In communication with schools, day-care centres and authorities, there are always words that raise more questions than they answer. We have collected the most important technical terms of everyday parental life for you and explained them simply.

Abzweigungsantrag Kindergeld – Application for diversion of child benefit

Child benefit helps the parents with the child's maintenance costs. Normally, the child benefit goes to the parents. However, under certain circumstances, child benefit can go directly to the child, for example, if the adult child no longer lives with the parents, but in his or her own home. To do this, you have to submit an application to the family insurance fund, the so-called branch application. (see also: Child benefit)

Alleinerziehenden-Mehrbedarf – Single parents - additional needs

If you are a single parent and receive benefits from the job centre, you can receive further financial support. The prerequisite for this is that you are actually solely responsible for the child and are in charge of its maintenance. How much money you receive as a single parent depends on the number and age of the children. Currently (August 2020), the additional requirement for a child under 7 years of age is 155.52 euros. Irrespective of the number of children, however, the additional requirement for single parents may not exceed 60 percent of the standard requirement, so in 2020 the maximum amount is 259.20 euros. The additional requirement for single parents must be applied for at the job centre.

Amtliche Beglaubigung – Official certification

The official certification is a document that can only be issued by authorities, for example by a citizens' office. An authentication is necessary if the accuracy of a document must be officially confirmed. This may be the case, for example, if a potential employer wants to view and have certified certificates

Amtsgericht – Local court

The local court is responsible for legal disputes up to an amount in dispute of 5,000 euros. It is also the right place to go when it comes to rental matters, housing and parenthood disputes as well as maintenance and family matters.

Anerkennung der Vaterschaft – Recognition of paternity

Recognition of paternity is possible if the parents are not married but the father wishes to recognise a child as his own. It can be recognised during pregnancy or even after the birth. In addition to the mother's consent, one of the prerequisites for this is that no one else has already assumed paternity. Recognition can be obtained free of charge from the Youth and Registry Office. It can also be done at the notary public, who must be paid for the service.

Arbeitslosengeld I (ALG I) – Unemployment benefit I (ALG I)

Unemployment benefit I (ALG I) is a benefit for unemployed people. ALG I is 60 percent (67 percent for children) of the last net salary and is paid regardless of savings. The application for ALG I is submitted to the local employment agency, where you must also register as unemployed. This assistance can only be claimed if you have worked for at least 12 months within a period of two years. In addition, you must be able to work at least 15 hours a week.

Arbeitslosengeld II (ALG II; Grundsicherung; umgangssprachlich auch Hartz 4) – Unemployment benefit II (ALG II; basic provision; colloquially also Hartz 4)

Unemployment benefit II (ALG II) is paid to people who are in need of help. A further prerequisite is that they are fit for work. The unemployment benefit II amounts to at present 432.00 euro per month for an adult person. In addition, housing benefit can be applied for. When ALG II is paid, a person's savings are included in the calculation and the entitlement is adjusted to the amount of ALG II. For example, parental allowance is also fully included as income and ALG II is reduced accordingly. In the case of needs-based communities, the income of other persons living in the household is also taken into account. (see also: employable, means-tested households, parental allowance, housing allowance)

Arbeitslosigkeit – Unemployment

If you are not in gainful employment, you are unemployed. Unemployed people in Germany are entitled to unemployment benefit I (ALG I) or unemployment benefit II (Hartz 4). How much money you get depends on various factors (see unemployment benefit I or unemployment benefit II). In order to receive financial assistance in the event of unemployment, you must go to the relevant authorities in person. For ALG I, the local employment agency is responsible, for ALG II the local job centre.

Bedarfsgemeinschaft – Requirements group

A "Bedarfsgemeinschaft" means that the income of other persons living in the same household as the applicant is to be credited against unemployment benefit II or basic income support. The amount of the support is therefore lower.

As a rule, a community of needs refers to a family, a marriage or a registered partnership. For example, shared flats with friends are not included. In a means-tested community, people in a household are so close to each other that they (have to) support each other financially. However, the job centre sometimes tries to make the assumption of a shared household also in other living situations, for example, when a man and a woman or two women or men live together.

Based on the community of need and the people who belong to it, the financial benefit that one receives is also calculated. Whether children belong to a means-tested community depends on the following conditions:

  • The child is younger than 25 years
  • The child is not married
  • The child has no income or assets of its own

Beistandschaft (Beantragung) – Assistance (application)

When it comes to paternity and alimony, some questions may still arise, especially during the first period after the birth. This concerns not only the clarification of paternity per se, but also questions about the payment of child support. In order to answer these questions in the best possible way and in the best interests of the child, you can apply to the Youth Welfare Office for support in the form of assistance. This assistance is a person who advises on the issues of maintenance and paternity. This assistance is voluntary and free of charge. The Youth Welfare Office at the place of residence of the applying parent is responsible for processing the application. You can apply for assistance until the child comes of age.

Beratungshilfeschein – Counselling assistance certificate

Counselling assistance is provided to low-income persons who need legal advice or extrajudicial representation. Counselling assistance can only be granted once for each matter. Once granted, counselling assistance will continue until the matter is finally settled out of court. Counselling assistance is only available upon application to the local court or to a lawyer with a request for counselling assistance. The judicial advisory assistance procedure is free of charge. The counsellor can charge a fee of 15,00 EURO for the counselling or extrajudicial representation.

Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe (BAB) – Vocational training allowance (BAB)

The vocational training allowance helps if you are in training and the wage is not enough to cover your own living costs. An important prerequisite is that you must be accommodated away from home for the purpose of training. In concrete terms, this means that the place of training - school or company - is so far away from home that you cannot commute. In order to receive this benefit, one must submit an application to the relevant employment agency. The amount of support depends on individual factors. How much money you get can be calculated here. (Link: http://www.babrechner.arbeitsagentur.de).

Beschäftigungsverbot – Employment ban

A prohibition of employment concerns pregnant women, who can be prohibited from working if there is too high a risk to their health from exercising the profession. The employment ban is issued by doctors and is there to protect expectant mothers and their unborn children. For example, prolonged nausea, vomiting or even stress can be a reason for a ban on employment. During this time the mothers continue to receive full pay.

Betreutes Wohnen – Assisted living

Assisted living is a form of housing in which people find support who need various forms of help when they can no longer perform certain tasks on their own. These may include mentally ill or mentally, mentally and physically handicapped people. But homeless people or young people can also live in assisted living. Social workers and psychologists, for example, take over the care.

Betreuungsunterhalt – Childcare maintenance

Childcare support is intended to ensure that - e.g. after a separation or divorce - the parent caring for the child has sufficient financial resources to be able to take over the care of the child. It must be paid by the parent who does not care for the child. The entitlement exists initially at least for the first three years after birth. During this time, the person looking after the child (usually the mother) does not have to be in gainful employment.

However, the payment of child-care maintenance also requires the paying parent to be able to pay. Employed persons have a deductible of 1,080 euros per month, unemployed persons of 880 euros before the minimum maintenance has to be paid. For children of full age, the deductible may increase to 1,300 euros.

Bildungs- und Teilhabepaket (BuT) – Education and Participation Package (BuT)

The education and participation package is designed to prevent children and young people from being excluded from cultural and social life because their parents have low incomes. It can also apply to older (adult) persons - up to the age of 24 - if they are still attending school. The Education and Participation Pact applies, for example, when children or young people or their parents receive unemployment benefit II (ALG II), the child supplement, housing benefit or benefits for asylum seekers.

The financial support includes school supplies (150 Euro) (lunch and transport for pupils are free of charge), the so-called participation fee (15 Euro per month, for example for sports club etc.), or for extra tuition if the transfer is at risk.

Coaching – Coaching

The goal of coaching is to develop and be supported in certain topics. This can be, for example, the topic of family, career or relationships. Coaching can also be used to answer various questions or overcome challenges. A coach often accompanies a person over a longer period of time. Personal discussions are held and exercises are done. Through coaching you can question yourself and improve your life as well as your relationships.

Einwohnermeldeamt – Registration office

The residents' registration office is an authority that exists in every municipality. One of the functions of the registration office is to issue certain documents. You can obtain an identity card, a certificate of good conduct or a passport. The Residents' Registration Office is also responsible for registering, deregistering or changing your place of residence. Your own place of residence is decisive for the jurisdiction of the respective registration office. (see also: police clearance certificate, police registration)

Elterngeld – Parental benefit

The parental allowance supports parents who take care of their children after birth and therefore have no or lower income. The parental allowance amounts to up to 67 percent of the net income of the parent who takes care of the child. It therefore depends on how much you earned before the child was born. You can find a parental allowance calculator on the Internet (Link: https://familienportal.de/familienportal/rechner-antraege/elterngeldrechner), where you can check how much money you are entitled to. Where you have to apply for parental allowance depends on the respective federal state. A list of the application forms can be found here (Link: https://familienportal.de/familienportal/rechner-antraege/antragsformulare).

