You can get financial support for several months after your child is born if you look after them yourself and do not have a full income during this time. This support is called parental allowance (Elterngeld). It's supposed to replace your normal income during this time. Parental allowance is primarily intended for parents who take parental leave (Elternzeit). You do not have to claim parental allowance in one go. You may pause it and you may receive it at the same time as or overlapping with your partner. How you divide these months among yourselves is up to you. You do not have to start receiving parental allowance without any gaps until your child is 15 months old, otherwise the months that are still available to you will expire. If you want to apply for parental allowance (Elterngeld), there are a few things to consider.
There are different forms of parental allowance (Elterngeld) available, which can be combined in several ways. Which option is best for you depends on several factors. These include, for example, whether you are a single parent or live in a partnership and whether you have other children. Basic Parental Allowance (Basiselterngeld) is the classic form of parental allowance (Elterngeld). You can get it for up to twelve months. It's especially useful if you don't want to work for the first year after giving birth. The other form is Parental Allowance Plus (ElterngeldPlus). It is only half as high as Basic Parental Allowance, but it is paid for up to 24 months. Parental Allowance Plus is ideal if you would like to return to work soon after giving birth and work part-time, for example. It is important to clarify when after giving birth you would like to go back to work and how you as a couple would like to divide child care between you.
Both mothers and fathers can receive parental allowance (Elterngeld). The prerequisite for this is that you live in a household with your child, look after and raise the child yourself and do not work more than 32 hours per week. Parental allowance is available for those who are employed, self-employed, unemployed, students or trainees. Single parents, adoptive parents, or married stepparents are also eligible for parental allowance. The same applies to same-sex civil partners. If your partnership is a civil partnership, you can also claim parental allowance for your child whom you’ve adopted. In special cases, even relatives can receive parental allowance. Foreign parents can also apply for parental allowance. You can get more information about this from your local parental allowance office (Elterngeldstelle).
Parents are entitled to up to twelve months Basic Parental Allowance (Basiselterngeld) or up to 24 months Parental Allowance Plus (ElterngeldPlus). But that’s not all. If you both take parental leave (Elternzeit) and each of you claims at least two months of parental allowance, you can get two extra months of Basic Parental Allowance. Of course, you can also receive these so-called ‘partner months’ in the form of four months Parental Allowance Plus. In total, you will receive 14 months of Basic Parental Allowance with the ‘partner months’. This depends on at least one of you having a reduction in income for at least 2 months after the birth. It is best to ask your local parental allowance office (Elterngeldstelle) what else there is to consider when applying for the ‘partner months’. You may even be entitled to the ‘partner months’ as a single parent. Recipients of Unemployment Benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II) cannot receive ‘partner months’.
Basic Parental Allowance (Basiselterngeld) ranges from €300 to €1800 per month. Parental Allowance Plus (ElterngeldPlus) provides €150 to €900 per month. If you have not had any income up to now, you will receive the minimum amount of €300 Basic Parental Allowance or €150 Parental Allowance Plus. The amount of parental allowance (Elterngeld) you can receive depends upon how much you have earned so far and how much additional income you will have while you are receiving parental allowance. In principle, you are entitled to 65 percent of your lost net income as parental allowance. However, this only applies up to a net income of €2,770. If you earn more, you still get a maximum of €1,800 per month. Whether you receive other state benefits and whether you have other small children also play a role in the determination of how much parental allowance you receive. You are entitled to parental allowance even if you are self-employed or decide to continue working for a maximum of 30 hours a week after the birth of your child and earn the same as before the new addition to the family.
If there are other young children in your household or if you are caring for a child with a disability, you can get an additional sibling bonus. This will increase the amount of your parental allowance by ten percent. The increase for Basic Parental Allowance is at least €75 per month and €37.50 per month for Parental Allowance Plus. Parental allowance is also increased for twins and multiples. With the Basic Parental Allowance option, you receive an additional €300 per multiple child per month. In the case of the Parental Allowance Plus option, it’s €150 per multiple child per month.