Child benefit: what is mine? ☝ comprehensive guide

Child benefit: What is mine?

Children cost a lot of money. This fact is beyond question and shows up in the family finances every month. In addition, parents have to pay not only for the costs of care, such as household fees, food, drink or clothing, but also for textbooks, school trips and later training usually themselves. Since it is only fair that parents are entitled to the state Child benefit in Germany to have. It is not, as many mistakenly assume, a social benefit. No, it is rather a tax equalization, because parents sometimes have higher expenses than childless.

The child benefit is intended for the basic care of the children from birth and will be paid for a few years even after reaching the age of majority. It is paid by the family funds, but as mentioned above, it is not social assistance, so everyone can take this money and use it to provide basic care for their children. Anyone who has at least one child is entitled to it. However, a written application must be made by applying for child benefit.

Which requirements must be met??

All parents who are domiciled or habitually resident in Germany have a claim. If they are not domiciled / habitually resident in Germany, the parents must, as a condition, be liable for at least unlimited income tax in Germany.

However, not only the biological parents, but in given cases also grandparents, steps, foster or adoptive parents are eligible. Of course, only one person at a time can receive the amount for a child. This is usually the person where the child lives and is cared for most of the time. Anyone who has a legal guardianship and has taken a child into his household, such as adoptive parents, is therefore just as entitled to child benefit as their biological parents.

There are special rules according to the BKGG (Bundeskindergeldgesetz) for foreigners or Germans who live abroad and are neither domiciled nor habitually resident in Germany and are not subject to unlimited income tax..

In the case of single parents, the parent has the claim in whose household the child lives and is mainly cared for. As a rule, this also covers the costs for the primary care of the child and thus also has the higher financial burden that the child incurs. However, as a rule, the other parent may have the amount credited in part to the payment of the maintenance.

What is the child benefit??

How much the amount is monthly is defined in § 66 EStG and § 6 of the Federal Law, can be taken from the child benefit table and depends on the number of children living in the household. Currently the amount is 194,00 Euro each for the 1st and 2nd child. For other children increase the amount per child. At the beginning of 2018, the child allowance was increased again, again by two euros per month, just as in 2017. In addition, the amount of the child allowance rose at the beginning of 2018 from 7,356 euros to around 7,428 euros. After the current coalition negotiations of the grand coalition between the SPD and CDU / CSU, the child benefit will be increased again this year. From July 2019 this should be raised by another 10,00 Euro. At the same time, the child allowance should rise to 7,620 euros.

Kindergeldhöhe 2019 at a glance:

  • for the 1st and 2nd child monthly 194 € each (from July 2019: 204 €)
  • for the 3rd child monthly: 200 € (from July 2019: 214 €)
  • for the 4th child and all other children monthly: 225 € each (from July 2019: 235 €)

When and how is the money paid??

The money is paid monthly by bank transfer to the account of the parent or guardian. When exactly the monthly payment is made depends on the child benefit number. The family funds work here according to a certain system, so that in some the money is transferred at the beginning and at others only at the end of the month. If you want to know when exactly the money will be transferred, this is so with a look at his child benefit number out. There, the last digit is decisive. If the last digit is a one or a two, the payout can be expected at the beginning of the month. If the last digit is an eight or nine, the child benefit will only be paid towards the end of the month. In the case of all numbers, the payment must therefore be made in the middle of the month.

❗ The higher the number, the later the monthly payout.

Child benefit to support families with children

How and where is the child benefit applied for??

The application for child benefit always had to be made in writing to the responsible family fund. This is often found in the building of the responsible for the place agency for work. Today, however, there are already opportunities on the Internet. On the side of the Employment Agency, the address of the responsible family fund can be determined or an application can even be made online. If this is not done via the Internet, the family funds issue appropriate application forms, which must first be filled out carefully. Alternatively, the forms can also be downloaded from the Federal Employment Agency and printed out. The authorities then process the applications and, as a rule, send a child benefit notice after a few weeks. In this the claim is then confirmed in writing and determines the amount.

When must the child benefit be applied for??

