Financial Assistance for Families
Child benefit (Kindergeld)
Child benefits are monthly payments made by the state to a child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s). The amount of the payments depends on the ages and number of children in the household. Child benefits are paid at least until the age of 18 or until end of the child’s 25th year if the child is in school, doing professional training or is at university. Parents who are not from Germany can apply for child benefits under certain conditions.
A parent or legal guardian can generally apply for child benefits if his or her official or usual place of residence is in Germany. Additionally, the child’s official or usual place of residence must also be in Germany or a country in the European Union. If the applicant’s place of residence is outside of Germany, he or she may still be eligible to receive child benefit payments if he or she is required to pay income taxes in Germany without limitation, meaning that the bulk of his or her income is earned in Germany. Under certain conditions, a parent or legal guardian can be eligible for child benefits even if the usual place of residence is not in Germany or if the income is earned outside of Germany. Such cases, however, are decided on an individual basis at the time of application by the appropriate family benefits office (Familienkasse) at the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit).
For the first and second child, the monthly child benefits payment is 192 Euro per child, for the third child 198 Euro and for each additional child 223 Euro (for 2017).
To apply, you can use the Online-Formulardienst der Familienkasse (online form service of the family benefits office) or you can download the forms as writable PDF documents. You must apply in writing and the forms must be signed by the applicant. It is not possible to apply by telephone. Detailed information about child benefits is available in the Info Sheet on Child Benefit (in German), on the web site of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) and on the web sites of EURAXESS Germany and HowtoGermany.
Requirements: Child benefit for guest researchers
Citizens of member states of the EU or EEA and citizens of Switzerland who work in Germany or live in Germany without working are subject to the same requirements for claiming child allowance as citizens of Germany.
Because of agreements between the above countries and Germany, citizens of these countries are eligible to receive child benefits even if they do not have a settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) or a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). This is, however, the case only if they are employed in Germany and contribute to the unemployment insurance system.
Citizens of all other countries living in Germany can receive child benefits only if they have a valid settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) or a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) for certain purposes.
Agentur für Arbeit Heideberg
Tel. 0800 4555530
Fax: +49 6221 524-910385
Parental allowance (Elterngeld)
The purpose of parental allowance (Elterngeld) is to compensate for the loss of income after the birth of a child (this applies only to births after December 31, 2006). Parental allowance payments amount to 67% of the average monthly income previous to the birth after deduction of taxes, social insurance payments and professional expenses. The maximum monthly payment is 1,800 Euros and the minimum is 300 Euros. Parents who are not employed receive the minimum payment in addition to the previous family income. Parental allowance can be paid to the father and/or mother for a maximum of 14 months and the parents can divide up the time period between them as they wish. One parent alone can claim a maximum of 12 months; 2 additional months can be claimed if no income is earned during this time and if the partner takes part in the child care. Single parents who receive parental allowance to compensate for the loss of earned income can claim the entire 14 months because of the lack of a partner.
It is possible, in the following situations, for mothers and fathers to receive parental allowance:
- the parents take care of their children themselves after birth
- they do not work for more than 30 hours per week
- they live in the same household as their children
- their official or usual place of residence is in Germany
Parental allowance can be paid in some cases if parents are working abroad.
Parental allowance must be applied for in writing. The application form, including detailed information about parental allowance and directions for filling out the form, is available as a download (writable pdf file) on the web site of the Landeskreditbank Baden- Württemberg. Application forms are also available from the local administrative offices (Bürgerämter) of cities and municipalities. The application form can be submitted either to a local administration office or directly to the L-Bank. Further information in English about parental allowance is available on the web sites of EURAXESS Germany and of HowtoGermany.
Parental allowance plus (Elterngeld Plus)
On January 1, 2015, the federal law regarding parental leave and parental allowance (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz - BEEG) was reformed with the introduction of Elterngeld Plus (parental allowance plus) and four additional partnership bonus months. These changes allow parents to decide whether they want to convert one month of basic parental allowance into two months of the new parental allowance plus. This permits the maximum of fourteen months of basic parental allowance to be converted to a maximum of 28 months of parental allowance plus. Parents can choose freely whether they want to claim their parental allowance exclusively in the basic form or as parental allowance plus or whether they want to combine both forms.
Requirements: Parental allowance for guest researchers
Citizens of countries in the EU, of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are generally eligible for parental allowance if they are employed in Germany or, if not employed, if they are living in Germany.
Citizens of other countries are eligible for parental allowance if, as evidenced by their residence permit, they plan to stay in Germany long-term and if they have access to employment. Anyone with a settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) fulfils these requirements. Those with a residence permit fulfil the requirements only if they are permitted to work in Germany or have already worked here. Parents with a residence permit for educational purposes or in connection with a short time-limited work permit (for example seasonal workers) can not receive parental allowance.
Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg (L-Bank)
Telephone Hotline: 0800 / 6645471, Monday to Friday (8:30 am to 4:00 pm)
Fax +49 721 150-3191
Maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld)
During maternity leave, which is generally 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after birth, employed mothers receive maternity pay. Mothers who have health insurance with a state-regulated insurance company receive up to 13 Euros per day. Working mothers who are insured privately or are part of a family insurance policy with a state-regulated insurance company receive a total of maximum 210 Euros from the Federal (Social) Insurance Office (Bundesversicherungsamt).
Women whose employment was terminated legally during pregnancy receive maternity pay through the state-regulated insurance system (Krankenkasse). Members of a state-regulated insurance company receive payment through their company. Others receive their maternity pay through the Federal (Social) Insurance Office. It is possible to obtain detailed information about maternity pay from the Krankenkasse or from the Bundesversicherungsamt.
Further information about maternity payments as well as the necessary application forms are available on the web site of the Mutterschaftsgeldstelle (maternity pay office). You can find information in English on the websites of HowtoGermany.
Telephone Hotline: +49 228 619-1888
Fax: +49 288 619-1877