Kindergeld - a special support for families in Germany

Let us talk about the concept of Kindergeld in Germany, its eligibility criteria, application procedure and other common questions.

Dr. Paras Mehta
Dr. Paras Mehta

When you become parents there are a lot of new responsibilities and costs in your life, because as we all know, having children is wonderful but it changes your budget for sure. The German government wants to support families and make sure, that child poverty is reduced. Therefore it provides special payments for families with children, the so called Kindergeld ("children money").

Apart from Kindergeld, another form of support for families is Elterngeld. Read our post (link below) to know more about Elterngeld.

What is Elterngeld and how can you apply for it?
All that you need to know about Elterngeld - a financial support for parents in Germany.

Who can apply for Kindergeld?

Every parent who lives in Germany with his or her child can apply for Kindergeld. Sometimes it’s even possible to get the money if you are living in a different country in the EU. Then it depends on where you pax your taxes.

You can get Kindergeld for:

  • Your own children
  • Stepchildren
  • Adopted children
  • Foster children
  • Grandchildren, that are living with you

How much money do I get and how long does the country pay for my child?

Good news: The state has just increased the amount of money :). So from 2021 on, you get 204 Euros a month for each child if you have one or two children. For a third child you’ll get 210 Euros a month and from the fourth child on you’ll get 235 Euros.

You have a right to get Kindergeld till your child turns 18. But 18 doesn’t necessarily mean financially independent. So if your child visits university or is in vocational training, you get the money till he or she is 25 years old.

If your children are not able to work, for example because they are handicapped, you can get the money till they are 21 years old.

When can I apply for Kindergeld and is there a deadline?

Right after your child is born, you can apply for Kindergeld. The money can get paid for 6 months backdated. So make sure, you apply for the money before your child is 6 months old.

If you move to Germany from another country, you should make sure to apply for the money at the earliest point of time but 6 months after you moved at the very latest.

Do I get Kindergeld for my children if I am a foreigner?

Yes. But of course it’s not that easy. You have to meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • You are a citizen of the EU or of Switzerland.
  • You have the citizenship of one of the following countries: Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegowina, Kosovo, Morocco, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunesia or Turkey.
  • You have a job in Germany (sozialversicherungspflichtig) or you get unemployment benefits (Arbeitslosengeld).
  • You have a residence permit or a permanent residence permit.
  • You are a recognized refugee.

Do I received Kindergeld if I work in Germany but my child lives abroad?

That is no problem. As long as you work in Germany and pay taxes here, you get money for your child, even if he or she lives in another country. And it dosen’t matter if you are a citizen of the EU or not.

And the most important question - How and where can I apply?

To get Kindergeld you have to fill out an application form at the Familienkasse at the Agentur für Arbeit (Arbeitsamt).

You can find the application form online:

For a newborn child:

If you need more information or you need to apply for an older child, you can get in touch with the Familienkasse directly.

If you want to apply, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Your Steuer-ID (tax identification number)
  • The Steuer-ID of your child (you will get this number about 2 weeks after his or her birth from the Finanzamt)
  • Personal information about you and your child
  • Details of your bank account

Can I still get Kindergeld if I go back to India?

Unfortunately that is not possible. You have to live and work in Germany to get the money. Maybe there are exceptions if you are working for a German company in India or if you still pay taxes in Germany. In that special case you would have to check this with the Familienkasse.

As you see, Germany wants to make life easier for families. Maybe it doesn’t sound like that much money but especially if you have more children it can really make a difference in your monthly budget.

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Dr. Paras Mehta

Software developer and data scientist PhD FU Berlin | Marie Curie and Erasmus Mundus fellow | BTech DTU | Visiting Researcher Cambridge

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