After the birth of a child, parents in Germany receive special financial support known as ‘parental benefit’ (Elterngeld). This helps young families when the parents are unable to work after their child is born, or need to reduce their working hours.
For how long is parental benefit paid?
Parental benefit may be paid during the first 14 months of the child’s life. Both parents together are entitled to a total of 12 monthly payments. Two additional payments may be made if both parents take advantage of the benefit and at least one has a reduced income for no less than two months. Single parents may receive the 14 monthly payments if they have no, or a reduced, income. The parents may choose how to divide up the 12 or 14 monthly payments. However, each parent may receive a minimum of two and a maximum of 12 payments.
The parents may receive the benefit either simultaneously or consecutively. If they choose, for example, to divide the payments equally, each parent may receive no more than seven monthly payments – for a total of no more than 14.
Is parental benefit paid to the families of international skilled workers?
Citizens of European Union countries and of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may receive parental benefit if they live and work in Germany. You may also be entitled to parental benefit if you are a citizen of a third (non-EU or EEA) country. In this case, you require a residence permit that allows you to work in Germany. This is the case if you have permanent residence status or if you have a residence permit and are, or were, also permitted to work in Germany, for example if you have an EU Blue Card.
Additional information on the requirements for receiving parental benefit is available in German from the Familien-Wegweiser (Family Guide) of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
How much parental benefit will I receive?
The amount of parental benefit you receive depends on your net monthly income prior to your child’s birth. The sum ranges from 300 to 1,800 euros per month. Families with several small children or with multiple births (e.g. twins or triplets) and parents with incomes of less than 1,000 euros per month receive additional support. To determine approximately how much money you can expect to receive, consult the online parental benefit calculator on the German-language website www.familien-wegweiser.de.
How and where can I apply for parental benefit?
It is not necessary to submit your application immediately after the birth of your child. Note, however, that parental benefit will be paid retroactively for no more than three months prior to submission of your application. It is therefore advisable not to wait too long.
Your nearest parental benefit office can provide more detailed advice. You will find the address at www.familien-wegweiser.de.