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What is Elterngeld?
In Germany, Elterngeld was introduced by the last government in order to lessen the burden on a family after a baby is born. It is a fabulous invention in my opinion! Basically Elterngeld is a (partial) replacement of your income after you have a baby for a duration of 12 or 14 months (depending on your circumstances). In this post I will outline who is eligible for Elterngeld, how much one can receive and how to apply.
Who is eligible for Elterngeld?
Anybody who foregoes income in order to look after their baby and does not work more than 30 hours per week during this time can receive Elterngeld. The baby must live in the same household as you and must be ordinarily resident in Germany. Eligible are employees, students, house wives/husbands and the self-employed. If you receive Hartz IV or earn over € 500 000/year you will however not receive any Elterngeld. Source, source
How much Elterngeld will I receive?
Elterngeld is calculated based on the net income of the applying parent in the twelve months prior to the birth of a child. Here is a breakdown of the payment you will receive based on your average net income in the twelve months prior to having your baby:
- € 1000 - € 1200 per month = 67 % of your income
- € 1220 per month = 66 %of your income
- € 1240 or more = 65% of your income
If you have not worked prior to having your baby you will receive a minimum Elterngeld of € 300/month. You will not receive any Elterngeld however if you are receiving Arbeitslosengeld II (Hartz IV) or other social benefits. Source
If you understand German, you can calculate your Elterngeld claim online.
For how long will I receive Elterngeld?
Elterngeld is paid for a total of fourteen months after the birth of a child. One parent cannot however receive all the fourteen months and the months must be split at least 12:2 between the parents. The parents can decide how many months the father and mother each take themselves. So for example, the mother can take eight months and the father six months and this can be taken at the same time or subsequently to each other. Of course, the Elterngeld of each parent is based on the income they themselves earned before the birth of the baby so this should be considered when planning on how many months each to take.
The Elterngeld is paid not from the 1st of one month to the first of the next month but rather always from the date the child was born on, e.g. the 9th of the month until the 9th of the next month. Single parents can receive fourteen months of Elterngeld. Source
How do I apply for Elterngeld?
You can apply for Elterngeld using this form (for Berlin) which then needs to be sent to your local Jugendamt. All other Elterngeld-related forms can be found here.
For ideas of what to do with children in Berlin, check out my 'To Do in Berlin' section.
Berlin for all the Family can also be found on: