What's up with the parental allowance? (Elterngeld)

What's up with the parental allowance (Elterngeld)?

Parental allowances (Elterngeld) are usually intended to provide financial support to young parents. It is a way to compensate for the salary an individual would have earned if they were not on paternal o maternal leave (Mutterschaftsurlaub). Taking care of a newborn baby in modern society is increasingly becoming costly and for this reason, parental allowances enable parents to take care of their newborn babies with less strain.

Maximum support payment time is usually 14 months. How the parents chose to divide this duration is up to them. A parent is allowed to apply for at least 2 months paternity or maternity leave, which should bot exceed 12 months. For the remaining 8 weeks, the parental allowance (Elterngeld) will only be paid of both parents are actively participating in caring for their child. Single parents, however, are eligible for the parental allowance for 14 months.

Parental allowance (Elterngeld): from a tax law perspective

If the state pays parental allowance (Elterngeld), for instance, it means that it will remain tax-free in theory. However, the progression clause (Progressionsvorbehalt) applies in this scenario, meaning that if the individual tax rate increases then the tax payable increases. As progression reservation implies, most state benefits are tax-free but the tax burden increases when it is time to claim these benefits. It is important for a family to expect and address possible tax arrears to prevent the rude awakening.

It is significant to the tax returns

A parent becomes obliged to file a tax return when he or she draws any amount in parental allowance. This kind of financial support is considered as income and on this basis, may be used to determine the tax rate of the parent. Employment is not a factor, therefore, it does not matter whether the individual is in employment or self-employed.

Who gets parental benefits (Elterngeld)?

The necessary condition is that the parent or parents care for the child after birth. In addition to that, the parents should not spend more than 30 hours per week working and the child must live in his or her parents' household. These are the basic conditions for parental benefits (Elterngeld) and failure to meet either one or all of them result in forfeiting parental benefits.

The following are entitled to parental allowance (Elterngeld):

  • Employees
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Students
  • Trainees
  • Separated parents
  • Single parents
  • Unemployed parents
  • Officers

How high do the parental benefits (Elterngeld) amount to?

For this question, there is no general answer as the amount issued as parental allowance (Elterngeld) varies under certain conditions. However, the minimum amount that could be issued at one particular time is €300 while the maximum amount is €1,800. Primarily, when determining the amount of parental allowance to be issued, the average nett income of the caring parent is considered. This is measured using the nett income of the last year before the birth of the child. This is graded as follows:

  • Earnings of less than €1,000 usually attract up to 100% parental allowance.
  • Earnings from €1,000 to €1,200 attracts 67% as parental allowance
  • Earnings of €1,222 euros attract 66% as parental allowance.
  • Earnings from €1,240 attract 65% as parental allowance.

How do you apply for parental benefits (Elterngeld)?

To receive a parental allowance (Elterngeld), one must secure the successful application of the same. If both parents are caring for the child under one household, then they will require separate applications for both to acquire financial support. Application for parental benefits must not necessarily be done immediately after birth. However, parent or parents must submit the application within the first three months after birth. This translates to a 3-month retroactive payment done by the Social Security Administration. Here is a simple and easy way to apply for parental allowance.

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