The grant can be applied for as soon as the child is born. However, the application form can be requested at the end of the pregnancy and filled out as far as possible. Thus, the application can be sent immediately after birth and is thus processed faster by the authorities. In general, the faster the application is sent, the faster it will be processed and the faster the first child benefit will be paid out. Since expectant mothers and fathers in the first days have little time and power for such bureaucratic matters, it is advantageous to complete the application before the birth. In the end, it only has to be supplemented by a few details (eg date of birth of the child) and can then be sent immediately by post to the family fund.

Incidentally, money is also available retroactively in case of late application. However, since 2018, this claim has only amounted to the past 6 months. Before that, the claim was valid for around four years retroactively. If the application is more than half a year late, the claim for the months before it expires. The family policy benefit of the so-called parental allowance is paid by the way only 3 months retroactively. It is therefore worthwhile to take care of the relevant applications at an early stage.

How long is child benefit paid??

Basically, state support for parents is provided for the period from birth to the child’s 18th birthday. In special cases, however, the money continues to be paid until the age of 25 years. The following overview shows which requirements have to be met at the respective age levels in order to receive child benefit.

From birth to the child’s 18th birthday:

  • As a rule, everyone receives child benefit in Germany during this period.

From the age of 19 to the age of 26, the following conditions apply:

  • the child still goes to school, studies or is in vocational training
  • the child performs certain voluntary services, such as a voluntary social year (FSJ), or a voluntary ecological year (FÖJ)
  • the child is looking for an apprenticeship or is currently in a transitional period * (for example, between school and beginning of studies or training)

* However, the “transitional period” defined above is only recognized for a maximum period of 4 months

As a rule until the age of 22, if:

  • If the child is registered as seeking employment, there is a right to child benefit

Children with disabilities:

  • For children with a disability who are unable to provide for themselves, the amount is paid without time limit. However, the condition is that the disability must have occurred before the 25th birthday.

What role does income play??

Basically, the income of the parents, or the parent or guardian does not matter. Thus, even better-off parents have the same entitlement as low-earning parents. The income of the children themselves, which they earn, for example, during vocational training or studies, has no significance here.

However, as soon as the children have completed their first vocational training or studies, other provisions apply. Children with a completed education or studies have received only the full amount, if the following conditions are met:

  • the child is in a (second) training relationship
  • the child works less than 20 hours a week
  • or is pursuing a marginal occupation

What is the child allowance??

The constitution prescribes a tax exemption of a fixed amount of income, which includes the subsistence level of a child, ie accommodation, food, clothing, textbooks, etc. This definition also applies to the needs during an apprenticeship. The indemnity is usually provided by the payment of the child benefit for the current calendar year. However, it can also be done through a child allowance.

This is therefore a tax deduction. Currently, this is 4,788 euros per year and child. If the parents are jointly assessed spouses, the allowance amounts to a total of 7,428 euros. From July 2019, the allowance will be increased to 7,620 euros. Basically, the child allowance is only interesting for better-earning parents.

When is there a child supplement?

Parents who are able to meet their own needs through their own income but who are entitled to receive ALG II or social assistance because of the increased needs of their children can apply for a child allowance. The child supplement is thus an additional financial support for the needy. It is paid together with the child benefit and can be up to € 170 per month per child. The application must also be made in writing to the responsible family fund.

However, parents without their own income, who live exclusively by ALG II or social assistance, receive no child allowance. Applicants do not have to work full-time but have a self-employed minimum income. This is currently € 900 for couples and € 600 per month for single parents.

Child benefit

Which rule apply to unemployed parents / guardians?

For parents and guardians without work there are special provisions. Unemployment benefit I (ALG I) is usually 60% of the last net salary received. Those entitled to child benefit receive a higher amount of about 67%. For unemployment benefit II (ALG II, also called Hartz IV), the sum is credited to the amount received. If necessary, this will reduce the amount of ALG II by the total amount of the child benefit.


Thus, the child benefit is not a support for those in need but a government subsidy to cover the costs of raising and caring for a child. This subsidy is basically valid for every child up to the age of eighteen and, under certain conditions, may even be valid until the age of 24. Even if it is associated with a little bureaucratic effort and work, so the application is worthwhile in any case.

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