Child benefit (Germany)

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The child benefit in Germany is a family politically motivated transfer performance and part of the family benefits system . It is intended as a tax credit to exempt the child's subsistence level from income tax as well as a social benefit insofar as it goes beyond this constitutionally required tax exemption. The amount is staggered according to the number of children and is currently at least 204 euros per child.

Conception of child benefit

Tax savings through child allowances compared to child benefit (as of 2016)

The child benefit serves as a social benefit for the constitutionally guaranteed exemption from the subsistence level of the child and is therefore part of the family benefits equalization .

This exemption of the subsistence of the child is guaranteed in Germany by a dual system to the one hand, the child allowance and on the other hand by the Income Tax deductible child allowance belong. The child benefit mainly benefits lower-income families with little or no taxable income, while the child allowance has a positive effect on families with a high taxable income.

The tax office checks as part of the income tax assessment of its own motion whether the withdrawal of child allowances is more favorable than the child benefit ( rate test ). If the lower-priced check shows that the tax advantage due to the child allowance is higher than the child benefit, the child benefit does not apply and instead the child allowances are deducted from the taxable income. Since 2004, the entitlement to child benefit has been sufficient for this offset against the child allowance, regardless of whether it was actually paid out; since 2007 any foreign claims have also been taken into account.

The Federal Constitutional Court has declared this practice to be permissible: the legislature may guarantee the tax exemption of the subsistence level by paying child benefit. This means that only that part of the child benefit that is higher than the tax savings through the child allowance is a real support for families. This proportion of "real" funding decreases with increasing income: With a taxable income of around € 30,000, it is only a third for taxpayers who are taxed according to the splitting table. The subsidy has completely disappeared from a taxable income of around € 64,000 for married people with 1 child. For single parents, this limit is around € 33,800 (2016 tariff).

Legal basis and jurisdiction

Child benefit is regulated in two laws: the Income Tax Act ( §§ 31 et seq. And §§ 62 et seq. EStG) and the Federal Child Benefit Act (BKGG).

Anyone with unlimited tax liability in Germany receives child benefit under the Income Tax Act. Anyone who is not subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany because they have their place of residence or habitual abode outside Germany, but are subject to insurance in the sense of German unemployment insurance (e.g. through an employment subject to compulsory insurance in Germany) or have reached the statutory retirement age, can pay for their in Children living in Germany ( Section 2 (5) BKGG) receive child benefit according to the Federal Child Benefit Act. Development workers and missionaries abroad and civil servants posted abroad are also eligible under the BKGG . ( § 1 Abs. 1 BKGG) The jurisdiction also regulates the legal process: for disputes in child benefit matters according to the EStG the financial jurisdiction is responsible, for disputes in child benefit matters according to the BKGG the social jurisdiction .

In cases in which there is a claim under both laws, the EStG generally takes precedence over the BKGG. Something different only applies if the child lives in the household of the person entitled under the BKGG or the child runs its own household and the person entitled under the BKGG pays the higher maintenance pension. ( Section 2 (4) BKGG)

As a rule, child benefit can only be requested from the relevant family benefits office. ( § 7 BKGG, § 67 EStG) For members of the public service residing in Germany, the remuneration office of the employer or employer is also the family fund. ( Section 72 EStG) According to the will of the legislature, the decentralized family funds for employees in the public sector in federal authorities are to be abolished by 2022; State and local authorities can, but do not have to, waive their jurisdiction.

The local jurisdiction depends on the place of residence of the person entitled to child benefit. If the person entitled to child benefit is abroad, the family benefits office at the employer's location is responsible. If the person entitled to child benefit does not have an employer in Germany, the Nuremberg Family Benefits Office is responsible. ( § 13 BKGG)

The child benefit recipient must immediately notify the family benefits office of any changes in the circumstances. In the case of children of legal age for whom child benefit is paid, the obligation to cooperate also extends to them. ( Section 68 EStG) With the BKGG, the obligation to cooperate also extends to underage children and the spouse of the child benefit recipient. ( § 10 BKGG)



Basically, the beneficiaries are the child's parents, adoptive parents or foster parents. Step parents and grandparents are entitled to benefits if they have taken the stepchild or grandchild into their household ( Section 63 (1) sentence 1 EStG). The child and parentage relationship with the person applying for child benefit must be proven by official documents, such as life certificates for children living outside the household or the birth certificate , if it is presented within six months of the child's birth and the place of residence of the parents is stated therein.

Child benefit is paid to only one entitled person for each child. ( Section 64 (1) EStG). If the child lives in the same household as the parents, they decide among themselves who receives the child benefit. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, a court decision can be applied for at the responsible family court. This regulation also applies if parents living separately look after the child in almost equal parts in the so-called change model. If the child lives in a large family with parents and grandparents, the parents are primarily entitled to child benefit, unless they waive it in writing. ( Section 64 (2) EStG)

In all other cases, the so-called custody principle applies, which means that the person who has taken the child into their household receives child benefit. According to EU law, it should be noted here that in cases in which one person entitled to child benefit lives in Germany, but the others live in another EU country, the question of the principle of custody must be asked as if they were living in Germany. Specifically, this means that a parent living in another EU country can claim German child benefit if they have taken the child into their household and that the other parent is not entitled to it. This also applies if the child lives with grandparents living in another EU country.