Elternzeit – Parental leave

Parental leave is available so that parents can take care of their child after a pregnancy. During this time, you are released from work and can take some time off. During parental leave you receive money from the state in the form of parental allowance. In order to be able to take parental leave, you must register in writing at least seven weeks before you start working. The maximum parental leave is 36 months per child. During this time you are also protected against dismissal.

Erstausstattung (für das Baby) – Basic equipment (for the baby)

Families who receive unemployment benefit II (ALG II) can apply for initial provision for their newborn child. The families receive this in addition to the financial support of ALG II. The amount that is paid for initial provision depends on the individual case and the respective federal state. The application can be submitted to the responsible job centre. For this purpose, a maternal passport, identity card and proof of income are required. The best time to apply is between the 15th and 25th week of pregnancy.

Erwerbsfähigkeit / erwerbsfähig – Ability to work / employable

To receive benefits from the Job Centre, you must be fit for work. You are considered fit for work if you can be available for work under normal conditions. The benchmark here is a minimum of 3 hours a day on which you could work in principle. If you are not able to work, you cannot apply for ALG II. The social assistance is then responsible for this.

Erwerbstätigkeit / erwerbstätig – Employment / gainful employment

Employed people perform a job for which they receive a wage. This means that you are paid for your work. First of all, it does not matter what kind of employment relationship you have, for example whether you work part-time or full-time.

Familienleistungen – Family benefits

In Germany, parents and families receive certain benefits to support the life of their parents. Which benefits you receive depends on certain conditions. You can find out exactly what these are here (Link: https://familienportal.de/familienportal/rechner-antraege/infotool-familienleistungen ).

Frühe Hilfen – Early help

Becoming and being parents can be very challenging. That is why the Early Intervention is there. Different professionals from areas such as health, youth welfare and early intervention come together in this network and offer different kinds of support. The early support services are voluntary and free of charge. For example, the Early Intervention Services offer consultation hours or the placement of midwives. Here (link: https://www.elternsein.info/fruehe-hilfen/was-sind-fruehe-hilfen/) you can find more information about the Early Intervention Services.

Geburtsurkunde – Birth certificate

The parents receive the birth certificate for their child when they have registered it at the registry office. The birth certificate is issued there. The registry office of the child's place of birth is responsible. Which documents must be available for this registration varies. You can find out directly from the responsible registry office which documents must be submitted.

The birth certificate is a very important document that is required for many other benefits, such as child benefit, and should therefore be applied for as soon as possible after the birth.

Geburtsvorbereitungskurs (Kurs zur Vorbereitung auf die Geburt) – Birth preparation course (course to prepare for the birth)

Birth preparation courses serve to prepare for the birth. They are not only intended for expectant mothers, but can also be attended by fathers or couples. Meanwhile there is a wide range of courses, workshops and seminars. It is best to obtain information from the doctors treating you, from advice centres or on the Internet for offers in your immediate vicinity. In most cases, the costs for the course are covered by the health insurance company.

The scope of a birth preparation course is between 12 and 14 units. Since most of the time double lessons are held, the course has a total duration of about 6 weeks.

Gemeinsames Sorgerecht (siehe auch: Sorgerecht) – Joint custody (see also: custody)

In most cases, parents share custody of their joint child. If the parents are not married, they must agree on joint custody. If they agree, joint custody can be requested. This is done by submitting an appropriate declaration to the youth welfare office or notary public.

Geschütztes Marktsegment (M-Schein) – Protected market segment (M-Schein)

The so-called "Protected Market Segment" was set up in Berlin to support homeless people or people threatened by homelessness. Through a cooperation between district offices and housing companies, apartments are made available for these people. This also gives people who would not be able to find a flat on the normal housing market the chance to get one

A minimum stay of one year in Berlin is required for admission to the gun market segment. The application for admission is made at the responsible district office. Under this link you will find further information: (https://www.berlin.de/lageso/soziales/geschuetztes-marktsegment/)

Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – Public Health Insurance

Statutory health insurance covers people in Germany in the event of illness. This insurance covers payments resulting from illness, for example, whether at the doctor's office or in hospital. Spouses and dependent children are also insured, family members are usually also insured. If you are not insured in any other way, for example through a private insurance company, the statutory health insurance is compulsory for everyone in Germany. It not only covers costs in case of illness, but also in case of pregnancy and maternity.

