Elterngeld in Germany

Parental allowance in Germany – Elterngeld in Germany

Parental Allowance (aka Elterngeld) is a financial benefit for parents with babies or toddlers in Germany. It aims to enable parents to take time to be with their child, by helping families to continue securing their financial income. Elterngeld is also available to parents who had no income at all before the child was born.

This information about Elterngeld (or parental allowance in Germany) applies for parents whose children were born after August 2021. And if your child was born before 1 September 2021, in some cases different rules apply.

Who is entitled of getting the so called Elterngeld in Germany?

As a mother or father, you can receive Parental Allowance in Germany if you

  • take care or raise your child yourself,
  • live in the same household as your child,
  • either do not work at all or you work less than 32 hours a week and
  • live in Germany.

Parental Allowance is available to employees and civil servants, as well as self-employed, unemployed and stay-at-home parents. This means you can also claim Elterngeld in Germany if you were not working before the child was born.

Parents can claim Parental Allowance for their biological child, any children their spouse/partner might already have, their adopted child, even if the adoption process is ongoing, or in special cases, for their grandchild, great-grandchild, niece, nephew, sister, or brother if the child’s parents are seriously ill, disabled, or have died.

Who can’t receive Elterngeld / Parental allowance in Germany?

You cannot claim Parental Allowance:

  • For foster children; instead, you can claim other specific benefits for foster children through the Youth Welfare Office (the well known Jungendamt),
  • If you are a Top-level earner you also do not have the right to receive Parental Allowance. Top-level earners are single parents having an annual income from EUR 250,000, and couples and separated parents from EUR 300,000.

You can claim Parental Allowance from the day your child is born. You receive the payments each month depending on the date on which your child was born. For example: If your child was born on 20 April, then the 1st month of your child’s life goes from 20 April to 19 May. The 2nd month of your child’s life goes from 20 May to 19 June, and so on. For adopted children, the payments are calculated based on the day when the child joined your household.

How to actually apply for parental allowance?

You must claim Parental Allowance from a Parental Allowance Office. The responsible Parental Allowance Office for you depends on where your child’s place of residence is.

Apply using the form for your federal state. This is available at www.familienportal.de. You can also get a form from:

  • your Parental Allowance Office,
  • many local government offices,
  • most health insurance providers and
  • most hospitals with a maternity ward.
elterngeld form parental allowance form in Germany
Image source: www.antrag24.de

In some federal states you can also apply for Parental Allowance online using the application assistant ElterngeldDigital. You will be guided through the application step by step. In addition, you can check technical terms and you can obtain answers to frequently asked questions.

You should submit your application immediately after the birth of your child, to be sure your Parental Allowance can be paid out in time. And keep in mind that Parental Allowance is paid retroactively for a maximum of three months. So if you wish to receive the corresponding Parental Allowance from the date of your child’s birth, you should submit your application no later than the date on which your child reaches the age of 3 months. Be sure you send all the needed documents while you apply for Elterngeld in Germany so the whole process doesn’t get delayed. The necessary documents depend on aspects like your working status or the type of health insurance you have.

Peculiar information that might be important

Even if you do not apply for Parental Allowance together, the other parent must still sign your application to confirm that the other part will not be claiming any Parental Allowance beyond the unused share you are entitled together.

You can still change your application at a later date and it is always possible if the changes only affect future months. But, there are several restrictions on making changes to your Parental Allowance claim affecting previous months. Firstly, any changes to information related to a period more than three months in the past are no longer allowed. Additionally, once the period for which you are claiming Parental Allowance has ended, you cannot make any further changes to your claim.

If Parental Allowance has already been paid out for a particular month, changes can only be made in cases of hardship, such as a serious illness or the death of the other parent.

However, the rules for claiming Basic Parental Allowance retrospectively under the Parental Allowance Plus scheme are different. You can claim Basic Parental Allowance for months in which you received Parental Allowance Plus, even if the latter has already been paid out.

mother working and baby
Image source: 7news.com.au

More information

You can find more information about Parental Allowance on the internet: A lot of information on Parental Allowance is available online at www.familienportal.de. Here you can even get a non-binding calculation of your personal Parental Allowance.

If you would like to call or send an email to get more and detailed information about the Parental allowance in Germany you can find here some useful contacts:

  • Call115: You can call 115, the service line offered by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, to get advice on the phone for topics as: the requirements for claiming Parental Allowance, where to get the application form, or which Parental Allowance Office is responsible for you.
  • Service line offered by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs on 030 201 791 30 or send an e-mail to info@bmfsfjservice.bund.de.

Of course there is much more information about the Parental Allowance in Germany, don’t forget to check my other videos and posts to know more detailed information about Elterngeld in Germany (Parental allowance in Germany).

To check more about parental allowance please consult the “Parental Allowance and Parental Leave” booklet from the German Federal Ministry for family affairs, senior citizens, women and youth.

If you have further questions that I might be able to help you or point in the right direction let me know on the comments!

Check here my video about the Elterngeld (Parental leave) in Germany:

Maternity leave in Germany

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