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Applying for parental allowance


To apply for parental allowance successfully, there are many things you have to consider. In the following we will clarify the most important questions:

Here are the most important facts, if you want to apply for parental allowance:
  • ✔ You apply for parental allowance on the official application forms
  • ✔ Usually both parents have to sign them
  • ✔ Documents can also be submitted later
  • ✔ You have about three months to submit your application
  • ✔ The reference period may still be modified if necessary
  • ✔ Processing takes a few weeks
  • ✔ Parental allowance is usually paid on the first day of every month of life of your child.
The regulations on parental allowance can be very complicated. Get professional advice. Here you can access our parental benefit advice service.

How do I apply for parental allowance?

Parental allowance must be applied in using the official application forms for parental allowance.

Elterngeld Antrag NRW - Elterngeldantragsformular

You can only send the application to the responsible parental allowance authority after the birth of your child. Only then you will know the required information about the child (date of birth, name, etc.) and only in the first few weeks after the birth will you receive the mandatory documents for the parental benefit application (such as birth certificate, certificate of maternity benefit, employer's certificates, etc.).

Fill in the application forms as soon as possible before the birth and prepare the dispatch (envelopes and stamps). After the birth of your child you have more important things to do.

Normally, both parents must sign the parental allowance application. This also applies if only one parent applies for parental allowance. Exceptions only apply to single parents with sole custody of the child. Request a custody certificate from your youth welfare authority and enclose it with the parental allowance application.

If you live or work outside of Germany, you may also be entitled to parental allowance in Germany under certain conditions. When applying for German parental allowance, you should then apply for foreign benefits comparable to parental allowance and submit proof of receipt or rejection of such benefits. The parental allowance authority will then check whether the foreign benefit will be credited against the German parental allowance and whether any differences will be granted. You can find more information in our article Parental allowance for foreigners and cross-border commuters.

Which documents do I need for the application for parental allowance?

The following documents must always be submitted:

  • Original birth certificate of the child with the reason for payment "for parental allowance"
  • from both parents: a copy of the identity card or passport and the current residence permit
  • Notification of approval or rejection of maternity pay from the statutory health insurance companies before and after delivery or of daily sickness benefit for privately insured persons
  • Proof of income for the assessment period (salary statements, profit calculations, tax assessment notices, etc.)
  • Proof of parental leave granted by the employer

The following documents are to be submitted in addition, if necessary (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Proof of the employer's allowance during the maternity protection periods
  • Proof of receipt of daily sickness benefit due to a pregnancy-related illness plus a medical certificate
  • Notices of approval and cancellation of income replacement benefits during the assessment period (AlG I, sickness benefit, insolvency benefit, short-time work allowance, etc.)
  • Notifications of parental allowance for older siblings if the benefit extends into the assessment period for the baby
  • Proof of child benefit payments from older siblings
  • Proof (employer's certificate) of income from employment while receiving parental allowance (so-called earnings certificate)
  • Income forecast of the level of profit during the period considered (concerns self-employed persons)
  • For children born outside Germany in a country of the European Union, a copy of the birth certificate is sufficient. If your child was born outside the EU, you may need a certified German translation of the birth certificate for your application.

Employers may not refuse to hand over the documents required for the application (cf. § 9 BEEG). However, a note on the obligation to provide information is usually sufficient, otherwise the parental allowance authority will write to the employer itself.

The list contains the most important and most common types of evidence. In individual cases, but especially in the case of self-employed persons and parents with mixed incomes, additional evidence must sometimes be submitted. Our parental allowance software will create an individual list of the documents you have to submit after your parental allowance application has been generated. If you decide on a personal parental allowance consultation, we will of course tell you which documents you should also submit.

Are there any deadlines to be observed with regard to parental allowance?

You can apply for parental allowance within the first fourteen months of your child's life. In the case of adopted children or children taken in with the aim of adoption (so-called adoption care), the date of taking up residence in the household, rather than the actual date of birth, is decisive when applying for parental allowance.

Retroactive parental allowance is only granted for the last three months of life before the beginning of the month in which the application was received by the parental allowance office. Since parental allowance is based on the respective months of the child's life (not calendar months), an application must therefore receive a stamp of receipt from the competent authority on the last day of the child's 4th month of life at the latest, so that the entitlement to parental allowance applies retroactively from the birth of the child.

You can also send a fax within the deadline. Missing documents and information can also be submitted subsequently.