If the child lives in their own household or if they are inpatient outside the household of both parents as part of a youth welfare measure, the person who pays the child maintenance or, if there are several dependent persons, the highest maintenance, is entitled to child benefit. Otherwise, as in the case of common parents, the persons determine who is entitled and otherwise a court decision can be applied for. ( Section 64 (3) EStG)

The child benefit law of the country of employment applies to cross-border commuters . Switzerland is an exception due to an agreement : as long as a parent who is subject to compulsory insurance lives in Germany, German child benefit is paid out to them.

Children to be considered

In principle, the child will only be taken into account if they have their domicile or habitual abode in Germany or in an EU or EEA country. An exception only applies if the child lives in the household of the beneficiary and the beneficiary has unlimited tax liability in Germany. ( Section 63, Paragraph 1, Sentence 6 of the Income Tax Act) The child's stay abroad for up to one year is not detrimental to the entitlement to child benefit; in addition, there must be a special relationship with the family home that goes beyond what is usual in families, i.e. the child must mainly stay in the family household when there is no training. Short visits of no more than three weeks are not sufficient for this.

Contrary to the previous legal situation, a marriage of the child does not mean that child benefit can no longer be waived since 2012. The situation is different for disabled children, where the child benefit does not apply when the child marries.

"Child benefit for yourself"

According to the BKGG, children can claim so-called "child benefit" for themselves if they are orphans or if the parents' whereabouts are unknown, provided that the child is not to be taken into account with any other person and the child is resident in Germany. ( Section 1 (2) BKGG) According to this regulation, disabled children are only entitled to benefits up to the age of 25. The only requirement here is that the child itself does not know the whereabouts of its parents. It does not matter whether the family benefits office itself or other authorities know the parents' whereabouts. Something else only applies if the ignorance was caused intentionally or through gross negligence. However, it is unreasonable for the child to contact the mother via the youth welfare office solely for the sake of child benefit if the child has lived with a foster family since birth and neither the mother nor the child have ever had contact with one another. (For a child's right to receive child benefit themselves if their parents do not pay maintenance, see: Section "Application for diversion" .)

Priority Services

According to § 65 EStG or § 4 BKGG there is no entitlement to child benefit if there is an entitlement to one of the following benefits:

  • Child allowance of the statutory accident insurance according to § 217 SGB ​​VII i. V. m. § 583 RVO a. F.
  • a foreign benefit that is comparable to child benefit or the benefits mentioned above
  • an inter-national or supranational benefit that is comparable to child benefit, e.g. B. the child allowance for EU officials. However, this does not apply if the spouse or other parent of the illegitimate child is employed subject to compulsory insurance, is a civil servant or soldier, or has reached statutory retirement age.

If a benefit comparable to child benefit is granted in another Member State, the entitlement to child benefit under the Income Tax Act pursuant to Section 65 (1) sentence 1 no.2 of the Income Tax Act (EStG) may only be reduced by the same amount, but not completely excluded if the migrant workers' right of free movement would otherwise would be affected.


Foreign nationals who are entitled to free movement in Germany (especially EU and EEA citizens) are also entitled to child benefit. Foreigners who are not entitled to free movement are entitled to child benefit if they have a settlement permit or a residence permit that entitles them to work, unless the stay is for the purpose of training or the work permit is limited in time. The retrospective issue of a residence permit does not entitle the holder to retrospectively receive child benefit.

If the residence permit was issued for reasons of international law or for humanitarian reasons, the additional requirement is that the person must have been legally resident in Germany for at least three years and be gainfully employed or receive unemployment benefits . The use of parental leave is not detrimental to the entitlement to child benefit. In the case of foreign children who live in Germany without parents, proof of three years of residence in Germany is sufficient; employment can not be legally required of children due to the prohibition of child labor .

Foreign nationals who are excluded from child benefit due to their residence status may also claim child benefit under international treaty law. B. Turkish nationals who have lived here for at least 6 months, as well as workers from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. According to § 63 EStG, neither Germans nor foreigners receive child benefit for children who live long-term in another household outside the EU and EEA (e.g. in Turkey). ( See also: section "Children to be considered" .)

In 2016, the Federal Republic of Germany paid 537 million euros in child benefit for 168,400 children who are supposed to live in other EU countries. This corresponds to a five-fold increase in the number of eligible children of EU foreigners compared to 2010.

At the end of 2017, child benefit was paid for 243,234 people living outside of Germany in the European Union or in the European Economic Area.

The political debate is about reducing child benefit to children living in EU member states who do not go to school / kindergarten in Germany to the cost of living there. While the EU Commission has so far rejected this by a majority, this is demanded by parties such as AfD and CDU / CSU within Germany.


See also section historical development

According to Section 66 Paragraph 1 EStG and Section 6 Paragraph 1 BKGG, child benefit in Germany has been € 204 per month for the first and second child since July 2019, € 210 for the third child and € 235 per month for each additional child. Which child is the first, second, third or subsequent child of one parent depends on the order of birth. The oldest child is always the first child, but a so-called counting child can result in a different counting method for children from different relationships.

After the 2017 federal election , the CDU , CSU and SPD agreed in their exploratory talks to increase child benefit in two steps by 25 euros per month - by 10 euros from July 1, 2019 [outdated] and by a further 15 euros from January 2021 .

In 2009 there was (as part of the economic stimulus package II ) a lump sum of € 100 per child in addition to child benefit. According to Section 6 (3) BKGG, it was given to all children for whom child benefit was paid at the beginning of 2009. Payment was made with the normal child benefit payments in April 2009. For all other children who received child benefit later in the same year, the payment was made on application. If the child benefit was diverted directly to the child or a third person, he / she also received the one-off amount.

In 2020 there is a one-off amount of € 300 per child for child benefit under the Second Corona Tax Aid Act. The lump sum is usually paid in installments of € 200 in September and € 100 in October 2020.

Missing children

According to the “service instructions for the implementation of family benefits equalization according to Section X of the Income Tax Act (DA-FamEStG) as of 2012” (p. 29), parents have the right to child benefit as long as the child is considered missing. This rule applies up to the age of 18. This regulation also applies to international child abduction if a child is kidnapped or withdrawn abroad by one of the parents. In the case of illegal child abduction, special features apply. If the child is kidnapped abroad, domestic domicile will only be terminated if the circumstances suggest that the child will not return. Even if the child is absent for a longer period of time, the domestic domicile and thus belonging to the household of the domestic parent is retained if the parent immediately takes the necessary steps for the return of the child and the other circumstances make a return of the child appear promising.

Age limits

Children under 18 years

Child benefit is paid at least up to the age of 18.

Unemployed children under the age of 21

If the child is not in employment and is registered with the employment agency or another service provider responsible for unemployment benefit II (working group / municipality) as a job seeker, child benefit can be drawn up to the age of 21 ( Section 32 (4) EStG) ).

Children under 25 years of age in education or looking for an education

If the child is still going to school, doing vocational training or studying, the entitlement to child benefit extends beyond the age of 18 until the child has reached the age of 25. Child benefit will continue to be paid in a transition phase between two training phases, provided that there are no more than four calendar months between the phases.

Vocational training within the meaning of the law is any measure that involves the acquisition of knowledge, skills and experience that are suitable as a basis for exercising the desired profession. As long as the child's or parents' career goal has not yet been achieved, there is vocational training. It does not matter whether the vocational training is in any way recognized by the state. In contrast to the law on training subsidies, for example, vocational training does not have to take up most of the time and labor of the child. An au pair relationship for the purpose of acquiring language skills can therefore also be regarded as vocational training if it is linked to a formal course of study that covers at least ten hours per week. Attending school as part of compulsory schooling , on the other hand, is always eligible, even if the school comprises fewer than ten hours a week (e.g. young working class ). The preparation for the repeat examination after a failed final examination, even if the apprenticeship no longer exists, as well as the preparation for the Abitur for non-school students are also considered vocational training .

From 2012, after completing initial vocational training or a first degree, the requirement applies that the child does not have any additional gainful employment. However, employment of up to 20 hours of regular weekly working time, a training contract or a marginal employment relationship is irrelevant ( Section 32 (4) sentences 2 + 3 EStG Section 8 SGB IV ).

According to established case law, the term "initial vocational training" is more narrowly defined than the term "vocational training" in the context of child benefit entitlement. A first-time vocational training requires a training course regulated by public law, which imparts the necessary technical skills and knowledge to take up a profession, so that neither attending a general school nor private courses outside of the state-regulated training regulations constitute initial professional training. However, the fact that not all of the vocational training is classified under public law does not rule out consideration as initial vocational training, for example in the case of further training at a banking academy after completing a banking professional training. Several training phases can represent a uniform initial training if the first degree is an integral part of a uniform training course and the training phases are coordinated in terms of time and content so that the training is to be continued after the first degree has been achieved and the desired professional goal only after the advanced one Conclusion can be achieved. Classic examples of this are the dual study program , which combines studies and vocational training, as well as the consecutive master’s degree after a bachelor’s degree. There is no uniform training course if the training section requires practical work, such as in the case of part-time studies , or if the child takes up employment after the first training section that not only serves to bridge the gap until the next training section, but the economic basis of the Child and lets the education take a back seat. Whether the activity constitutes the economic basis of the child must be determined on an individual basis from a consideration of the overall circumstances, this being in typical temporary jobs that require no previous professional training as activities in restaurants or in reverse from the outset activities such as working as a research assistant at the university at which the child is enrolled can generally be answered in the negative.

