Financial Support for Families

General Information

For holders of residence permits it is important to note that some options of financial support will harm your residence status. As a rule of thumb, only support given regardless of income is not harmful. The following types of financial support will not harm your residence status: Kindergeld (Child support), Elterngeld (parental support) and Kinderfreibetrag (Child tax break). There may be others not mentioned here for specific needs/circumstances. In any case, please consult us in advance if you consider applying for any other form of family support!

For the essential information on this topic for incoming researchers, read the corresponding section of our Welcome Guide first.

Child support (Kindergeld)

…is a monthly payment per German-domiciled or EU-domiciled child generally granted to applicants (usually parents) who are resident or unlimited income tax payers in Germany and holding

  • EU/EEA or Swiss citizenship or
  • Algerian, Bosnian, Kosovar, Moroccan, Serbian, Montenegrin, Tunisian or Turkish citizenship if employed subject to unemployment insurance contributions or
  • any other citizenship and a permanent settlement permit or residence permit.

Holders of student or language student residence permits and scholarship holders are not eligible (as their income is not taxable). You will need your tax ID and your child(ren)’s tax ID(s) to avail of Kindergeld. Note that processing Kindergeld applications may take many months.

Parental support (Elterngeld)

…is a monthly payment serving to compensate for loss of income in the year following the birth of a child, amounting to 65-67% of your average last net income (after taxes and deductions), at least €300 and at maximum €1,800. If a parent did not work before applying for parental support, they may be eligible for the minimum amount of €300 per month. Parental support can be paid out for a period of up to 14 months to single parents or to both parents combined if each parent loses at least 2 months of income in caring for their children. Otherwise payout is limited to a maximum of 12 months per parent. Parental support can be used by and paid out consecutively or concurrently to both parents. It can be split into several parts and taken from birth up until 12 or 14 months after the child was born.

The alternative is to opt for extended parental support (ElterngeldPlus), payable as half the usual amount for twice as many months. If you would like to avail of ElterngeldPlus after the first 14 months, it must be used continuously from the 15th month (without interruptions).

While in receipt of Elterngeld or ElterngeldPlus, part-time work of up to 30 hours per week is possible and desirable: If both parents work part-time for a specified number of hours per week in the same period of time, a partnership bonus of up to 4 months additional ElterngeldPlus is available. Note that, if parental allowance is to be paid out retrospectively, it is so for a maximum of 3 months prior to the application date. Each parent can apply for parental support for himself or herself.
Those eligible for parental allowance are applicants (parents) holding

  • EU/EEA or Swiss citizenship who are employed or living in Germany
  • any other citizenship only if their residence is deemed probably permanent and if they have proper access to the labour market (i.e. unlimited eligibility for holders of a settlement permit; while holders of a residence permit are only eligible if they were or are allowed to work).

Parents holding a residence permit for the purpose of studying or in connection with a work permit for a specified maximum period are not eligible to receive parental allowance.

Kinderfreibetrag (Child tax break)

A child tax break is granted per child either in full (to single parents) or in half to both parents each, depending also on your tax classes. It may exempt a part of your income from taxes and thereby reduce your taxable income. The number of child tax breaks you are entitled to should be stated on your payslip and yearly certificate of wage tax deductions (elektronische Lohnsteuerbescheinigung). Inform your HR department of your resident children and childbirths.

Kinderzuschlag (Supplementary child benefit)

…is a benefit per child for families with a very low income from employment just above the threshold for unemployment benefits type II (Arbeitslosengeld II), but less than the individual maximum threshold. It is unclear whether it counts as a form of social welfare.

For Non-EU citizens on a residence permit this may harm the residence status, because a residence permit is issued on the condition that you must have sufficient means throughout your stay to sustain yourself and your family financially. Therefore we currently strongly discourage applications for Kinderzuschlag for residence permit holders.

Whom to contact

Kindergeld: Familienkasse (Family Office)

For general information about Kindergeld regulations, eligibility and the monthly amount per child, go to: www.familienkasse.de (German only; for the English site, click EN at top of page, then go to Benefits > Child benefit)

To apply for Kindergeld or enquire about the status of your application, contact the Familienkasse in Bautzen (Family Office of the Federal Employment Agency).
Download the Kindergeld application form (English) here.

Elterngeld: Elterngeldstelle (Parental Support Offices)

For general information about Elterngeld/ElterngeldPlus regulations, eligibility etc., have a read through the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees’ website on parental allowance and parental leave.

If considering parental leave (independent of using parental allowance), speak to your supervisor and talk to your employer’s HR department for the formalities.
To apply for parental allowance and enquire about the status of your application, contact the Elterngeldstelle (Parental Allowance Office) responsible for your place of residence

Tax breaks and other family benefits and services: HR department, Familienkasse (Family Office)

To avail of child tax breaks, report your children to your employer’s HR department before your contract starts or as soon as they are born by presenting their birth certificates.

For a general overview of the various other types of government family support available (again, many may harm a temporary residence status, therefore please always consult us before applying for types of support other than the above!), check this website.