Children's Allowance - Kindergeld in Germany

Taxpaying expatriate residents of Germany are, like Germans, entitled to Kindergeld if they have children. This is an allowance from the German government to help defray some of the cost of raising children. It can run from €184 to €215 per child per month, and is usually made by a fund transfer into a German bank account.

Just about any taxpayer with children can get the Kindergeld, whether employed, self employed or independent. You get it as a rule until the children turn 18, though it can continue until they are 25 if they are still in school. You get €184 per month for each of the first two children, €190 for the third child and €215 for each subsequent one.

Adopted and foster children qualify you for the Kindergeld, as do children of your spouse and your grandchildren if they live in your household. People living abroad can also get it if they have an unrestricted obligation to pay German income taxes.

In most cases it is the parents who are entitled to the money, not the children, though an exception can be made in the case of orphans, or parents whose whereabouts are unknown.

You apply for Kindergeld at your local labor office (Agentur für Arbeit), with a written form that must be signed. Another party can make the application if you grant them power of attorney.

A downloadable copy of the application is available here. An oral application, as with a phone call, or an application by e-mail is not possible. Take with you the original birth certificates of your children, translations of them if they are not in German, your passport and €5.

Be sure to report it if you are getting child support money from another country. If a child has an income of more than €8,004 per year through a trust fund, employment, etc. the parents are not entitled to Kindergeld.

Once your employment ends or you or your children leave Germany, you must notify the agency that pays you Kindergeld to stop the payments. Failure to make such notification will give rise to claims for repayment of any amounts improperly received.

For information on Kindergeld (in German) check www.bmfsfj.de, www.sozialleistungen.info or www.steuertipps.de.

Click here to download a German language brochure in pdf format from the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend