Child benefit for students: requirements, amount, application

Written by Kerstin Lakits, Nov 25, 2021

Studying can get quite expensive. Tuition fees, public transportation and all the other stuff you need for university add up and slowly empty your wallet. Fortunately, there’s financial support from the State that will make student life easier for you.

All the information about claim, maximum additional earning, amount and direct payment and so on can be quite confusing sometimes. Therefore, we have the most important facts about child benefit (also called family benefit) for you here.

Who can claim child benefit?

Technically, it’s not you who can claim child benefit, but your parents. This way the state helps parents with paying for their children. Since 2015, child benefit is automatically granted and paid at the child’s birth.

There are two main criteria for claiming child benefit.

  1. The parent’s centre of main interest has to be in Austria.
  2. The children are living with their parents or the parents are paying alimony.

In the first place, the mother can claim child benefit, but the father can do that as well, if the mother renounces it or if the father does the house keeping.

In theory, child benefit is only meant for children, but there is an exception for everyone who continues their education. So, pupils, apprentices, students and boys doing community or military service can claim child benefit even after they turn 18.

Duration of child benefit

How long can students claim child benefit? Good question! You have to pay attention to two factors.

1. Your age

In principle, you can claim child benefit until your 24th birthday. However, there are some exceptions where you can claim child benefit until you turn 25. If you did community or military service, were pregnant, have a disability (>50%), the minimum study duration is 10 semesters, you volunteered or if your studies are elongated by an unpredictable event (illness) or a semester abroad.

2. Study duration

You can only claim child benefit for the legal minimum duration of study. If you don’t need the granted extra semester, you can use it later on in your studies. If you take longer than the legal minimum duration of study or can’t prove a successful study, you lose your claim of child benefit.

Amount of child benefit

The amount of child benefit depends on the number of siblings and your age. There is a special child benefit for disabled children. From your 19th birthday on and without any siblings or disability, child benefit is €165.10. If you have siblings, child benefit is higher depending on how many siblings you have.

In addition to child benefit, your parents get a children tax allowance (€58.40) per child. You don’t have to place an extra application for this, it will automatically be paid with child benefit. This tool from the Arbeiterkammer can tell you exactly how much your child benefit will be. This is the easiest way because it shows you how much each child gets and includes the children tax allowance.

Maximum additional earning

You’re ambitious and have a student job? Great! But then you should pay attention to the maximum additional earning. The maximum additional earning limits the amount of money you are allowed to earn to still claim child benefit. If you earn more than €15,000 (without Christmas and Holiday bonuses and without social security contributions) per year, you have to pay back the amount that surpassed the maximum additional earning.

Your studies

One field of study is not enough for you, so you chose two instead? In this case, you have to let the tax office know which one is your main field of study because this one will be used to count your semester and to prove successful studying.

It wasn’t love at first sight and you decide to change your field of studies? No problem! But keep in mind that you can only change your studies twice because then you lose your child benefit. You also have to make sure that you change your studies before the third semester because you will lose your semesters otherwise.

How to apply for child benefit

If your parents don’t live in Austria, take a look at the EU cross border family benefit since you may get it from another country. But if you want to claim child benefit in Austria, ask your parents first if you are already receiving child benefit. The application for child benefit depends on whether you have already claimed it once or if you have never received it. Here we will show you how to apply for child benefit in both cases. You don’t have to pay attention to any deadlines and the application is free. You can also demand that child benefit is directly sent to you.

1. You have already claimed child benefit

In this case, your parents have to send the tax office either a proof that you are still attending school (if you are still going to school) or your student record sheet and confirmation of enrolment when you turn 18. In your first year of university, you have to prove successful studying (16 ECTS in the first year or 14 ECTS during STEOP). Then child benefit will be automatically granted until you end your studies (max until you turn 24/25).

2. You have never received child benefit

In this case, you have to apply for child benefit at the tax office (depending on your residence) or on finanzonline. Here are the necessary documents for the application. On finanzonline and at the tax office you can inform yourself which documents are needed in addition to the student record sheet and confirmation of enrolment.

3. Applying for direct payment

When you turned 18 and after talking with your parents, you can get child benefit directly. That means you will get the money, not your parents. With your parents’ consent, you can apply for direct payment on finanzonline or at the tax office. Here’s the document for it.

We hope that we were able to detangle this bureaucratic mess for you and you have a good overview of child benefit. You can find more information regarding amount, claim and application for child benefit on the Austrian platform oesterreich.gv.at, the homepage of the Arbeiterkammer and the homepage of the tax office.

Questions?

We are happy to help!