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Child benefit, family allowance in Germany in 2021, 2020: amount and types of benefits for children and parents

This page provides an overview of the main financial benefits for childcare and childbirth in Germany: Kindergeld; Kinderzuschlag; Leistungen für Bildung und Teilhabe; Unterhaltsvorschuss; Mutterschaftsgeld; Elterngeld; Waisenrente. Here you will learn about the amount and types of the said benefits. On the page you will find links to official child benefit application forms, as well as laws and useful websites on the subject. At the bottom of the page you can share your experience of receiving child benefits in Germany. General information on benefits in Germany, as well as on individual types of financial benefits, amounts and terms, can be found on the page Amount and types of benefits in Germany.
Further on, select the topics you are interested in from the content:


§ Types of child benefits, allowances for pregnant women and for parents in Germany

In Germany, comprehensive assistance is provided to families with children in order to protect and financially support pregnant women, children and youth. The German law defines the rights of pregnant women, including the right to maternity leave, maternity benefits and employer's allowance. Women receiving social assistance are allocated money for additional expenses. There are also assistance centers in Germany where you can get information about the types and amounts of assistance that the state provides to families. Such centers work at charitable organizations, healthcare institutions and other agencies. Links on this topic can be found below on the page.

Table 1: Types of child and parental benefits in Germany as of 2020

Benefit name Governing law Benefit amount, in euros, per month Duration of benefit
Child benefit, Kindergeld BKGG, EStG from 204 to 235 €
per 1 child
under 25 years old
Subsidies for children, Kinderzuschlag BKGG up to 185 € under 25 years old
Child maintenance allowance for education and participation in extracurricular activities, Leistungen für Bildung und Teilhabe SGB II Actual expenses reimbursed. Also 150 € for the school year and 15 € per month for extracurricular activities. under 25 years old
Child support moneyed assistance for single parents, Unterhaltsvorschuss UhVorschG from 165 to 293 € depending on the age of the child up to 12 (under certain conditions up to 18) years old
Maternity allowance, Mutterschaftsgeld MuSchG the amount equal to the average earnings of a woman during pregnancy 6 weeks before the birth of a child and min. 8 weeks after the birth of a child
Parental allowance, Elterngeld BEEG Basiselterngeld:
from 300 to 1800 €
Elterngeld Plus:
from 150 to 900 €
Basiselterngeld:
up to 14 months
Elterngeld Plus:
up to 28 months
Moneyed assistance for orphans, half-orphans Waisenrente, Halbwaisenrente SGB VI, §48 10% of the earned pension of the deceased parent or 20% of both deceased parents under 18 (under certain conditions up to 27) years old
Assistance to families with children for the purchase of their own housing Baukindergeld KfW 12000 euros per 1 child for a 10-year period up to 18 years old

§ Child benefit or child support: Kindergeld (Bundeskindergeldgesetz, BKGG)

The main child benefit in Germany is called Kindergeld. It is calculated for each child living in the family and is paid to one of the parents or another guardian on a monthly basis until the child reaches the age of 18. The allowance is paid by the family fund (Familienkasse). If the child lives separately, s/he receives the child benefit to their bank account. The amount of this allowance depends on the number of children living in the family. The child allowance can be paid after the age of 18, but up to the age of 25, if the children in this period receive their first education or receive a second education and work less than 20 hours a week, or have the status of unemployed at the labour exchange. There are also a number of other conditions for receiving child allowance after the age of 18. For children with disabilities, child benefits can be paid even after they turn 25 years old. The table below shows the child benefits amount, depending on the number of children, and the chart shows the change in this amount over the recent years.

Table 2: Child benefit, Kindergeld, in Germany as of 2020 год

Number of children in the family Amount of monthly allowance per 1 child, in euros Amount of monthly allowance per 1 child, in US dollars *
First and second child 204.00 237.76
Third child 210.00 244.76
From the fourth child on 235.00 273.89

As can be seen from this table, the minimum amount of child benefits in Germany is 204 euros or 237.76 USD. The more children the parents have, the greater the amount of the allowance paid to the child.

Chart 1. Change in the amount of child benefit per 1 child
(in a family with 1 or 2 children) in Germany by year

§ Subsidies for children, Kinderzuschlag

Subsidies for children (Kinderzuschlag) are provided by law for families whose budget is below the subsistence level. If a family does not receive social assistance or unemployment benefits , from Arbeitslosengeld-II, then it has the right to receive child subsidies and housing subsidies, Wohngeld. Thus, a family with the incomes slightly below the subsistence minimum has the right to receive subsidies for housing and for children, thanks to which a subsistence minimum will be reached and they do not have to become recipients of unemployment benefits or social assistance. This benefit, as well as the Kindergeld, is paid by the family fund, Familienkasse.

The maximum amount of subsidies for children in 2020 is 185 euros a month per 1 child. This amount decreases depending on the family income level. For a family to have the right to receive subsidies for children, their income has to be between the minimum and maximum income limits established by law. For example, for a married couple, the minimum income limit is 900 euros, for a single parent it is 600 euros. The maximum income limit is the amount that a family should receive in the framework of the ALG-II, Hartz IV unemployment benefit. When calculating subsidies for children, a number of factors are taken into account, such as the special needs of the family, the cost of housing, and so on.

