When I first started this blog, I was far from thinking that I’d be staying long enough to have kids and write about Kindergeld in Germany. Here we are though; 10 years later and 2 kids in the bag, I will yet decipher another bureaucracy hurdle for you. 🙂
Who can receive Kindergeld in Germany?
Germany’s children allowance finds it roots in the belief that every child should have access to basic care, food, clothing and living space. It is defined in the corpus of laws called Bundeskindergeldgesetz (BKGG). Germany is contributing to parents’ financial burden, provided they fit these criteria:
- Your child is under 18 years-old (or between 18 and 25 years-old too, under certain additional conditions).
- Your child is cared for by your and lives most of the time in your household.
- You are a German resident (or you are a German citizen and have residence in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein).
Child benefits is not subject to income limitations. It is provided to any and all parents that qualify the criteria above.
How much Kindergeld can i get?
The amount is set by law Germany-wide. Since January 2021:
- First child: 219 €
- Second child: 219€
- Third child: 225 €
- From the fourth child on: 250 € per child
How does payment work?
Child benefits in Germany will be paid to only one person, usually one of the parents or legal care takers. In the case of multiple siblings, it’s all paid in one lump sum.
Payment are made a specific intervals each month. You can find out exactly when you will be paid by referring to your Kindergeldnummer, which you can find on the documents you receive. This number looks like this: xxxFKxxxxx9. Take the last digit in this series of number and refer to this page to see exact dates.
Good to know for the first payment: you get a full month’s worth of Kindergeld, even if your kind was born on the last day of that month.
What steps do i need to take to apply for Kindergeld?
Take the following steps to apply for child benefits in Germany
- Fill in those forms
You will need to find and fill in Antrag auf Kindergeld KG1 and Anlage Kind zum Hauptantrag Kindergeld KG1-AnK. You can find both forms in English or other languages available here (click on “in anderen Sprachen“).
Each PDF contains guidance on how to fill in those documents. Don’t forget that both parents/legal guardians need to sign them. Alternatively, you can apply directly online via this page, but in German only.
- Include additional documents if necessary
You will need to submit additional documentation
If your kid was born in Germany less than 6 months prior to application date, a copy of a birth certificate will be enough. In all other cases, you will need to provide a Haushaltsbescheinigung KG 3a as well (available here), which needs to be stamped by your local Bürgeramt first.
- Find the right Familienkasse for your city and send them the forms
If you went with paper version, you need to send them your application by post. You can find out which Familienkasse in yours by entering your postal code on this page.
- Your Familienkasse will send you a written confirmation.
You will receive by post after a few weeks to let you know whether you are eligible or not. If the outcome is not satisfactory, there is always the possibility to appeal the decision
- Receive the money every month.
Keep an eye on your bank account to make sure you receive the money in due time.
What steps do i need to take to apply for Kindergeld for my second, third, fourth child?
As you already receive child benefits in Germany, the Familienkasse already “knows” you and you won’t need to start that process from scratch. Instead, you only need to let them know about your new child via this form (“Formular zum Mitteilen von Veränderungen an die Familienkasse KG 45″). In this case just tick the checkbox next to “Die Anzahl der in meinem Haushalt lebenden Kinder hat sich geändert.“, and fill in the rest of the relevant fields.
Can i apply for child benefits in Germany even though i’m not directly related to children in my care?
Yes, even if you have a stepchild, a grandchild or a foster child in your care, you can still apply for Kindergeld in Germany.
I’m a bit late applying for Kindergeld. Is it bad and can i get the lump sums retroactively?
It’s perfectly ok but there is a little caveat: retroactive payments are only possible up to 6 months before application date. This means you should apply at the latest 6 months after your child is born to avoid any financial loss on that front.
I am not an EU citizen and my kids also not, am i still eligible?
In most cases yes:
- Citizens from the following countries are eligible if they have employment in Germany or currently use unemployment benefits/Krankengeld.: Algerien, Bosnien-Herzegowina, Kosovo, Marokko, Montenegro, Serbien, Tunesien oder Türkei.
- Citizens from any other country are eligible if they hold a residence permit that lets them work in Germany.
- Refugees and asylum applicants are also eligible to Kindergeld in Germany.
Is Kindergeld subject to income tax?
No but you must declare it when filing your yearly tax declaration (in Anlage Kind). You can read an interesting piece on how Kindergeld is in spirit actually undue taxes returned to families by the government on Berlinerisch.com by Andrew Bulkeley.
I hope this quick guide shed some lights on the question you had about Kindergeld in Germany. Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you are still unsure about something.