A child of full age is also entitled to child benefit up to the age of 25 if it is registered with the employment agency or the authority responsible for unemployment benefit II as seeking training. If the child is not registered as seeking training solely because of a prohibition of employment under the Maternity Protection Act , there is still an entitlement to child benefit.

Children who do certain voluntary services are eligible for this period like apprentices. These are conclusively listed in the law, services other than those mentioned in the law do not justify any child benefit. Which includes:

Until 2011, the so-called “guillotine effect” had to be taken into account in adult children. This occurred when the taxable income of a child exceeded a certain amount over the course of a year, which was newly determined from year to year. If the child earned just one euro more, there was no entitlement to child benefit for the entire reference year. In 2011, the limit was € 8004 per year. Since 2012, only the status of the child, but no longer the amount of their income, has been taken into account when checking eligibility.

Disabled children: No age limit

Disabled children who cannot support themselves due to their disability are entitled to child benefit without any age limit. The handicap must have occurred before the age of 25.

Whether a child is unable to support themselves is determined by countering the child's living needs with its financial means. The life requirement is made up of the basic requirement , which has been the basic tax-free allowance since 2012 , and an additional requirement due to disability. If no disability-related additional need is claimed, the handicapped lump sum is to be used as an alternative . If integration assistance and / or care allowance is already provided, the flat-rate amount for the disabled cannot be claimed additionally; This also applies in the case of only part-time inpatient accommodation, for example in a workshop for disabled people. However, despite the day-care accommodation, additional disability-related needs may arise, especially if the child is helpless (mark H). If proof of the maintenance effort cannot be provided in this case, it is to be estimated according to § 162 AO. If the parents look after their child themselves, the amount that would have been incurred if a professional carer had been used must be used instead.

The child's financial means include all income, payments and third-party payments, regardless of what purpose they serve; The only exception is civil-legal compensation for pain and suffering . Integration assistance is also considered a financial means for the child, but since it is also considered to be a disability-related additional need, this only affects the bill in the case of benefits in kind such as free lunch from a WfbM. The same applies to the blindness allowance and care allowance. Social benefits such as assistance with livelihoods are also considered financial means for the child, but reduced by any reimbursement claims that the respective office demands from the person entitled to child benefit. The child's assets are generally not taken into account.

In addition, the handicap must be the reason why the child cannot support himself. Here the specific situation of the child must be considered. A causality can usually be assumed if the mark H is present or a degree of disability of at least 50 is present and there are special circumstances that exclude gainful employment on the general labor market. The disability does not have to be the sole cause, a considerable co-causation is sufficient.

Child benefit is generally excluded if the disabled child is serving a term of imprisonment.

Shifting the age limits

In individual cases, in accordance with Section 32 (5) of the Income Tax Act, child benefit was paid beyond the age of 21 or 25, if and to the extent that a child did basic military service or community service before reaching the relevant age limit, voluntarily for no more than three years Obligated military service or performed an activity as a development worker that exempts from basic military service . The postponement of the age limit was limited to the duration of the domestic statutory basic military service or, in the case of recognized conscientious objectors, to the duration of the domestic statutory civilian service beyond the age of 21 or 25. In the event of an obligation in disaster control , such as serving in the volunteer fire brigade , the case was examined individually by the family benefits office.

This regulation expired on July 1, 2011 and only applies to old cases if the service was started before this date. ( Section 52 (32) sentence 2 EStG)

Previously applicable age limits

The previous age limit, after which child benefit could be paid for children up to the age of 27, was reduced in steps to 25 in 2006:

  • Year of birth up to 1981: Child benefit up to the age of 27
  • Year of birth 1982: Child benefit up to the age of 26
  • Year of birth from 1983: child benefit up to the age of 25

With the change in the age limits, the persons concerned may also lose the possibility of entitlement to state aid in civil service law .

The transitional regulation has since lapsed, but still applies to disabled children whose disability occurred between the ages of 25 and 27 before January 1, 2007. ( Section 52 (32) sentence 1 EStG)

Diversion request

In exceptional cases, the child can apply for a diversion pursuant to Section 74 of the Income Tax Act, namely if the parents fail to meet their statutory maintenance obligations and the child does not benefit from child benefit. This is the case if either the parents pay no maintenance or only an amount that is below the amount of the child benefit, or if the parents are not productive and therefore do not have to pay maintenance. Even if the parents are no longer responsible for the child, an application for diversion can be made.

The right to child benefit and thus the right to apply for a diversion can be transferred to the social service provider when receiving social assistance or youth welfare. The diversion of child benefit is basically a discretionary decision in which the circumstances of the individual case must be checked. In particular, those entitled to child benefit must explain what actual expenses they incurred in looking after the child. If these are higher than the child benefit, a diversion is not possible.