§ Child maintenance allowance for education and participation in extracurricular activities, Leistungen für Bildung und Teilhabe

Recipients of child subsidies or housing subsidies, as well as of the ALG-II unemployment benefit, are entitled to receive various payments to cover the actual expenses of children in connection with education and participation in extracurricular activities. These payments include as follows:

An application for these subsidies payment can be submitted to the local authorities, for example, city administrations. The unemployment benefit recipients can apply at their local Jobcenter.

In addition, recipients of the ALG-II unemployment benefits and housing subsidies are exempt from paying a fee for a place in a kindergarten (in German: Kita-Gebühren).

§ Child support moneyed assistance for single parents, Unterhaltsvorschuss

Single parents whose children do not receive alimony from the second parent (or receive it irregularly or partially), are eligible for this benefit. This type of allowance is paid for children under 12 years old. Under certain conditions, the allowance may be paid to children aged 12 to 18 years old. The governing law: Gesetz zur Sicherung des Unterhalts von Kindern alleinstehender Mütter und Väter durch Unterhaltsvorschüsse oder -ausfalleistungen.

Table 3: Amount of the Unterhaltsvorschuss child support moneyed assistance in Germany as of 2020 год

Age of child Amount of monthly allowance per 1 child, in euros Amount of monthly allowance per 1 child, in US dollars *
0-5 years old 165.00 192.31
6-11 years old 220.00 256.41
12-17 years old 293.00 341.49

§ Maternity allowance, Mutterschaftsgeld

The maternity allowance is intended for young mothers, it is paid during the maternity leave, due to the fact that the professional activity of a pregnant woman, a young mother is limited or not possible at all. The allowance is paid to working citizens and foreigners who have a permit to work in Germany (Niederlassungserlaubnis, Aufenthaltserlaubnis, Aufenthaltsberechtigung) and who have submitted the relevant application.

Maternity leave in Germany begins 6 weeks before the due date of delivery diagnosed by the doctor and continues for 8 weeks after the childbirth, this period can be extended up to 12 weeks in case of premature birth. To receive the maternity allowance, you must apply to the Krankenkasse health insurance fund where the pregnant woman is insured. An application for this type of benefit can be submitted at the earliest 7 weeks before the due date of delivery.

The allowance is calculated based on the average earnings for the last 3 months. During maternity leave these average earnings are partially paid to the woman by the health insurance fund, the rest is paid by the employer. The health insurance fund pays a maximum of 13 euros per day. If a pregnant woman is insured at a private health insurance fund or insured "through" her husband (familienversichert), in this case the amount of the benefit is a maximum of 210 euros. In addition, for a pregnant woman, the health insurance fund pays for the services of a midwife and attending courses for young mothers.

Due to the increasing needs of women in the event of pregnancy, recipients of social assistance and ALG-II are entitled to various benefits or subsidies, including: those for buying clothes for pregnant women and things for the newborn. To receive these subsidies, you have to timely submit the appropriate application.

§ Moneyed assistance for upbringing a child, parental allowance: Elterngeld (Bundeselterngeld-und Elternzeitgesetzes, BEEG)

This type of benefit is paid to parents for raising a child, monthly, during the first 14-28 months, depending on the method of payment. This type of assistance is provided to both working and unemployed parents. Requirements for parents to receive this type of allowance are as follows:

There are also some other restrictions. This type of benefit can be received in 2 possible ways: (1) Basiselterngeld, the basic parental benefit, and (2) Elterngeld Plus, Elterngeld+. Parents can receive the basic benefit for 14 months or Elterngeld+ for 28 months. The amount of the parent Elterngeld+ is 2 times smaller than the amount of the the basic benefit. The amount of the benefit depends on the parents' income and is calculated on the basis of certain rules, it can make up 65% of parents' income or more, but not exceeding the maximum amount specified by law. The maximum amount as of 2020 is 1800 euros for the basic benefit and 900 euros for the Elterngeld+. Parents who have not worked before the birth of the child receive an allowance in the amount of 300 euros and 150 euros, respectively. If both parents combine work and child care, they can receive benefits together at the same time, but not longer than for 7 months (or 14 months for the Elterngeld+). Some other benefits are also provided. To calculate this benefit, it is best to consult to determine the most advantageous option for obtaining this benefit; you can also make a calculation of the amount on the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs website: Calculator for estimating Elterngeld.

§ Links to the laws and official websites on the topic: benefits for families and children in Germany

Government agencies in Germany responsible for paying benefits for children and families provide detailed information on child benefits, official application forms and brochures for each type of benefit on their official Internet resources. In addition, these institutions are ready to provide personal advice. The following are the links where you can find this information in Germany:


Footnotes:

* The EUR exchange rate in the tables is taken as of 19 october 2021 and amounts to 1.17 USD or 0.84 GBP at the European Central Bank exchange rate. The EUR, USD and GBR exchange rates in Germany


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