone number 0800/455 55 30.

Child benefit vs. children’s allowance

All parents who are entitled to the child benefit surcharge in 2019 will of course also receive child benefit. The family allowance is then paid out by the family funds together with the child benefit on the same date. The child supplement is usually always transferred to the parent, who also receives the child benefit from the family fund. In contrast to the child benefit surcharge, which is tied to a certain lower and upper income limit, child benefit is paid to all parents regardless of the amount of income. The amount of child benefit depends on the number of children in the family. For the first child and the second child there has been child benefit of EUR 204 per month since July 1, 2019. For the third child to get Parents then already paid 210 euros a month from the family fund. For the fourth child and all other children there is even a child benefit of EUR 235 per month.

While the child supplement is regulated as a social benefit by the Federal Child Allowance Act, the legal basis for child benefit as a tax compensation payment goes back to the Income Tax Act (EStG). As an alternative to child benefit, parents can also take advantage of the tax-free child allowance in accordance with Section 32 of the Income Tax Act.

Education package to support low-income families

As a supplement to the child supplement, the state also offers the low-income family benefits from the so-called education package, which is also referred to as "education and participation benefits" in official German. These benefits are available to all parents who have been granted the child benefit surcharge by the family fund. This includes the so-called school supplies package. This is a designated cash benefit with which necessary school materials such as satchels, sports equipment and writing, arithmetic and drawing materials are to be purchased. The amount made available as part of the school supplies package for the purchase of school supplies was increased from July 1, 2019 by the Starke Familiengesetz from EUR 100 to EUR 150 per school year. Furthermore, children from low-income families will be provided with a budget of 15 euros per month as part of the education package in 2019, for example for participation in music lessons, membership in clubs in the areas of sport, games, culture and socializing, can be used for museum visits or cultural education activities. On request, the state also assumes the costs for class trips, multi-day school trips and measures to promote learning.


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Christina Cherry
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