If the child lives in the household of the person entitled to child benefit, the admissibility of a diversion depends on whether the parents themselves receive basic security benefits or not. If this is the case, a diversion application is permissible in any case, as otherwise the child benefit cannot benefit the child at all because the child benefit is offset as the parent's income. If, on the other hand, the parents do not receive any basic social security benefits and they provide maintenance in kind to the child by taking them into the household, an application for diversion is not permitted.

Application process

Child benefit is only granted upon written application. An official form is not required. The application can also be made online via the Family Benefits Office website. The application can also be made by persons who have a legitimate interest in the payment of child benefit, including the child, if they are entitled to divert the money. Institutions such as the youth welfare office can also submit an application if they have a legitimate interest.

You are entitled to child benefit for every month in which eligibility requirements were met on at least one day. Child benefit was paid retrospectively before 2018 for up to four years. Since 2018, child benefit has been paid retrospectively for six months before the application is received by the family benefits office - if it has not been set for a longer period in the notification. The admissibility of the longer payout has not yet been decided in the final instance.

Based on the application for child benefit, the Family Benefits Office assigns a child benefit number to the Federal Employment Agency . The last digit indicates when the transfer will take place. With the last digit 0 or 1, child benefit is transferred at the beginning of the month, with the last digit 2 to 7 during the month and with the last digit 8 or 9 at the end of the month. The child benefit number is not assigned to each child, but to the beneficiary. It can also apply to several siblings. The family benefits office checks at intervals whether you are still entitled to child benefit and whether the money is being paid in the correct amount.

There are separate family benefits for employees in the public sector . The child benefit is usually paid out with the wages or salaries . A family allowance granted for children is also dependent on a successful application for child benefit.

Discounts dependent on child benefit

Further allowances depend on the receipt of child benefit ( child additives ).

Anyone who receives child benefit for at least one month per calendar year is also entitled to child allowances for the Riester pension . The same applies to the child allowance for home ownership .

Most federal states and municipalities switched from the BAT remuneration system to TV-L. This tariff system no longer takes into account a child supplement.

Civil servants and public sector employees who are paid according to BAT receive a supplement to the local allowance for each month in which child benefit is paid , civil servants also receive the family allowance . With the introduction of the TVöD , a child allowance for employees in the public sector will only be granted for children born before January 1, 2006 as a vested benefit allowance.

Eligible officials can apply for medical allowance for any child eligible for child benefit. The child-related benefit entitlement differs depending on the official's employer. For state officials in Bavaria z. B. it is 80% for children. The missing 20% ​​can be covered by private health insurance. If there is no entitlement to child benefit, the child usually falls out of the entitlement to benefit as well. The then necessary full insurance in the private health insurance can represent a considerable additional financial burden; but there are special tariffs z. B. for students.

Maintenance claims

According to Section 1612b of the German Civil Code, child benefit is to be used to cover cash needs. This means that the payment resulting from the maintenance claim is reduced by the whole or half of the child benefit.

If the underage maintenance creditor (= child) lives with one parent (= maintenance obligation of the second parent is fulfilled by caring for the child; Section 1606, Paragraph 3, Clause 2 BGB: The parent who looks after an underage unmarried child fulfills his / her obligation to maintain the Child, usually through the care and upbringing of the child), the amount paid by the other parent responsible for cash maintenance is reduced by half of the child benefit (paid to the second parent), Section 1612b (1) No. 1 BGB.

In all other cases, the full amount of child benefit is offset against the maintenance claim, Section 1612b (1) No. 2 BGB.

Child benefit and unemployment benefit II

With the reform of the maintenance law from January 1, 2008, Section 1612b of the German Civil Code (BGB) establishes child benefit as the income of the child that is to be used for cash maintenance. Notwithstanding the EStG and the Federal Child Benefit Act, Section 11 (1) sentences 2 and 3 SGB II also stipulate that child benefit is not attributable to the parent entitled to child benefit, but to the child. points out in a criticism that this only applies if the child needs it to secure a livelihood. Conversely, this means, and is also the constant practice of the basic security authorities, that child benefit not required to cover needs is deducted from the entitlement to unemployment benefit II as the priority income of the person entitled to child benefit .

In 2010 the Federal Constitutional Court confirmed in a guiding principle decision: "The full crediting of child benefit does not violate the basic right to a 'decent subsistence level'" (BVerfG, decision of March 11, 2010 - 1 BvR 3163/09).


