Parental allowance in euros

Myths Parental Allowance in Germany – Elterngeld

Elterngeld and Elternzeit in Germany is a great benefit when comparing to some other countries. But claiming for Elterngeld can be a pain in the neck. There is so much to understand, to decide and to fill out. And there are quite a number of Elterngeld myths spreading here in Germany. Between Germans but also between foreign parents like me.

Let’s check the 3 Big Parental Allowance Myths in Germany:

You Need to Live in Germany to Claim Elterngeld – Not really!

You need to be a tax resident in Germany, but you don’t need to live in Germany. Parents don’t have to live in Germany and spend all of your time in Germany to receive Elterngeld.

You can even give birth outside Germany, or spend your Parental leave (Elternzeit) and the time you are receiving Elterngeld outside Germany, as long as your tax residence continuous to be in Germany.

Many parents use Elternzeit and the time receiving Elterngeld to travel or spend with their family living in another country.

During Elternzeit, and while receiving Elterngeld we spent some time traveling and doing long visits to my family in Portugal

Cross-boarder commuters

If you live in one country but work in another country within the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland you are a cross-boarder commuter. In this case you receive at first the parental allowance from the country in which you work, and if the parental allowance in the other country is higher, you receive that differential amount from the second country. If both parents work in different countries, each parent receives primarily the Elterngeld from the country in which the child lives.

You can also receive parental allowance if you have an employment relationship in Germany (subject to the German social security law) and are sent abroad for a limited period of time. This happens when you are delegated, transferred or commanded abroad by your employer. Some examples are the development workers (Entwicklungshelfer), missionaries, Civil servants or German employees of an intergovernmental or supranational institution (e.g. NATO, UNO or EU).

Elterngeld is based on your current income – Not exactly!

The Elterngeld amount you will receive is not based on your last paycheck. It is based on the average per month of your income during a certain period of time, the so called “assessment period” or in German the “Bemessungszeitraum“.

Non self-employed and Elterngeld assessment period

For non-self employed giving birth mothers, this period corresponds to the 12 months before the maternity allowance began. For the other partner, this period corresponds to the 12 months before the calendar month of the child’s (or children’s) birth.

But individual months can be excluded from these 12 months if one of these situations applies:

  • you were on maternity leave and/or received parental allowance for an older child in its first 14 months
  • you were ill because of your pregnancy and therefore had little or no income, or
  • you have done military or community service and because of that had little or no income.

These months can be skipped and the assessment period begins earlier.

However, if, for other reasons that are not mentioned before, you have less or no income in a calendar month, the month will not be skipped in the calculation. For example, if you did not work in a month and therefore had no taxable income. Then this month is taken into account in the calculation with 0 euros. This greatly reduces your average monthly income in the assessment period.

Self-employed and Elterngeld assessment period

For the self-employed the assessment period is the period for which you file your tax return. This is usually a calendar year.

For self-employed the assessment period can also be postponed if during this assessment period:

  • have received parental allowance for an older child in its first 14 months of life,
  • were on maternity leave, or
  • became ill as a result of your pregnancy.

You must apply for the postponement “Verschiebung” when you apply for your Elterngeld. Like that, it is not considered the last completed assessment period (the last tax return period), but the assessment period before that (the tax return period before that).

And if the assessment period continues to fall in a period of time that you had less income, because of one of the reasons mentioned before, then the assessment period can be pushed back again and again.

Mix income – Non self-employed and self employed

If you have a mix income, from self-employment and from non-self-employment at the same time. Then you go by the self-employment rules. Even if you made a loss in your self-employment, or if you earned less from your self-employment than from your non-self-employment.

The non-self-employment period only applies to you if you had no income from self-employment during the assessment period, or in the 12 months before the calendar month of your birth.

Elterngeld is 12 months for mom and 2 months for dad – It doesn’t have to be like that!

This parental allowance in Germany myth I connect not only with miss information but also with some old fashion way of thinking. Most people would think that Elterngeld is 12 months for the mother and 2 for the father, and even if it could be that way, it definitely doesn’t have to! Check here my post about all 3 modalities or types of Elterngeld you can get in Germany. Yes 3!!! And you can even combine them. So, the number of possibilities are huge. Resuming it to 12 months to the mother and 2 to the father is really diminishing all possibilities and also the complexity of Elterngeld in Germany.

Also, as a tip, really try to understand what is the best for you and your family and do not assume that the mother has to be the primary family caregiver, as it happens in other families. If that works for them great, if that works for you also great! But what is the best for someone else might, but also might not be the best for you.

Just for you to have an idea, and depending on your case, but mostly on the types or models of Elterngeld you chose, it is possible to take Elterngeld from 2 to 32 months. And this applies to both partners!

These are 3 myths about Parental allowance in Germany, the so called Elterngeld. And I hope now you have a better understanding about the parental allowance in Germany. But there is much more to know and understand on how to get the best option of your and your family. Check my previous posts and videos about the Elterngeld and the Elternzeit and be tuned for my upcoming posts and videos!

If you have further burning questions and you think that I might be able to help you or give you some ideas on how to get the information you need, let me know on the comments!

Check my YouTube video about the 3 big myths parental allowance in Germany:

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