Birth on 05.03.2020 / application submitted on 20.08.2020
The parental allowance application was received by the parental allowance office in the child's sixth month of life. Therefore, parental allowance can only be paid for the third, fourth and fifth months of the child's life. This means that the application was submitted too late for the first and second month of life.

Birth on 05.03.2020 / Application submitted on 29.06.2020
The parental allowance application was received by the parental allowance office in the fourth month of the child's life. Therefore, parental allowance can be paid for the first, second and third months of the child's life. In this example, the last date for receiving parental allowance for the first month of life is 04.07.2020 (last day of the fourth month of life).

You want to quickly and easily calculate your parental allowance and plan the reference period? Use our parental allowance calculator.

Where do I have to send the application for parental benefit?

The parental allowance offices are responsible for determining the parental allowance. Each federal state regulates independently how it administers the parental allowance. As a rule, the districts and the cities that are independent of districts are responsible and have an authority in the Youth Welfare Office or Social Welfare Office. However, there are also exceptions. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, only one authority is responsible: The state-owned state bank "L-Bank".

Here you can find out which parental allowance office is responsible for you and how you can best contact it.

Can I submit documents later?

Yes, if you have already received a file number, please include it. Many parental benefit offices accept the subsequent submission of documents by e-mail.

How long does it take until I receive my parental allowance?

Normally, it should take between 4 and 6 weeks to process your complete parental allowance application. Unfortunately, the actual processing time sometimes takes much longer.

It is helpful if you submit your application completely and correctly and refrain from making interim checks by telephone.

If you want your application to be complete and correct, we recommend that you visit our personal parental allowance advice service. Here you will benefit from our many years of experience.

What are the payment dates for parental allowance?

Parental allowance is paid out regularly on the first day of the month of life for the coming month of life. If this day falls on a weekend or public holiday, the payment date is postponed to the next bank working day.

The child was born on 05.03.2020. The parental allowance was set at the correct amount in the notification of 20.04.2020. On 05.05.2020 (Tuesday) the applicant receives the parental allowance for the third month of life. Since 05.07.2020 is a Sunday, the payment of the parental allowance for the fifth month of life is postponed to 06.07.2020 (Monday).

A payment in one sum or other payment modalities are not intended.

Important note:
Because parental allowance is paid in advance for the month of life, there can quickly be an income gap at the end of the parental allowance withdrawal. If you receive the parental allowance at the beginning of the 12th month of life and start working again at the beginning of the 13th month of life, you may have an income gap in between because the wage is usually paid at the end of the month. Please therefore keep an eye on your cash flow.

Can I subsequently change my parental allowance application (reference period)?

It is possible to change the selected reference months, but only for periods in the future and for which no parental allowance has yet been paid. An informal written notification to the responsible administrator is sufficient for this.

However, there is an exception in the case of so-called special hardships. For example, if a parent unexpectedly becomes unemployed or falls so seriously ill that he or she can no longer be employed and the original plan for parental allowance no longer works, the Parental Allowance Office can, at its discretion, approve more extensive changes.

In addition, you can retroactively convert Parental AllowancePlus months into basic parental allowance months. However, not basic parental allowance months to Parental AllowancePlus months.

You can apply for the partnership bonus months independently of this, even at a later date (in case you meet the strict requirements).

Find your correct parental allowance application

Each federal state has its own application forms. Here you can find the applications for your federal states:

FAQ - Applying for parental allowance

How do I apply for parental allowance?

You apply for parental allowance on the official application forms. The application has to be submitted after the birth of your child.

Can I apply for parental allowance online?

Parental benefit offices sometimes offer online services that allow you to fill in your application online, but you still have to print out the forms at the end and send them by post. An exclusively digital version does not yet exist.

What documents do I need for the parental allowance application?

Birth certificates, proof of income, employer and health insurance certificates are required for the parental allowance application. Which documents are required in your case depends on your individual situation.

Are there any deadlines to be observed with regard to parental allowance?

You can apply for parental allowance retroactively for up to three calendar months.

How long does it take before I receive the parental benefit notification?

The processing times at the parental benefit offices vary considerably in some places. Normally, the processing time should not exceed four to six weeks, in some cases it can take up to 12 weeks. Be prepared for a long processing time and, if possible, put money aside for this time.

Too complicated? - Our tip

The parental allowance rules can be complicated. Make it easy and, like many other parents, use our services to get the most out of your parental allowance. We offer you many possibilities to make your application for parental leave as easy and uncomplicated as possible:

Parental Allowance Course Parental Money Software Personal Consultation