  • The child benefit payment is not fixed at the family benefits office of the Federal Employment Agency, but depends on the final digit of the child benefit number (0–3: payment at the beginning of the month, 4–6: from the 2nd week of the month, 7–9: from the third Month week). This means that some families who are dependent on child benefit may be at a disadvantage if the money is not transferred until the end of the month.
  • There is no payment for children who do full-time voluntary work outside of selected programs (e.g. FSJ / FÖJ ).
  • Payment is usually made to the parents, even for children of legal age who are still in education.
  • In conflict-prone cases of determining a claimant between several beneficiaries (parents living separately, regular temporary accommodation with foster parents or grandparents), the affected parties are on their own to determine who is entitled to the family court as a maintenance matter in accordance with Section 231 FamFG. This can lead to further potential for conflict within the families. With the reform of the former FGG to the FamFG (2010), the legislature also failed to keep an instance of legal action open by setting the value in dispute at € 300 for the determination of the rights of persons (BT-Drucksache 16/6308 page 307: "uniform fixed value of € 300 “), While the legal remedies for courts of second instance provide for a value in dispute or complaint of at least € 600 in family matters (Section 61 (1) FamFG).
  • After the EU expansion to include Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 , more and more EU citizens moved to Germany who can apply for child benefit for their children who had stayed in their home country. Critics call for a residence obligation, which means that child benefit should only be paid for children living in Germany. In February 2016, the CDU / CSU parliamentary group chairmen Volker Kauder and Gerda Hasselfeldt called for the introduction of appropriate regulations. The SPD politician Sigmar Gabriel joined this demand in December 2016. A corresponding draft law by the Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble was dropped due to concerns of the EU Commission. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of children living abroad for whom child benefit was paid rose from 61,615 to 215,499. Child benefit payments abroad had increased almost tenfold to 343 million euros.
On April 8, 2018, the new Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder said that the current legal situation was not understandable for the population. In future, child benefit should be based on the purchasing power of the country in which the children live. He is firmly convinced that "every social democratic voter understands".

Historical development

Child benefit was introduced in Germany at the time of National Socialism under the name “Kinderbeihilfe” for “Aryan” families. In September 1935, large families initially received a one-time child benefit, from April 1936 a monthly child benefit was introduced. Working-class and salaried families with a monthly income of less than 185 Reichsmarks received 10 Reichsmarks per month from the fifth child. From 1938 this child benefit was already available from the third child.

From 1954 onwards, the family equalization funds in the employers' liability insurance associations in the Federal Republic of Germany began to pay out a child benefit of DM 25 for the third and each subsequent child. This was financed through employer contributions. In 1955 this was also paid out to the unemployed by the employment offices. From 1961 child benefit was financed from federal funds and paid out by what was then the Federal Employment Agency . At the same time, families already received DM 25 child benefit for the second child, with the exception of families with an annual income of over DM 7,200 and public employees. After the family equalization funds were dissolved in 1964, responsibility for child benefit was completely transferred to the Federal Agency. In 1970 the income limit was raised to DM 13,200.

Development since 1975, in euros

Child benefit has also been paid for the first child since 1975; in particular, anyone in the public service who receives a family allowance is excluded . At the same time, the tax-free allowance was abolished, but reintroduced in 1983. Despite gradual increases in the tax exemption, the subsistence level of children was partially taxed. That only changed in 1996 when the subsistence level for children was exempted from taxation. At the same time, however, offsetting against the child allowance was introduced for the first time .

At the beginning of 1988 the Federal Social Court in Kassel decided that foster parents also receive child benefit for the children they care for, even if foster parents already receive care allowance as well as clothing and pocket money for the children from the youth welfare office (Az. 10 RKg 5/85). According to a further ruling by the Federal Social Court on November 3, 1987, there was also an entitlement to child benefit payments if the child completed an internship as part of vocational training (Az. 10 RKg 13/86).

Up to and including 2011, the own income and benefits of an adult child could lead to a loss of child benefit if this income and benefits exceeded the relevant limit . On January 1, 2012, this limit no longer applies.


Child benefit, child allowance and income limits in Germany
(official and inflation-adjusted amounts)

