Benefits for Families
Parents can apply for child benefit for their children up to the age of at least 18. Under certain circumstances, foreign parents are also eligible for this benefit.
Applicants are usually eligible for child benefit if they are resident in or habitually reside in Germany. If the applicant resides outside of Germany, (s)he may still be eligible for child benefit if the applicant is subject to unlimited income tax liability in Germany.
The monthly amount of child benefit is currently 184 euros for the first and second child, 190 euros for the third child and 215 euros for the fourth and each additional child.
Please note that from January 2016 you must hand in your child's tax identification number together with your own. If you are already receiving child benefit, you must hand in your child's number in order to continue receiving the money.
The application must be submitted in writing to the respective Family or Child Benefit Office. The forms are available online.
Generally, we recommend you to submit an application and familiarise yourself in detail with the responsibilities of the Family Offices as well as your own rights. Currently, a residence permit for the purpose of (doctoral) study does not constitute eligibility for child benefit. Therefore, if you hold this kind of residence permit, you should verify whether your partner is eligible.
Family Allowance ("Elterngeld" and "Elterngeld Plus")
Parental allowance and parental allowance plus are designed to compensate for loss of income after the birth of a child. The allowance and eligibility requirements vary according to the parents' employment situation after the birth of the child, but can be combined. Germany is planning to introduce a partnership bonus that will allow the eligibility period for parental allowance to be extended yet further.
Mothers and fathers are eligible for parental allowance and parental allowance plus if they
- are entitled to pursue gainful employment,
- care for and raise their children themselves after birth,
- pursue gainful employment for no more than 30 hours a week,
- live in the same home with their children and
- are resident in or habitually reside in Germany.
Parental allowance is 65-67% of the family’s average monthly earnings prior to the birth after deducting taxes, social insurance contributions and professional expenses. It is, however, limited to a maximum of 1,800 euros and a minimum of 300 euros. Non-working parents receive the minimum amount in addition to their previous family income. Parental allowance can be claimed by both mother and father from birth until the child reaches 14 months of age. The minimum duration is two months. Both parents can divide the period between them. The maximum claim period for any one parent is 12 months. It can be extended by two additional months if earnings cease and the partner is involved in caring for the child. Single parents who have sole custody or at least the right to determine the place of residence can receive parental allowance to compensate for their loss of earnings and, due to the absence of a partner, claim the full 14 months for themselves. Since parental allowance is paid exclusively on the basis of the child's age in months, the amount of parental leave requested from the employer should always match the child's age in months.
Parental allowance plus will affect children born after 1 July 2015 and simplify the rules for parents who work part-time whilst receiving parental allowance. Parental allowance plus compensates for the lost portion of income, limited to half of the monthly parental allowance that a parent would be entitled to if (s)he did not work at all. However, one month of regular parental allowance translates into two months of parental allowance plus, meaning that the eligibility period for parental allowance can be doubled. Single parents will be able to use parental allowance plus in the same way (as well as the partnership bonus, if applicable).
Under certain circumstances, parental allowance can also be paid whilst parents are working abroad.
Application process and deadlines:
Parental allowance must be requested from the relevant local authority using a form that can be completed online and must be submitted bearing an original signature. The application does not have to be submitted immediately after the child's birth. However, retroactive payments can only be made for the three months immediately preceding the beginning of the month in which the application for parental allowance was received.
Child Care Allowance
Parents with a child born after 1 August 2012 who are not (yet) taking advantage of their legal entitlement to early childhood education in a day-care facility or in-home day-care are eligible to apply for a child care allowance. The allowance of 150 euro per month is paid regardless of the parents' employment situation. As a rule, child care allowance can only be paid following parental allowance, i.e. once the child is 15 months old, for a maximum duration of 22 months. If the child is under 15 months, child care allowance can only be granted if both parents have already received the parental allowance to which they are entitled.
Application process and deadlines:
Child care allowance must be requested from the relevant local authority using a form which must bear an original signature. Retroactive payments can only be made for the three months of the child’s life immediately preceding the month of the application.
Guide for International Researchers, chapter 10:Concerning benefits for families. Read more here (page 118) (463.4 kB)
Source: passages taken from EURAXESS
Partly translated by Dr. Lynda Lich.Knight, ResearchComm Ltd.