Parental Benefits

Child benefits, parental benefits… Germany sure is showing its need for more parenthood. Further below, we will introduce you to the requirements for these benefits and subsequently where you can apply for them. N.B. Only if you apply for these benefits will you be considered. Thinking of it, doesn’t it seem somewhat irritating that parents are lured to stay home while competent employees are needed? Well, this is Germany…

What do these benefits want to achieve?

Parental benefits are to give families a financial break during the first months of a newborn child for a certain period. It is to compensate in some degree for lost income due to not working but personally caring for the child.


For children of what age is this law applicable? We have children aging 2 to 5.

This page describes the “old law” which was applicable until 2012 – i.e. for children born until December 31, 2012. If your child was born later please go to the subpage on the new law to find out if any differences in the requirements exist. §

Who is eligible for parental benefits?

Pursuant to §1 I BEEG, you can successfully apply for this money, if

  • your domicile or habitual residence is in Germany,
  • you live together with your child in one household,
  • you are an EU citizen or a family member of a European
  • you are a non-European citizen that has either a settlement permit or a residence permit allowing (self)employment,
  • you personally care for and educate your child,
  • you had a taxable income less than 250 k€ (double earners 500 k€) or more in the last calendar year, or if there is more than one family member eligible, that the taxable income of the family may not have exceeded 499 k€,
  • you are pursuing a full-time employment or self-employment or on parental leave – in order to raise your child.


What are the exceptions from eligibility?

Persons having a residence permit only for temporary purposes, i.e. based on

  • - education (§§16, 17 AufenthG),
  • - for employment but with a special time restriction (e.g. specialty cooks),
  • - refugees due to war in their home country (§§23 I, 23a, 24, 25 III – V AufenthG)

These persons are not eligible for parental benefits.

How much in benefits, do I get?

Your benefits depend on your previous net income – pursuant to the regulations of this act. The parent going off-time will usually receive 65 % but at least € 300 and at most € 1,800 monthly.

We just received our third child and consider it unfair that we do not get any benefits for our older children. Aren’t already living kids somehow considered?

It so happens that you get a so-called “sibling bonus”: 10% of the benefit on top of it. The sibling bonus will bring at least € 75.

Gee, we would love to, but we are not able to take care of our child. Is there any chance that we could forward the benefits to a relative?

If the parents cannot care for their children due to a severe sickness, disability or (their) death, they can pass on these benefits to relatives up to the third degree as well as this relative’s spouse or life partner if they meet the requirements and no other person collects the parental benefits for this child.

Okay, I got the idea I’m not supposed to work during early parenthood but exactly when is a person considered as working full time? I really must not stay home 100% of the time, I would go nuts.

Yeah, we can understand having all those ants in your pants. A person is not considered full time if

  • her weekly working time does not exceed 30 hours in a month (§1 VI BEEG),
  • she is in an internship, or is an enrolled student in a university or Fachhochschule or comparable institution,
  • she is a trained child day care teacher and does not take care of more than five children for day care


N.B. if you plan to work, you have to mention it in the application.

Do we have to pay taxes on these parental benefits?
Yes and no. The benefits itself are not subject to taxation but will be considered as taxable income to determine the amount of taxes. This is the so-called “Progressionsvorbehalt”.
How long will we receive these benefits?

Normally, both parents together are eligible for up to 12 months in total. However, you can also inflate this period, so called “Dehnungsoption”. Such inflation means that you can receive the benefits for 24 months if you agree to a reduction of your benefits by half. In other words, get half payment for double time.

Gee, when do we have to apply?

You have to apply in writing to the competent office. The authority will grant subsequent payment for only two months  prior to the month they received the application.

An example: Henriette Doe was born May, 12 2013. Mr. and Mrs. Doe submitted their application on September 25, 2013. September is the fourth living month of their child. Parental benefits can only be granted from.

What documents do we have to include with our application?

Supplement your application with the following documents:

  • a copy of your child’s birth certificate *
  • a copy of the parents’ passports (ID page and permit stamp) or copy of foreigner’s ID (both sides) with Meldebescheinigung
  • proof of income prior to birth *
  • copy of certificate from your health insurance on maternity allowance,
  • copy of certificate from employer on his payment of a maternity allowance,
  • copy of certificate from employer on granting parental leave.

Those items marked with an asterisk (*) will always have to be submitted. The other certificates will be needed if they apply to your situation. You show your income either with your last tax assessment or wage slip. Self-employed persons or freelancers will typically have to ask their tax consultant for a current P&L, better is what Germans call "BWA".

Where do we apply for these benefits?

At the competent office of course, what did you think? We have listed all the offices on different pages: List of Competent Authorities for Parental Benefits (Elterngeldstellen)

Additional information