By Anke Modeb Last updated: 25. January 2022
Life with children costs more than without. In order to prevent parents with low incomes from falling into the Hartz IV system, there is a child supplement. Together with housing benefit, it is intended to improve the family’s finances so that they can make ends meet. But who is really entitled and how is the child supplement calculated?? In this article we answer your questions.
The most important facts in brief
- The child supplement is granted from a gross income of 900 euros (for single parents from 600 euros) and up to a maximum income limit.
- The maximum income limit is determined individually on the basis of standard rates depending on the size of the family, living space, etc. calculated and has nothing to do with income.
- Exceeding the maximum income limit has been possible since 2020; the child supplement is then gradually reduced
- Alimony and orphans’ pensions are considered income and are offset against the child supplement on a pro-rata basis for each child.
- The supplement is only granted for children under 25 who live in the same household and are unmarried / unpartnered.
- The calculation is complex and processing can take several weeks to months. The conditions of the last 6 months before the application are decisive for the calculation.
- The child supplement is always granted for 6 months and is not paid retroactively (the date of application is decisive).
What is the child supplement?
The child supplement is a financial support for families with low income. It was created at the same time as Hartz IV in the course of Agenda 2010 and is a supplement to child benefit. The supplement is intended to prevent a family, and this includes single parents, from having to apply for Hartz IV (unemployment benefit II). The last increase took place in July 2019 by the "Strong Families Act". In 2022, the child supplement was adjusted to maximum 209 Euro per month and child (2021: 205 Euro).
Who is entitled to the child supplement?
Under certain conditions, everyone who is entitled to a child supplement can apply for it
are entitled to child benefit and whose income of the community of need is between certain limits is located. In simple terms, this means that those who earn too little receive a supplement to their income with Hartz IV instead. Already since January 2020, there is the extended access to the child supplement, in order to avoid a need for assistance as far as possible. Those who earn too much may still be able to get the child supplement starting this year. The calculation of income limits is quite complex and highly individualized.
Parents whose children earn income, z.B. through alimony or half-orphan pension, are not eligible if 45% of this income is over 205 euros each (as of 2022). Also excluded are all recipients of unemployment benefit II, social assistance and social allowance.
Applicant is always the one who receives the child benefit, because the child supplement is always paid together with the child benefit. If you receive a benefit comparable to child benefit z.B. from abroad or if you have not yet applied for child benefit, you as parents must agree among yourselves who will receive the child supplement or. are to receive the child allowance applied for, because the family benefits office always pays only to one account.
Requirements for receiving child supplement
- Age, marital status and place of residence of the child
It must be younger than 25 years, live with you in the household and be unmarried / unpartnered.
- Receiving child support or similar benefit
You must be entitled to child benefit for the child or receive a comparable benefit, z.B. from abroad.
- Minimum income of the community of need must be high enough
Parental couples must have gross have more than 900 Euro at your disposal. Single parent 600 Euro. Housing allowance, child benefit and child supplement are not taken into account, but unemployment benefit I or sickness benefit are.
- Needs can be covered by child supplement and housing allowance
If the family’s needs cannot be covered by the above-mentioned benefits, you are entitled to unemployment benefit II instead to supplement your income. Child supplement is then not paid in addition. If the gap does not exceed 100 euros, the extended access to the child supplement applies. In this case, you can get the child supplement instead of Hartz IV, if this covers the needs of your family.
- Child supplement also if needs of the family are covered
Under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to a reduced child supplement. In addition, you will then benefit from education and participation benefits and exemption from daycare fees. For further information, please contact your family benefits office.
This is how the child supplement is calculated
The minimum income for couples must exceed 900 Euro per month, for single parents 600 Euro is the minimum limit. Below this level, it is assumed that your needs cannot be covered by the supplement and housing allowance and that you are therefore entitled to other social benefits such as ALG II.
Income and assets of the child
Your child’s own income is taken into account by the family benefits office to a varying extent for the child supplement. The offsetting can reduce the amount of the child supplement.
Your child’s income includes earned income and maintenance payments from the other parent for this child, as well as benefits under the Advance Maintenance Payments Act (Unterhaltsvorschussgesetz). There is an obligation that you apply for the priority benefit maintenance or maintenance advance.
Own assets of more than 3.850 euros of a minor child is fully credited to the child supplement by the family benefits office.
This can be best illustrated by an example.
Example: Reduction of child supplement due to assets
The child’s assets are 100 euros above the tax-free amount. 100 Euro are to be credited to the child supplement. Income the child does not earn.
There is a reduction of 100 euros of the child allowance of 209 euros. Only 109 Euro are paid out. This reduction is made by the family benefits office only in the first month. As of the following month, the child receives the full 209 euros.
Full child supplement
If the calculated assets do not exceed the allowance, you will receive the full rate of 209 euros per child.
Parents’ income and assets
If the parental income or assets are above the own total needs, this reduces the child supplement. If the parental income and earnings are from gainful employment (including self-employment), only 45% of the child supplement is taken into account. This does not include other income such as sick pay and unemployment benefit. This is taken into account with 100%.
