Child benefit

Entitlement to child benefit

Parents and legal guardians are entitled to claim child benefit (for example, adoptive and step-parents, foster parents, grandparents) of children who are living in the family household. It must be further assumed that the persons who claim child benefit

•    have their domicile or habitual residence  in the Federal Republic 
•    have neither domicile nor habitual residence in the Federal Republic, but are
      subject to full tax liability in this country

According to the Federal Child Benefit Act (BKGG), special rules apply to foreigners or German nationals living abroad who neither have domicile nor habitual residence in the Federal Republic, nor are they subject to full tax liability in this country.

Child benefit claim for minor children

The entitlement for child benefit shall take effect in the month of birth and is paid until the child attains the age of 18 years. Only the parents or the guardians are eligible to submit the application for childcare benefit, not the child himself.

Adult children

After attaining the age of 18 years, the child benefit will be further paid only if the “child” is continuing his or her educational or vocational training or is registered with the Employment Agency as unemployed or as seeking employment as a trainee. In this case, the benefit shall continue to be provided until the age of 25 years.

Submission of the application for child benefit

In order to receive child benefit, parents must submit a written application. For the payment, the family offices are basically responsible, which in most cases are located within the competent Employment Agency.  The application must be submitted to the authority together with the birth certificate of the child.  The applicant must take into account that the application processing times can take up to four to six weeks.

Child benefit can be granted with a 6 months retrospective effect. In case that parents have failed to submit the application, they have plenty of time to catch up.

Application forms

Information about child benefit and the appropriate forms for free download can be obtained from the following website:

Child benefit for public sector employees

Special rules apply to certain employees (for example those working in the public sector) for whose application for child benefit the family offices are not competent. In their case, the application for child benefit must be submitted to the employer or the payment office that includes the benefit in the monthly salary and pays it directly to the person entitled to receive it.