Haftpflichtversicherung – Liability insurance

A private liability insurance insures you against damages that you have caused yourself in everyday situations. The insurance company pays for the damage financially, so you do not have to pay for it yourself. A prerequisite for the insurance to cover the costs is that you have not acted with gross negligence. Gross negligence can be, for example, if you leave your smartphone clearly visible on the table, if you sit alone in a cafe and then go to the toilet. A private liability insurance makes sense for everyone. Children and spouses or life partners living in the same household can also be covered. Each person must pay the costs of the insurance themselves. Depending on the provider, an insurance can cost between 50-150 euros per year.

Hausratsversicherung – Home contents insurance

This insurance is intended to protect personal property. So if situations arise where your household effects are damaged or destroyed, the insurance will cover them. Examples include damage caused by weather, fire, vandalism or tap water. Damage caused by your own fault is not covered. Taking out this insurance is not compulsory. You can decide for yourself and look for an appropriate provider.

Hebamme – Midwife

Midwives accompany women and families during pregnancy, delivery and also afterwards. They provide support and assistance with questions concerning the birth and care for mothers during the intensive period of pregnancy. They help with care, tips and advice and also ensure that mother and baby are well. All pregnant women are entitled to a midwife. The costs are covered by health insurance. Since every mother has different demands on a midwife and sympathy and a good feeling also play a major role, it is best to find a midwife for yourself. The best way to find a midwife is through your own social environment such as friends, acquaintances or colleagues. Doctors, pharmacies and health insurance companies can also help you.

Jugendamt – Youth Welfare Office

The youth welfare office is an institution that supports parents. There are numerous offers, projects and measures which are there to improve the conditions for the everyday life of families. The focus here is on topics related to education, upbringing and care. To get help as a parent, you have to contact the Youth Welfare Office and make an appointment for an initial consultation. During this appointment, they will then discuss which help is best suited.

Kaution/Mietkaution – Deposit/rental deposit

A deposit is usually required if you rent an apartment on your own. This deposit is a security for landlords in case you do not meet your financial obligations as a tenant, e.g. you cannot pay the rent. The amount of the deposit may not exceed three months' rent (without advance payment of utilities) and will be paid back after moving out, unless you leave the flat in a bad condition.

Kautionsdarlehen (Darlehen für die Kaution) – Guarantee loan (loan for the guarantee)

When you rent an apartment, you often have to pay a deposit. If you are unemployed and receive unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV), you can apply to the relevant job centre to have the costs covered in the form of a loan if you are otherwise unable to pay the deposit. The deposit is then taken over by the job centre in the form of a loan. This means that you have to pay the money back to the job centre. The repayments are interest-free. Often, however, one is obliged to use 10% of the regular rate per month for the repayment. One should therefore consider whether this option is worth considering.

Kinderbetreuungsplatz (Platz für Kinderbetreuung) – Childcare place (place for childcare)

Most parents want a childcare place for their child as soon as the child reaches a certain age. This should be applied for as soon as possible after the birth, as there may be longer waiting times. In Germany, the demand for childcare places is very high. At best, you should seek advice during pregnancy from an advice centre such as the Jugendamt. Here you can get helpful tips and recommendations for action.

Kindergeld – Child benefit

Child benefit is intended to provide financial relief or support to parents in terms of the maintenance costs for their children. For this purpose, it usually has to be applied for at the family fund of the employment agency - for employees in the public sector: at the employer. Currently, it amounts to 204 Euros for the first and second child, 210 Euros for the third and 235 Euros for the fourth child. This benefit is paid in any case for all children up to the age of 18. For older children up to the age of 25 there is child benefit if they are in training or studying. Children who are unemployed receive it until the age of 21.

As of 1 January 2021, the child benefit will be increased to 219 euros for the first and second child, 224 euros for the third and 250 euros for the fourth child.

Kinderreisepass – Child passport

If you want to travel abroad with your child, a child passport may be necessary. This can be applied for at the responsible citizens' office. For the application the birth certificate of the child is needed.