The following shares of the actual housing costs are included in the calculation:
The following example shows how the housing costs are included proportionally in the calculation.
Example: Reduction of child supplement due to parents’ income
A married couple with 3 children under 25 live in a common household. The rent amounts to 900 euros per month. The father’s gross income per month is 2.250 Euro. From this remains 1.273 euros of income to be taken into account. The gross income of the mother is 750 Euro per month. Of which 293 euros have to be taken into account. Joint income of parents: 1.566 Euro (1.273 Euro + 293 Euro).
- standard requirement according to SGB II: 2 x 404 Euro = 808 Euro
- + Shares of the housing costs of the parents = 558 euros (62% of 900 euros rent)
- = Total need of the parents: 1.366 euros
The joint income of the parents is 200 euros above the total requirement. There is a credit to the child allowance for the 3 children. Since it is income from employment, the family benefits office will only deduct 45.
- child supplement 3 x 209 Euro = 627 Euro
- – Credit amount 90 Euro (45% of 200 Euro)
- Amount of child allowance paid out per month = 537 Euro
More calculation examples can be found in the leaflet of the Familienkasse (PDF).
This is considered income and assets
To Income belong z.B.
- Income from self-employment
- Income from non-self-employment
- Alimony (spousal support and child support) or benefits according to the Unterhaltsvorschussgesetz (Advance Child Support Act)
- Unemployment benefit (not ALG II!)
- Sickness benefit
- Parental allowance
- Care allowance
- Income from renting and leasing
- Interest from financial investments
Housing allowance and child benefit are not added to the income.
To Assets include less fixed allowances, for example:
- Savings balance
- House or real estate ownership (under certain conditions)
Basically, assets that can be sold will be taken into account. Private pension or your own 4 walls remain untouched.
Deductions from income and assets
In order to calculate the income to be taken into account, taxes, social security contributions, pension, insurance lump sums, income-related expenses and any allowances are deducted from the gross income and assets.
Exception due to the Corona pandemic:
The assets check is temporarily easier. Parents do not have to declare their assets if they do not have any income substantial assets have. Substantial assets exist for the entire community of need as of the following amounts:
- 2 persons: 90.000 Euro
- 3 persons: 120.000 euros
- Increase by 30.000 Euro per additional child
This regulation is valid until 31. March 2022.
Check your entitlement beforehand
Before you apply for the child allowance, you should have the Child supplement check on the Page of the Federal Employment Agency use. This asks about marital status, children, income, expenses, etc. and provides a good prognosis whether your application would have a chance at all. To the child allowance check
How to apply for a child allowance
You can apply for the child supplement at the family office of the employment agency. This must be done in writing by mail, post or in person. You can download the application for child supplement together with additional forms from the Internet or obtain them directly from the Familienkasse (family benefits office). In the meantime, you can also submit the application directly online here.
Depending on your living situation, you must the following proofs enclose.
- Proof of income / pay slips for the last 3 months
- Tax assessment notice
- Notices about:
- Unemployment benefit I or II
- Sickness benefit
- Parental allowance / Maternity allowance
- Vocational training assistance
- Housing allowance
- Heating costs
- Water / Sewage
- garbage collection
- Chimney sweep
Please take the necessary documents in your case from the application forms.
Use for the proofs better only copies. Your file will be kept electronically and paper documents will be destroyed.
You must report changes
As soon as your life situation changes in such a way that your child supplement could be affected, you have to report this change to the family benefits office immediately. Conceivable would be, for example:
- Change of persons in the household
- Change in income of parents
- Change in income of the children
- Change of housing costs
- Pregnancy of a household member etc.
If you report changes relevant to the child supplement too late or not at all, you may not only have to pay back the child supplement. In addition, there is a threat of fines or criminal prosecution. If you are not sure whether a change is important, just ask directly at the Familienkasse (family fund).
Duration of the child allowance
The child supplement is only granted for 6 months from the date of application, as the neediness of many people changes within this period. After or preferably before the end of the reference period, you must submit a new application. If nothing has changed in your circumstances, the processing time is then somewhat shorter.
Is the child supplement also available retroactively??
No, unfortunately not. It is important that you apply for the child supplement quickly, because the family cash office pays the amounts only from the day of application.
How long does the processing take??
Normally, processing takes 4-6 weeks. Then the application must be received on time and all supporting documents must be enclosed. In a few cases, however, it takes several months. Therefore, do not count on the money immediately, but always look for alternatives just in case.
Education and participation benefits and free daycare centers
If you receive a child supplement, you do not pay any fees for the daycare center.
In addition, many other benefits can be applied for thanks to the "Strong Families Act":
- one-day school and day care trips or day care (actual costs)
- Class and day care trips lasting several days or day care (actual costs)
- Personal school supplies (a total of 156 euros per school year)
- transportation of pupils to school (actual costs)
- appropriate learning support independent of a transfer risk
- Participation in a communal midday meal in school (also in cooperation with the after-school care center), day care center or in day care (total costs)
- Participation in the social and cultural life of the community (monthly flat rate of 15 euros)
You must apply for the benefits at the responsible municipal office.
Do you already have experience with the child allowance? Write us a comment!