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Parental allowance from Germany (Elterngeld)

5th Mar 2023

Who is entitled to parental allowance from Germany and what is needed to get it?

Parental allowance (Elterngeld)

Parental allowance ensures the economic existence of families while caring for a child. It is a continuation of the maternity benefit. There are three variants of parental allowance in Germany, namely:

  • Elterngeld or basic parental allowance,
  • ElterngeldPlus, or parental allowance plus,
  • Partnerschaftsbonus, or partner bonus.

Basic parental allowance (Elterngeld)

The basic parental allowance can be received for 12 months in amounts ranging from €300 to €1,800. In addition to the basic parental allowance or the 12-month period, it is possible to receive two additional "partner months". Both parents are entitled to 2 additional partner months provided that at least one of them has a lower income two months after the birth than before the birth. Both parents can apply for parental allowance and can split the months between them (one parent can claim a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 12 months).

The basic parental allowance can only be received in the first 14 months of the child's life (except for exceptions that apply to premature babies).

Parental allowance plus (ElterngeldPlus)

Parental allowance plus is a distribution of the basic allowance over a longer period with half the amount of the allowance. One month of basic allowance equals two months of allowance plus. The plus allowance can therefore be received for up to 28 months (12 basic months + 2 partner months × 2) in amounts ranging from €150 to €900.

Partner bonus (Partnerschaftsbonus)

This is 4 additional months of parental allowance plus. The additional months can be obtained provided the parents work part-time between 24 and 32 hours per week during this period.

The basic parental allowance, the parental allowance plus and the partner bonus can be combined between parents in different ways, e.g.:

Age of child Type of parental allowance Applicant
1st to 6th month of child's life Basic parental allowance Mother
7th to 10th month of child's life Partner's bonus Mother and father
11th to 14th month of child's life Basic parental allowance Father
15th to 22nd month of child's life Parental allowance plus Mother

Amount of parental allowance

The amount of the parental allowance depends on the applicant's personal life situation and also on the type of parental allowance chosen. It is paid monthly.

The minimum amount, or €300 for the basic parental allowance and €150 for the plus allowance, will be paid to a claimant who did not work before the birth of the child. Otherwise, the allowance is 65% of the net salary before the birth (a maximum monthly amount of € 2,770 is taken into account).

The approximate amount of the parental allowance can be found using the online calculator of the German Family Portal.

Entitlement to parental allowance

Every mother and father of a child, adoptive parent, step-parent or grandparent is entitled to parental allowance:

  • is resident, habitually resident or has a residence permit in Germany,
  • lives in the same household as the child,
  • raises and personally cares for the child,
  • does not work at all or does not work more than 32 hours per week,
  • had an annual income of no more than €250,000 in the last tax year before the birth (for parents, the combined income must not exceed €300,000).

EU/EEA citizens who are employed or living in Germany are also entitled to parental allowance if the conditions are met.

A mother who did not work before the birth of the child and lives with the child in her home country or in an EU country and the father is employed in Germany. In this case, Germany, as the only country of employment of the parents, is obliged to pay parental allowance.

I want to check my entitlement to German parental allowance

Application for parental allowance

An application for parental allowance can be made either in person or by post via the your nearest local parental allowance office.

For the application you will need:

  • An application form (available from the parental allowance office),
  • the original of the child's birth certificate,
  • a certificate from the health insurance company stating that you have received maternity benefit (if any),
  • a certificate from the employer for the maternity allowance (in the case of an employee),
  • proof of salary during maternity leave (in the case of an employee),
  • proof of salary for the last 12 months before the start of maternity leave (in the case of an employee).

Parental allowance can be received up to 3 months back!

You can also apply for German child benefit

Receipt of child benefit is not incompatible with receipt of parental allowance.

Parental allowance is exempt from income tax. However, it is included in the husband's income (if the wife is on parental leave) to determine the tax rate at which his income is taxed. The 'Parental Allowance Notice' must therefore be attached to the tax return.

I want help with filing my German tax return