Valid from 1 child 2nd child 3rd child another
s. u. Child allowance Income limit of
the child
1954 - - 25 DM
(65 euros)
25 DM
(65 euros)
and 600–840 DM
(1,555–2,177 euros)
1961 - 25 DM
(57 euros)
25 DM
(57 euros)
25 DM
(57 euros)
and 1,200–1,800 DM
(2,729–3,982 euros)
1970 - 25 DM
(45 euros)
60 DM
(108 euros)
4th child:
60 DM
(108 euros)
From 5th child: 70 DM
(126 euros)
and 1,200–1,800 DM
(2,162–3,243 euros)
1975 50 DM
(67 euros)
70 DM
(94 euros)
120 DM
(161 euros)
120 DM
(161 euros)
- -
1978 50 DM
(60 euros)
78 DM
(94 euros)
150 DM
(181 euros)
150 DM
(181 euros)
- -
1983 50 DM
(48 euros)
78 DM
(74 euros)
150 DM
(143 euros)
150 DM
(143 euros)
and 432 DM
(412 euros)
1986 50 DM
(46 euros)
78 DM
(71 euros)
150 DM
(137 euros)
150 DM
(137 euros)
and 2,484 DM
(2,266 euros)
1989 50 DM
(44 euros)
100 DM
(88 euros)
220 DM
(193 euros)
240 DM
(210 euros)
and 2,484 DM
(2,174 euros)
July 1990 50 DM
(43 euros)
130 DM
(111 euros)
220 DM
(188 euros)
240 DM
(205 euros)
and 3,024 DM
(2,579 euros)
1992 70 DM
(55 euros)
130 DM
(102 euros)
220 DM
(172 euros)
240 DM
(188 euros)
and 4,104 DM
(3,212 euros)
1996 200 DM
(141 euros)
200 DM
(141 euros)
300 DM
(212 euros)
350 DM
(248 euros)
or 6,264 DM
(4,430 euros)
12,000 DM
(8,486 euros)
1997 220 DM
(153 euros)
220 DM
(153 euros)
300 DM
(208 euros)
350 DM
(243 euros)
or 6,912 DM
(4,792 euros)
12,000 DM
(8,319 euros)
1999 250 DM
(171 euros)
250 DM
(171 euros)
300 DM
(205 euros)
350 DM
(239 euros)
or 6,912 DM
(4,716 euros)
13,020 DM
(8,884 euros)
2000 270 DM
(182 euros)
270 DM
(182 euros)
300 DM
(202 euros)
350 DM
(236 euros)
or 9,936 DM
(6,686 euros)
13,500 DM
(9,084 euros)
2002 154 euros
(196 euros)
154 euros
(196 euros)
154 euros
(196 euros)
179 euros
(228 euros)
or 5,808 euros
(7,391 euros)
7,188 euros
(9,147 euros)
2004 154 euros
(191 euros)
154 euros
(191 euros)
154 euros
(191 euros)
179 euros
(222 euros)
or 5,808 euros
(7,195 euros)
7,680 euros
(9,514 euros)
2009 164 euros
(187 euros)
164 euros
(187 euros)
170 euros
(194 euros)
195 euros
(223 euros)
or 6,024 euros
(6,874 euros)
7,680 euros
(8,764 euros)
2010 184 euros
(208 euros)
184 euros
(208 euros)
190 euros
(214 euros)
215 euros
(243 euros)
or 7,008 euros
(7,910 euros)
8,004 euros
(9,034 euros)
2012 184 euros
(199 euros)
184 euros
(199 euros)
190 euros
(206 euros)
215 euros
(233 euros)
or 7,008 euros
(7,595 euros)
No limit
2015 188 euros
(198 euros)
188 euros
(198 euros)
194 euros
(204 euros)
219 euros
(231 euros)
or 7,152 euros
(7,531 euros)
2016 190 euros
(199 euros)
190 euros
(199 euros)
196 euros
(205 euros)
221 euros
(232 euros)
or 7,248 euros
(7,594 euros)
2017 192 euros
(198 euros)
192 euros
(198 euros)
198 euros
(204 euros)
223 euros
(230 euros)
or 7,356 euros
(7,593 euros)
2018 194 euros
(197 euros)
194 euros
(197 euros)
200 euros
(203 euros)
225 euros
(228 euros)
or 7,428 euros
(7,532 euros)
July 2019 204 euros 204 euros 210 euros 235 euros or 7,620 euros
2021 (planned) 219 euros 219 euros 225 euros 250 euro or 8,388 euros
  • “And” = child benefit and allowance are granted together;
    "Or" = Only child benefit or child allowance is granted, depending on what is more advantageous financially or tax-wise for the beneficiaries.

In the GDR, child benefit was paid as early as 1950, initially only from the fourth child. From 1969 there was child benefit for the first three children even before child benefit was paid for the first child in Germany. From 1987, the GDR received 50 marks for the first child, 100 marks for the second child and 150 marks for each additional child. There was also a system of birth allowances and regulations for the waiver of parts of the family start-up loan (7000 M) (see childbearing ), staggered according to the number of children.

Related topics


  • Bering, Stefan and Friedenberger, Martin: Reform of the family benefits and increase in child benefit and child allowance , NWB Steuer- und Wirtschaftsrecht 5/2017, 331
  • Bilsdorfer, Peter: Permanent and current construction sites in child benefit law. New Legal Weekly (NJW) 40/2011, 2913

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVerfG, November 10, 1998 , Az. 2 BvL 42/93 - Child Existence Minimum I
  2. Law to End the Special Responsibility of Family Benefits Offices in the Public Service in the Federal Area, Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2835
  3. BFH, March 23, 2005, AZ III R 91/03
  4. ECJ, October 22, 2015, AZ C-378/14
  5. BFH, February 4, 2016, AZ III R 17/13
  6. BFH, March 10, 2016, AZ III R 62/12
  7. BFH, September 25, 2014, AZ III R 10/14
  8. BFH, October 17, 2013, AZ III R 22/13
  9. BFH, February 15, 2017, AZ III B 93/16
  10. BSG, February 19, 2009, AZ B 10 KG 2/07 R
  11. BSG, April 8, 1992, AZ 10 RKg 12/91
  12. LSG Niedersachsen-Bremen, February 20, 2011, AZ L 8/3 KG 5/00
  13. BFH, July 13, 2016, AZ XI R 16/15
  14. ^ Bundesfinanzhof, judgment of May 16, 2013 - III R 8/11
  15. BFH, February 5, 2015, AZ III R 19/14
  16. BSG, May 5, 2015, AZ B 10 KG 1/14 R
  17. See DA FamEStG on § 62 EStG
  18. See for example the judgment of the Finanzgericht Schleswig-Holstein (Az .: 4 K 138), No child benefit for children in Turkey
  19. "Organized fraud in child benefits for EU foreigners" of May 30, 2017
  20. August 9, 2018: The number of foreign child benefit recipients is increasing
  21. 83 percent of Germans against child benefit payments to other EU countries , August 10, 2018
  22. EU Commission rejects the new regulation of child benefit , August 15, 2018
  23. The GroKo explorers have agreed on this. In: Spiegel Online, January 12, 2018, accessed January 12, 2018 .
  24. | werk = | hrsg = Spiegel Online | datum = 2020-07-29 | access = 2020-07-29
  25. Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Cabinet decides child bonus for every child: child bonus. June 12, 2020, accessed August 2, 2020 .
  26. Federal Central Tax Office: Instructions for the implementation of the family benefit equalization according to Section X of the Income Tax Act. Status 2012 ( PDF ).
  27. BFH, judgment of March 19, 2002  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ), Az. VIII R 52/01; Full text.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  28. BFH, judgment of October 30, 2002 ( Memento of March 2, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), Az. VIII R 86/00; Full text
  29. Completion takes place at the end of the day before the birthday, § 187 Abs. 2 Satz 2 BGB , § 188 Abs. 2 BGB
  30. BFH, July 15, 2003, AZ VIII R 105/01
  31. BFH, June 9, 1999, AZ VI R 143/98
  32. BFH, April 28, 2010, AZ III R 93/08
  33. BFH, April 2, 2009, AZ III R 85/08
  34. BFH, March 18, 2009, AZ III R 26/06
  35. BFH, judgment of March 21, 2019, AZ III R 17/18
  36. BFH, judgment of July 3, 2014, AZ III R 52/13
  37. BFH, September 3, 2015, AZ VI R 9/15
  38. BFH, judgment of February 4, 2016, AZ III R 14/15
  39. BFH, judgment of December 11, 2018, AZ III R 26/18
  40. BFH, judgment of February 20, 2019, AZ III R 42/18
  41. BFH, June 13, 2013, AZ III R 58/12
  42. BFH, March 18, 2009, AZ III R 33/07
  43. Karlsruhe confirms guesswork with child benefit . August 12, 2010
  44. Child benefit for children of legal age . January 21, 2019
  45. BFH, October 15, 1999, AZ VI R 40/98
  46. BFH, August 24, 2004, AZ VIII R 50/03
  47. BFH, August 24, 2004, AZ VIII R 59/01
  48. BFH, April 13, 2016, AZ III R 28/15
  49. BFH, February 9, 2012, AZ III R 53/10
  50. BFH, August 31, 2006, AZ III R 71/05
  51. BFH, November 26, 2003, AZ VIII R 32/02
  52. BFH, August 19, 2002, AZ VIII R 17/02
  53. BFH, December 14, 2001, AZ VI B 178/01
  54. BFH, November 19, 2008, AZ III R 105/07
  55. BFH, April 30, 2014, AZ XI R 24/13
  56. BFH, April 16, 2002, AZ VIII R 50/01
  57. BFH, February 9, 2009, AZ III R 37/07
  58. BFH, December 17, 2008, AZ III R 6/07
  59. BFH, April 18, 2013, AZ VR 48/11
  60. Child benefit: Payment also more than six months retrospectively , accessed on May 15, 2019.
  61. ↑ Useful information on child benefit from the VLH eV , accessed on September 11, 2014.
  62. § 1612b BGB - single standard. Retrieved November 9, 2017 .
  63. § 11 SGB II income to be taken into account. Retrieved November 9, 2017 .
  64. Payment dates 2018. Federal Employment Agency (BA), accessed on August 16, 2018 .
  66. More immigrants are applying for Hartz IV and child benefit. In: May 3, 2013, accessed April 2, 2018 .
  68. Union wants to cut child benefits for EU foreigners
  69. calls for a reduction in child benefit for EU foreigners
  70. ^ Organized fraud in child benefits for EU foreigners
  71. rad./dpa: Almost 350 million euros in child benefit go abroad. In: . March 21, 2018, accessed October 13, 2018 .
  72. (referring to an interview in Bild am Sonntag ):
  73. Klaus Jörg Ruhl: Ordained subordination. Working women between economic growth and conservative ideology in the post-war period (1945–1963). Oldenbourg Verlag 1994, p. 161.
  74. BGBl. 1961 I p. 1001
  75. Federal Law Gazette 1970 I p. 1725
  76. BGBl. 1975 I p. 312
  77. BMF: Data collection on tax policy 2007 - Tables 20.2 and 20.4  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) and BMF: Data collection on tax policy 2008 - Table 20.1.1 ( Memento from September 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  78. Table of the Federal Office for Central Services ( Memento from September 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on June 8, 2013.