Application for child benefit: Apply for tips on child benefit

One of the first tasks for new parents is the application for child benefit, which they should send to the relevant family benefits office as soon as possible. Here you will find the most important points and also some valuable tips for applying for child benefit.

Applying for child benefit is one of the numerous formalities that parents have to take care of after the birth of their child. The monthly child benefit is 204 euros for the first and second child, 210 euros for the third child and 235 euros each for the fourth and each additional child. Not only the biological parents can claim child benefit . You can also apply for child benefit for stepchildren or grandchildren as well as for adopted or foster children that you care for full-time. The only important thing is that most of them live and are cared for in your household.

Application for child benefit for blended families

Children from previous relationships for whom you do not claim child benefit can still be considered as so-called “count children” when applying for child benefit. The advantage: Suppose your partner already has two children from a previous relationship, for which he does not receive child benefit. You are expecting your first child together. Your partner’s entitlement to child benefit is then – due to the two counted children – not 204 euros, but 210 euros.

Where do I apply for child benefit? Regardless of whether the child benefit application is from Bavaria or an application from North Rhine-Westphalia, it must be submitted in writing to the responsible family benefits office. “Responsible” is usually the family benefit office that administers your residential area – unless you work in the public sector or receive German pension benefits, for example a pension. In these cases, the office of the public-law employer or principal responsible for determining remuneration is responsible.

Apply for child benefit online

You can get forms for the child benefit application from the Family Benefits Office. A little tip: It’s easier to apply for child benefit online , for example on the website of the Federal Employment Agency: fill it out on the PC, print it out and send it to the family benefits office with all the necessary documents. A special service allows you to call up the current processing status online at any time.

Documents for the child benefit application

In the simplest case, all you have to do is enclose your baby’s birth certificate or birth certificate. A certified copy is usually not enough, but don’t worry, the registry office will issue you several documents or certificates – free of charge and especially for all administrative procedures.

Apply for child benefit for children over 18 years of age

It gets trickier when applying for child benefit for children over the age of 18. Under certain conditions, which we describe below, you can also apply for child benefit for children who are older than 18 years. However, you will then have to submit the relevant child benefit forms again.

  • Your child is doing school or vocational training or is studying (up to their 25th birthday): You enclose a current certificate of enrollment or training with your child benefit application. If you are studying, you must submit a new certificate of enrollment every year – by October at the latest.
  • Your child is doing a voluntary social or ecological year (until their 25th birthday): If your child decides to complete a voluntary social or ecological year within the meaning of the Youth Voluntary Service Act – in Germany or abroad – you are still entitled to child benefit and need it a certificate from the institution for the application for child benefit.
  • Your child is working as an au pair: Unfortunately, working as an au pair does not meet the requirements for receiving child benefit for a longer period of time. However, if the stay is combined with a language course that includes at least ten hours per week, the year is considered part of the vocational training and you can still claim child benefit in this way.
  • Your child is without a job (until their 21st birthday): Your child must register with the Employment Agency or a comparable authority abroad as looking for work.
  • Your child does not have an apprenticeship (up to their 25th birthday): In this case, you must provide credible evidence that your child has not found an apprenticeship despite your best efforts. Evidence can be, for example, rejection of applications. Sufficient proof is also considered if your child is listed at the employment agency as an applicant for an apprenticeship or an educational measure.
  • Your child has a disability: Irrespective of other conditions and deadlines, child benefit will continue to be paid after the age of 18 if the child is unable to support itself financially due to a mental, physical or emotional disability . A certified copy of the disability card or a notification from the pension office is sufficient as proof of the disability. If necessary, income must be documented.

Simplifications and stumbling blocks in child benefit applications

Before the so-called Tax Simplification Act came into force in 2012, when applying for child benefit for adult children, parents also had to state their income, for example from a part-time job. If the child had a net salary of more than 8,004 euros per year, the child benefit was canceled. This proof of income has been omitted since 2012 – at least if your child is in their first vocational training. What is new, on the other hand, is that the Family Benefits Office makes a very precise distinction between initial and any further vocational training.

An example: Suppose your child is trained as a paramedic during their voluntary social year and then begins their bachelor’s degree. Around 15 weeks of training as a paramedic counts as initial vocational training with regard to child benefit – proof of income is not required. According to the legislature, your child begins their second vocational training with their studies. This does not mean that the entitlement to child benefit automatically expires.

Application for child benefit while the child is studying

However, your child must again stick to the income limit of 8,130 euros per year and may not work more than 20 hours per week on average. Of course, corresponding documents are also due again.

All the administrative procedures and applications may seem very complicated at first glance, but with a little patience and research you will quickly get a good overview. If you have specific questions, it is best to contact the Familienkasse directly.

We have put together everything you need to know about child benefit here.  You can also read all about the child allowance here.

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