Services for Families

Child Benefits

If your children accompany you to Germany and you are a citizen of an EU member state, the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), or Switzerland you are entitled to receive child benefits both as a scholarship holder and an employee of the University of Kassel. If you come from any other country, you only qualify for benefits if you have:

·         an unlimited settlement permit or

·         a residence permit for the purpose of employment or

·         a residence permit for the purpose of family reunion with a German citizen or a person covered by one of the above two points

You can obtain information on your entitlement to child benefits from the Familienkasse Kassel.

Familienkasse Kassel

Opening times:
Monday, Tuesday, Friday 07:30 - 12:00
Thursday 07:30 - 18:00
Friday 8:00 - 12:30
Familienkasse: information on Kindergeld

Agentur für Arbeit

Theaterstr. 3
34117 Kassel

+49 1801 - 543637
+49 561 701-1670

Child benefits are always paid only to one entitled person: generally, the parent with whom the child lives. This regulation is important for separated parents. Currently (July 2008), the entitled person receives 154 Euro for each of the first three children, and 179 Euro for the fourth and each successive child.

Child benefits are paid until the child's 18th birthday, but may continue up to the age of 25 if the child is still attending school, engaged in vocational training or higher education, and has a personal income below 7,680 Euro per year. In exceptional cases, payment can also continue after the age of 25.

If you have a work contract with the University of Kassel and are therefore employed in the public sector, you will receive child benefits directly from your employer together with your monthly salary.

In any other case you will have to apply for benefits in writing at the Familienkasse.  Back payments can be claimed for up to one calendar year and, in some cases, as many as 4 years. You can obtain further information on child benefits and application forms to download from the Federal Employment Agency.

Even if you receive no child benefits, you are still entitled to tax relief for dependent children (see Tax Relief for Dependent Children).

Download child allowance information sheet.

Tax Relief for Dependent Children

Tax exemption can be claimed for dependent children. The tax-free allowance is 152 Euro per month per parent, meaning 304 Euro for two parents who are taxed jointly. In certain circumstances, this tax relief can also be transferred to a stepparent or a grandparent if the child lives in this person's household.

Generally, tax relief concerns only those parents with very high income for whom the tax relief may be higher than child benefits. As a rule, the tax office (Finanzamt) examines which option is most advantageous for you when processing your income tax statement (Einkommenssteuererklärung).

Maternity Benefits

The Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz, MuSchG) grants particular protection to all employed women during pregnancy and after giving birth. This protection also applies for international scientists who are employed in Germany.

The official maternity period (Mutterschutzfrist) commences 6 weeks before the anticipated date of delivery. It generally ends 8 weeks after birth, but this is extended to 12 weeks for premature and multiple births. Hence, all female employees have a right to at least 14 weeks maternity leave (Mutterschutzfrist).

Maternity benefits (Mutterschaftsgeld) are paid by statutory health insurance during this maternity period before and after birth. You must submit a certificate from the expecting mother's medical practitioner specifying the anticipated date of delivery. This certificate must be issued a maximum of 7 weeks before the anticipated date. In addition, the mother must have been covered by statutory health insurance for at least 12 weeks between the fourth and tenth months of pregnancy, and be able to confirm that she was employed or was receiving Arbeitslosengeld I (ALG I, unemployment benefits paid during the first 12-18 months of unemployment), maintenance payments (Unterhaltsgeld), or Arbeitslosengeld II (ALG II, unemployment benefits paid after the first 12-18 months of unemployment) at the beginning of the maternity period (Mutterschutzfrist).

Mutterschaftsgeld (maternity benefits) must also be applied for with the statutory health insurance provider. If you are employed at the beginning of the maternity period (Mutterschutzfrist) and insured with a statutory provider, you are entitled to maternity benefits equal to your current net income. Your health insurance (Krankenkasse) and your employer pay this jointly. The health insurance (Krankenkasse) payments are calculated on the basis of your average net income over the last 3 calendar months. This net income is then converted into a daily rate. If your net income is more than 13 Euro per day, the staturtory health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenkasse) pays 13 Euro and your employer is required to contribute the remainder. If your net income is below 390 Euro a month, only the health insurance (Krankenkasse) pays. If, for example, you earn 300 Euro net, the statutory health insurance (gesetzlichen Krankenkasse) will pay you 300 Euro a month during your maternity (Mutterschutz).

Housewives are not entitled to maternity benefits (Mutterschaftsgeld).

If you are unemployed, you have a right to maternity benefits (Mutterschaftsgeld) equal to the unemployment benefits you were receiving before the beginning of the maternity period (Mutterschutzfrist) - as long as you were still entitled to unemployment benefits on the first day of the maternity period (Mutterschutzfrist).

Private insurance providers generally pay only a one-time maternity benefit of approximately 200 Euro. The employer contribution is calculated in the same way as with statutory health insurance. As a result, employed pregnant women generally receive 13 Euro per working day less than those with statutory health insurance. If you have private health insurance, you must send your application for a one-time maternity benefit (Mutterschaftsgeld) to the federal insurance office (Bundesversicherungsamt).


Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 38
53113 Bonn

+49 228 6191888
daily 9:00 - 12:00
Thursday 9:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 15:00
+49 228 6191877

Parental Allowances

The new parent allowance law (Elterngeldgesetz) came into effect on January 1, 2007. As a result, parents of children born on or after this date are entitled to receive parental allowances (Elterngeld).

All parents are eligible for parental allowances (Elterngeld) if they take on the main responsibility for rearing their newborn child during the first 14 months and are therefore unable to take up full employment. Elterngeld (parental allowance) is paid to fathers and mothers for a maximum of 14 months, and the two parents can divide this period between themselves as they choose. One parent can receive parental allowance (Elterngeld) for a maximum of 12 months; the remaining 2 months are reserved as an option for the other parent. Parents are paid 67% of lost income up to a maximum of 1,800 Euro per month. The minimum parental allowance (Elterngeld) is 300 Euro.

Parental allowance (Elterngeld) is available for employed parents, civil servants, self-employed parents, unemployed parents, college students, apprentices, adoptive parents, and in some cases, third-degree relatives when parents are unable to rear their child due to serious illness or other exceptional circumstances. Persons working more than 30 hours per week after the child's birth have no right to parental allowance (Elterngeld).

International scientists who are citizens of an EU member state, the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), or Switzerland can also claim parental allowance (Elterngeld). Other international scientists have the right to claim parental allowance (Elterngeld) if they have:

  • an unlimited settlement permit or
  • a residence permit for the purpose of employment or
  •  a residence permit for the purpose of family reunion with a German citizen or a person covered by one of the above two points

If you work part-time for a maximum of 30 hours per week after the birth of your child, you will receive 67% of lost (per-birth) income up to a maximum monthly pay out of 2,700 Euro.

The application form for Elterngeld (parental allowance) should be submitted to the Elterngeldstelle Kassel at the following address:

Amt für Versorgung und Soziales

Frankfurter Straße 84 A
34121 Kassel
+49 561 2099 - 0
+49 561 2099 - 240

Elterngeldstelle Kassel

Opening times:
Monday to Thursday 8:00 to 15:30
Friday 8:00 to 12:00
Website on parent allowances

You can obtain further information about parental allowance (Elterngeld) from the webpages of the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, and Youth).

Parental Allowance Calculator:

Website: Parental Allowance Calculator

Download parental allowance information sheet.