To qualify for child benefit, three different starting situations must be taken into account: A foreigner living in Germany can in principle only claim state support in the form of child benefit for his family in accordance with § 62 (2) EStG if he has previously been granted a settlement permit or other residence title.
The situation is different for EU citizens and Swiss nationals. In this case, it is sufficient to transfer one’s normal place of residence to Germany or to trigger unlimited income tax liability in Germany in order to qualify for child benefit.
Nationals of equivalent states (Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Morocco, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey) may also be entitled to child benefit if they are employed in Germany under an employment contract or receive unemployment/sick pay in Germany.
In no case does a so-called posting of employees to Germany trigger the entitlement to child benefit, in this respect the existence of a residence permit is irrelevant.
Child benefit is paid at least up to the age of 18, alternatively up to the age of 25 if the child is in school or vocational training or is studying.
The amount of the monthly child benefit is determined by the number of children. For the first and second child a sum of 194 (from July 2019 204) euros is paid, for the third child 200 (from July 2019 – 210) euros and from the fourth child 225 (from July 2019 – 235) euros are paid per child (as of January 2019).
The application must be submitted in writing to the relevant family fund.
Citizens of the EU/EEA
Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can receive child benefit regardless of whether they have a settlement permit or a residence permit. The same applies to citizens of Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey on the basis of the respective international agreements, if they are employed in Germany as employees subject to unemployment insurance or, for example, receive unemployment benefit or sickness benefit.
Work contract workers and employees who have been sent to Germany by their employer abroad to provide temporary services are not entitled to child benefit, even if they have a settlement permit or residence permit for gainful employment.
For further information, please contact
- Child benefitOverview of the most important regulations for granting child benefitBundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency)
- Application for child benefitApply online for child benefitBundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency)
The parental allowance catches a loss of income after the birth of the child. It amounts to 65 – 67% of the average monthly disposable income before birth after deduction of taxes, social security contributions and income-related expenses, up to a maximum of 1,800 euros and a minimum of 300 euros. Since 01.01.2015, parental allowance in this form can be received by father and mother for a maximum period of 14 months. The parents of the child can freely divide the period of payment among themselves. One parent can claim parental allowance for a maximum of 12 months. The period of eligibility increases by a further two months if the partner also participates in the care of the child. Single parents are entitled to the full 14 months of the period alone.
Under certain conditions, parental allowance may also be paid in the case of employment abroad.
Application and deadlines
Citizens of the EU/EEA
New regulations with effect from 01.01.2015
With effect from 01.01.2015, the previous legal provisions in Germany for the claim of parental allowance have been fundamentally changed. A distinction is now made between the three forms of benefit: basic parental allowance, parental allowance PLUS and the so-called partnership bonus months.
The basic parental allowance essentially corresponds to the already known form of the parental allowance (see above), whereby the possibility of deciding to receive half of the parental allowance in the case of an extended reference period is omitted without replacement. The basic parental allowance can be drawn for a maximum of 14 months.
With the independent benefit form “Elterngeld PLUS” (parental allowance PLUS), the legislator has newly regulated the use of half of the parental allowance with a parallel prolonged period of receipt: The claim of a half reduced parental allowance is also possible beyond the duration of 14 months, provided that the basic eligibility conditions for the granting of parental allowance are unchanged. The receipt of “Elterngeld PLUS” is possible with or without own financial additional income. “Parental allowance PLUS” can only be claimed for a maximum period of 24 months.
Eligible parents are free to choose between the two options, and the competent authorities also advise on combination forms that meet the needs of the individual case.
The third form of “partnership bonus months” can only take effect from the outset if both parents work part-time for a period of four months at the same time with a number of 25 to 30 hours per week. The parental allowance can be extended to 28 months through “partnership bonus months”.
Parents whose children have been born in Germany since 01.07.2015 can claim and combine the three newly regulated forms of benefits.
In case of doubt, please contact the relevant authorities in good time before applying to find out which form of parental benefit is suitable for your personal circumstances. In view of the extensive new legal regulations, the information provided cannot replace qualified legal advice in any case.