Child benefit: what you need to know about entitlement, application and amount

Child benefit – almost everyone had or has to do with it, either because the parents got it for you as an offspring or because you have children yourself. But the child benefit rules are complicated. has compiled the most important information.

EUro bills and coins as well as a pacifier are on a printed application for child benefit

Photo: photographyMK

Child benefit is generally only paid to one parent, i.e. either father or mother. You should therefore clarify with your partner in advance to whose name and account the child benefit will be transferred. Grandparents can also receive child benefit, provided they live together with the child in the same household. Child benefit can also be paid directly to the child- if the child runs an independent household and is not cared for by his or her parents.

Once your child benefit application has been approved, the family benefits office will pay you child benefit until the child is 18 years old. The child’s education continues until the child reaches the age of. It is not necessary to apply for child benefit every year. However, you will need to report any changes, such as a new address because you have moved. Or the start of training, because this increases the age limit.

Child benefit: Who is entitled to it?

All are entitled to child benefit Parents who care for minor children in their own households. This includes not only biological children, but also grandchildren, stepchildren or foster children. A further condition for entitlement to child benefit is also that your Residence is located in Germany, another EU country, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Switzerland.

In detail, there is an entitlement to child benefit…

  • for all children up to 18. you have reached the age of 65,
  • For children who are in education up to the age of 25. For children under the age of 18
  • for children up to the age of 25. if they are doing a voluntary social or ecological year or the Federal Volunteer Service
  • for unemployed children up to the age of 21. Year of life
  • for children with disabilities without age limit and over the age of 25. beyond the age of. However, this only applies if the child is unable to care for himself or herself due to physical, mental or emotional disability.
  • For children who are in a transitional period of no more than 4 months between 2 educational periods.

Child benefit foru18: Requirements

As parents, you can always claim child benefit if you or your adult child- up to the age limit of 25- are still in education. Education in this case means vocational training or studies. The education must be proven every year again. In the case of studies, the university certificate serves as proof that your child or you yourself are still in education. A 22-year-old mother who is still studying can therefore receive child benefit for herself as well as for her child.

Training is considered to have ended when your training contract or that of your child ends at the end of the contract. In the case of studies, this is completed when the examination results for the degree are available. According to current case law, child benefits will continue to be paid until the official announcement of the exam results.

Child benefit entitlement for students

The legal situation has changed significantly in recent years, especially for students. According to the Tax Simplification Act of 2011: "A child who has reached the age of majority is generally taken into account until he or she completes initial vocational training or studies.“ ExampleIf your 20-year-old son does an apprenticeship as a carpenter or enrolls in a bachelor’s degree program in electrical engineering, you will receive child benefit for him either way even if he works during his studies. Neither the amount of the part-time job income nor a possible Bafog payment are relevant. The following applies: In case of a first education you always get child benefits.

Child benefit entitlement for second education

In a somewhat weakened form, the child benefit entitlement also applies to a second or even third education. This case occurs if, for example, your son begins a course of study and has already completed an apprenticeship beforehand. Or your daughter starts an apprenticeship after she has been trained as a paramedic during her voluntary social year. In these cases, however, child benefit is only paid if your child does not work more than 20 hours a week on the side. For children who work more than 20 hours per week at the same time, the child benefit entitlement expires.

Job search for engineers

It is important that the activity carried out is 20 hours per week on average may not exceed. Students who work 30 or even 40 hours per week during the semester break, but work much less during the rest of the semester, will still receive child benefits. The 20 hours per week must not be exceeded on an annual average.

Also important Master studies, that relates to the previous bachelor’s degree in terms of content and time is considered as initial training and not as secondary training. The Federal Fiscal Court came to this decision at the end of 2015. As parents, you therefore retain your child benefit entitlement here as well.

Child benefit for children studying abroad?

Even for children who study abroad, parents continue to receive child benefit if they are still registered in Germany and spend most of their semester breaks at home in Germany. On the other hand, the entitlement to child benefit is forfeited if your child also travels during the semester break or completes a work-and-travel or au pair year.

Child benefit as an au pair

Even if an au pair activity is not considered as professional training, there is a trick to keep the child benefit entitlement officially. For this purpose, the recipient must continuously and systematically participate in language classes during his/her au pair stay abroad. If you officially learn a language for 10 hours a week, for example at a language school or with a certified language teacher, you will continue to receive child benefit.

Child benefit as an expatriate

Expatriates (expats)- According to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, people who work temporarily for their employer abroad can receive child benefit under certain conditions:

  • if they work as a development worker or missionary,
  • be in a compulsory insurance relationship with the Federal Employment Agency,
  • are employed in an institution outside Germany in accordance with the provisions of civil service law
  • or receive a pension according to German regulations.

The children must be resident in Germany or in another EU country. For children of development workers and missionaries, additional special regulations apply with regard to the entitlement to child benefits.

Child benefit as a married person

You can receive child benefit even if you are married. Prerequisite also here: One is not older than 25 years and is still in training. It is irrelevant here whether and if so how much the partner earns. The child benefit entitlement remains the same in any case.

Child benefit amount: How it is calculated?

The amount of child benefit is independent of the parents’ income and is the same for all parents. To the 1. July 2019, the child benefit was increased by 10 euros and is now per child per month:

  • 204 euros for the first and second child
  • 210 euros for the third child
  • 235 euros for the fourth and each additional child

Incidentally, the child benefit amounts given also apply to you if you have several children but they do not all live with you in your household. ExampleYou have 4 children, but the 2 oldest live with the other parent. Then the amount of child benefit for the two children in your household per child and month is nevertheless 235 euros. The two older ones are considered as so-called Count children. According to the coalition agreement of the GroKo, the child benefit amount is to be increased to 1. January 2021 by a further 15 euros increase.

The child benefit application

You can find the child benefit application on the website of the Federal Employment Agency as a PDF file. You must attach a "child annex" to the child benefit application for each child for whom you wish to claim child benefit enclose. An informal mail or phone call is not legally effective. You must keep the written form and send the child benefit application by mail or fax. You can fill it out on the computer, but then you have to print it out and finally sign it by hand.

You send the completed and complete child benefit application by mail to the one Family cash office (the Federal Employment Agency), which is responsible for you. The responsibility depends on the place of residence. To be on the safe side, you should call or e-mail the Federal Employment Agency to find out which family benefits office is responsible for your postal address. If you are a civil servant or live in another EU country, other family funds may also be responsible for your child benefit claim, which are not necessarily close to your place of residence.

Important: To apply for child benefit, you need your tax identification number. If you do not know them or have misplaced them, you can easily have them sent to you by the Bundeszentralamt fur Steuern (Federal Central Tax Office).

Can child benefit also be applied for retroactively?

The child benefit application can also be made retroactively, but the legislator has extended the deadline to 1. January 2018 severely shortened. Since then, the family fund only pays child benefit retroactively for the last 6 months- before it was paid retroactively for 4 years. It is therefore worthwhile for you to submit your child benefit application as early as possible.

Read also:

Student financing between BAfoG and student loans

Child benefit- Support for short-term care needs

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