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Parental benefits in Germany (Elterngeld in Germany)

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

Soon after your delivery in Germany, you may be eligible to receive Elterngeld - a

social benefit provided from the German social security system. Parental benefit is

given to all new parents to manage the loss of earnings caused by the time off work due to the birth of your child.

Parental allowance provides support for parents who work less or not at all after the childbirth to take care of the child. Parental allowance is available to each parent. While receiving parental allowance, you may work up to 30 hours per week. However, It is also possible to not work at all. Which means, you don’t have to interrupt your higher education or vocational training in order to receive parental allowance.


To become eligible for receiving parental allowance,

  • You look after the child from his / her birth by yourself.

  • You may work only up to 30 hours per week during the period you receive the allowance.

  • You and your child must be living together in the same house.

  • You must hold a permanent residence permit, or a work permit.

  • You and your partner’s (if applicable) combined annual income must not exceed €500.000.

You may also claim parental allowance if you look after a child from birth, even if it is not your own child, OR if you adopt a child aged up to eight years.

Types of parental allowances

There are three kinds of parental allowance: basic parental allowance, parental allowance plus, and the partnership bonus.

You receive basic parental allowance for at least two months and up to your child's first birthday. If you both draw parental allowance, you can receive it for 14 months in total. You are free to divide up these months between the father and the mother / partners. You can draw basic parental allowance together, consecutively or alternately. Single parents are also entitled to the additional two months.

Basic parental allowance ranges from 300 to 1800 euros per month, depending on your income prior to the birth of your child. As a rule, it amounts to 65 percent of your net income. Parents with a low income receive up to 100 percent of their net income. If you are working part-time while drawing parental allowance, this has an impact on the level of your parental allowance. Your income after your child's birth is taken into account. If you had no income before the birth, you can receive a minimum amount. If you have other small children or the newborns are twins, you may receive higher amounts.

Use the parental allowance calculator to calculate how much exactly you can get.

Parental allowance Plus

You can extend the period of receiving the allowance with the parental allowance plus.

Parental allowance plus is provided for twice as long as the duration of basic parental allowance. If you do not work after the birth, parental allowance plus amounts to half as much as basic parental allowance.

If you work part-time after the birth, parental allowance plus may amount to the same as basic parental allowance in combination with part-time work.

Parental allowance plus may be especially worthwhile then because it is the same or almost the same amount but can be drawn for twice as long as basic parental allowance.

Parental allowance plus amounts to between 150 and 900 euros per month. You may combine both basic parental allowance and parental allowance plus to better use the benefits.

Partnership Bonus

Parents who share the responsibilities of the family and career evenly may receive the partnership bonus. It amounts to four additional months of parental allowance plus, which you receive if you both work part-time at the same time. If you are a single parent, it is enough if you alone fulfil the prerequisites.

Single parents can claim the bonus by working for 25 - 30 hours per week for four months.

How to apply for parental allowance?

You can fill out and submit your parental allowance application online if you live in Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein or Thuringia with ElterngeldDigital. After the calculation, your data may be transferred from the parental allowance calculator to ElterngeldDigital. Which rules out the inconvenience of entering your details twice.

The expansion of ElterngeldDigital to other federal states is in the planning phase. You may find the application forms for the other federal states here.

You must submit your application to your parental allowance office in person or by post.

Documents required to apply for the parental allowance

It takes around four weeks to process your application and receive a decision in the post once you submit the application.

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