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Family allowance

All working parents who pay taxes in Germany are entitled to child benefit for the entire duration of their child's education.

The Family Benefits Fund - Familienkasse - grants parents great support for many long years. It therefore has to impose many conditions. Read the following information and check if you meet the criteria to apply for Kindergeld.

For whom is Kindergeld?

In general Kindergeld is granted for children up to the age of 18 or up to the age of 25 if they continue their education.

After the child has reached the age of majority the child benefit is granted only if:

  • the child continues in school, studies or vocational training for a minimum of 10 hours a week and is not working (up to a maximum of 20 hours a week),
  • the child has graduated from one school and is starting another (the break between the two can last no longer than 4 months),
  • the child cannot start or continue education due to lack of places in educational institutions,
  • the child is registered as unemployed, actively looking for a job,
  • the child is disabled.

Amount of the Kindergeld benefit

The amount of the Kindergeld benefit as of 01.01.2021:

  • 219€ for the first and second child
  • 225€ for the third child
  • 250€ for the fourth and every subsequent child

Kindergeld vs 500+

Remember: if you have been granted 500+ in Poland, the Kindergeld benefits will be reduced accordingly in Germany. Be careful here: if e.g. your mom and children live in Poland and dad live in Germany and think: “it is better to take only Kindergeld, it will save us bureaucracy”. – they make a mistake. Although intuitively it makes sense, it is not in accordance with EU guidelines!

Example 1: One parent lives with children in Poland and works, the father works abroad. In this case, the first country to pay the allowance is Poland, in Germany we can apply for a reference allowance.

Example 2: if one parent lives with children in Poland and does not work, and the other parent works in Germany, the benefit will be paid by Germany.

In both cases it is necessary to determine whether the rules of coordination of social security systems apply. The rule is – first we receive support from the country where the children live. The authorities will inquire, and in case of ambiguity – make problems (e.g. reduce benefits).

VERY IMPORTANT: Inform the officials of any changes!

Respond without delay to all letters from the office, including the annual questionnaires checking your right to Kindergeld. Also, any changes in your family or work situation (moving house, changing job etc.) must be presented to the office within one month at the latest. This is your obligation and it will give you assurance that the benefit will not be withdrawn due to negligence.

Documents needed to apply

  • original (not older than 3 months) international birth certificates of children (EU form) – issued by the Civil Registry free of charge for foreign benefits 
  • Current marriage certificate (not older than 3 months, on an EU form) – issued by the Civil Registry free of charge for foreign benefits – in case of divorced persons also court decision about divorce with certified translation,
  • Steuer ID Nummer – tax number issued by the German Tax Office, 
  • Copy of the insurance card issued by the German insurance company, 
  • Certificate of Residence in Germany (Anmeldung) – for the entire period for which you are applying for benefits,
  • a photocopy of the tenancy agreement,
  • Documents that confirm that you have paid for your accommodation in Germany,
  • a certificate of co-registration in Poland,
  • certificate of employment (Arbeitgeberbescheinigung) – for the period for which the benefit is to be paid,
  • contract of employment 
  • photocopy of the “annual tax card – Lohnsteuerbescheinigung – if already issued, otherwise monthly pay statements – Lohnabrechnung,
  • Photocopies of ID cards of both parents, 
  • Certificate of continuation of education (only for children over 18) – for the period for which you are applying for the benefit,
  • A photocopy of a decision on absence of eligibility for or receipt of child benefit in Poland and a decision on 500+ benefit,
  • a photocopy of a decision on tax settlement in Germany (Steuerbescheid) – if available,
  • documents confirming PESEL numbers of children and applicants,
  • in case of persons delegated to Germany – A1 document

Additionally – completed forms which can be ordered in our office:

  • completed data form (form available at our office),
  • Certificate of Family Status 
  • (Familienstandsbescheinigung)
  • Certificate of Employment (Arbeitgeberbescheinigung) – for the period for which you are applying for benefit,
  • a statement by the applicant that he is a taxpayer with unlimited tax liability
  • Certificate of the German office (Finanzamt) that the applicant is a taxpayer with unlimited tax liability,
  • signed contract of mandate form (available in our office).

Up to six months back

Child benefit can be paid retroactively, i.e. you can get compensation for up to six months. This is good news for people who have just found out that they are entitled to it.

Attention for limited income obligation

Kindergeld will only be available to people who have unlimited income obligation or Unbeschränkte Steuerpflicht. Newly arrived in Germany have to reckon with the fact that they have to settle here first – in other words spend half a year (183 days) here. On application we can get Unbeschränkte Steuerpflicht earlier if at least 90% of our income comes from Germany.

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