Parental benefits provide relief for the loss of income following the birth of a child, especially when parents reduce or interrupt their employment. There are two kinds of parental benefits: basic parental benefits and parental benefits plus (the latter is only for children who are born as of July 1, 2015).
The amount of the parental benefit depends on the average monthly income (after deducting taxes, social contributions and advertising costs) that the respective parent received in the twelve months before the child's birth. The basic parental benefit is at least 300 euros per month and goes up to a maximum of 1,800 euros per month. Parental benefits plus lies between 150 euros and 900 euros per month. Parents who do not work receive the minimum amount of 300 euros per month or 150 euros per month with parental benefits plus.
The basic parental benefit is paid to the parents for a maximum of fourteen months (up to the child's fourteenth month); both parents can divide up this period between them. One parent can take a maximum of twelve months of parental benefits, and the other parent can get two more months if she / he also takes time off to care for the child and loses income during this time. Single parents who were working before the birth of the child can claim a total of fourteen months of basic parental benefits.
Parental benefits plus is an option for those parents who would like to continue working for a maximum of 30 hours a week after the birth of their child. They receive parental benefits for twice as long as the basic parental benefit, although only at a maximum of half the monetary amount. Furthermore, if both parents work simultaneously for four months, each for 25 to 30 hours a week, then parental benefits plus will pay an additional four months per parent.
EU nationality or residence permit under §18 (not §18.2), §19, §19a or §20
You care for your child yourself after its birth and live together with it in one household
Your residence or usual place of residence is in Germany
You work a maximum of 30 hours / week (for parental benefits plus, this applies for you and your spouse / life partner)
Your family income cannot have exceeded 500,000 euros in the twelve months before the birth of your child (for single parents, the upper limit is 250,000 euros)
Application and Deadlines
Your application for parental benefits must be submitted in writing to the parental benefits office (= Elterngeldstelle) responsible for where you live. You can submit the application together with your spouse / life partner or separately. You have three months' time after the day your child is born to submit your application if you want to take full advantage of the temporal scope of parental benefits. Parental benefits are paid retroactively for up to three months as of the time at which the application is submitted.
Please note that processing times in Potsdam and Berlin may last up to three months.
Application forms and appendices (see the download box at the end of the page)
Original birth certificate for the newborn that is labeled "für Elterngeld"
Confirmation from your health insurance company regarding (non-)receipt of maternal benefits
Information on health insurance from both the child's mother and father
Tax identification numbers
Identification and / or passports
Residence permit, if applicable
If you would like to apply for an income-dependent amount of the basic parental benefit or for parental benefit plus (i.e., not the minimum amount of basic parental benefit of 300 euros / month), then you will also need the following documents:
Income statements for the twelve months preceding the birth of your child
Parental leave confirmation from employer
Proof of child allowance for older children, if applicable
Certificate of university enrollment, if applicable
Translations of foreign benefits that are comparable with parental benefits in Germany, if applicable
Only applicable if your child was born until June 30, 2015:
A few sections of the application form must be filled out and signed by your employer
For those with nationality in a third state, a few sections of the application form must be filled out and signed by the Foreigners' Registration Office
You receive a sibling bonus of 10% to your parental benefits if you have one more child under three years of age, two children under six years of age, or one disabled child under fourteen years of age. For multiple births, you receive a supplement of 300 euros / month per child.
The following state benefits are calculated against the parental benefit:
Maternity benefits as well as the supplement to maternity benefits from your employer
Benefits from abroad that are comparable with maternity and parental benefits
Grants under the civil service law for a period in which a physician declares a pregnant woman unfit for work