Kinderuntersuchungsheft (U-Heft) – Child Examination Booklet (U-Booklet)

The purpose of the children's examination booklet is to document the findings of the so-called U-examinations. In this way, parents and attending physicians receive a comprehensive and structured overview of the child's state of health and development. The yellow booklet is given to the mother after delivery. It must be kept in a safe place so that it can be brought to all preventive medical checkups. (see also: U-examinations)

Kinderzuschlag – Child supplement

In addition to child benefit, parents can receive a child supplement (colloquially: child benefit supplement) if their income is insufficient. The application for the child supplement must be submitted to the family insurance fund. Normally, you will receive the child benefit supplement for 6 months. If the period of entitlement has expired, you have to apply for the child benefit supplement again.

Kita-Gutschein – Kita voucher

In some federal states - e.g. Berlin, Hamburg - a Kita voucher is issued to parents. The voucher states the number of hours per day or week a child can spend in the Kita or with a day care person and receive state support for this. The Kita-Gutschein must be applied for at the youth welfare office of the responsible municipality (in Berlin: district). Parents can then use this voucher to register their child in a Kita and hopefully get a place. It is more complicated in detail, but unfortunately we cannot go into that here.

Klassenrat – Class Council

The class council promotes the positive interaction of the pupils in a class community. It is a mostly weekly meeting in which pupils and students talk about problems, challenges, common activities and goals of the class and record agreements. The focus is on conflict resolution. The teacher organises and holds the framework. Assigning fixed roles to the pupils with clear rights and duties contributes decisively to the success of the class council.

Kur (Mutter-Kind-Kur / Vater-Kind-Kur) – Cure (mother-child cure / father-child cure)

When everyday life as a family is stressful and you are faced with many challenges, time out may be necessary. Especially if you suffer from health problems. These can include sleep disorders, anxiety, exhaustion or back pain. Then it is a matter of filling up with strength and energy in order to be able to master one's everyday life, upbringing and responsibility towards the child. A cure can be a helpful way to take a break and in this way strengthen your health. Information about a cure can be found in various advice centres and on the Internet. Especially as a parent there are certain cures that you can take together with your child. These are the so-called mother-child cures or father-child cures. You can find more information here. (Link: https://www.muettergenesungswerk.de)

Kurzarbeit – Short-time work

If the employer is not doing well economically, he can temporarily send his employees on short-time work. This measure protects the employees from dismissal and at the same time relieves the employer economically. At the end of the month, employees on short-time work receive 60 percent of their normal salary. If you have children and are on short-time work, you will receive 67 percent at the end of the month. More information about the amount of the short-time work allowance can be obtained from the locally responsible Federal Employment Agency.

Lohnfortzahlung – Continued payment of wages

If, as an employee, you are no longer able to work for a certain period of time due to illness or accident, your wage will still be paid in full. This is stipulated by law and applies to a maximum period of 42 days (6 weeks). It is important to inform the employer about the inability to work and to show a certificate from the doctor.

Maskenpflicht – Masking obligation

The so-called mask obligation was introduced in Germany during the corona pandemic. The aim is to protect oneself and other people from the corona virus. Wearing a mask is usually compulsory in supermarkets, restaurants and public transport. However, the exact regulations vary from state to state. In the meantime, it is the case that you have to pay a fine if you do not wear the mask in the named situations. How the exact rules of the different federal states are, you can find out here (Link: https://corona-was-darf-ich.de)

Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung (Bescheinigung über Freiheit von Mietschulden) – Certificate of freedom from rent debts (certificate of freedom from rent debts)

This certificate helps when renting a new apartment. It is one of the usual application documents for an apartment. The document confirms that you have met your payment obligations from the last tenancy on time and that you no longer have any debts. In this way, the new landlord or landlady gains a positive first impression and trust. Forms for the certificate are available on the Internet. You can also write it yourself and contact former landlords. They only have to sign that you have dissolved the tenancy without debts.

Mutterpass – Maternity Pass

The maternal passport is an important document for every expectant mother. As soon as one learns of one's pregnancy and is under medical treatment, the mother's passport is issued and continuously filled with important data and information. The document thus provides extensive information from examinations, medical tests and personal details of the mother. It is very important to keep the maternity pass in a safe place and to bring it with you to all examinations. The pregnancy is planned on the basis of the information in the maternity record and the best possible further treatment and examinations are coordinated.

Mutterschaftsgeld – Maternity allowance

The maternity allowance supports expectant mothers who are no longer able to carry out their professional activity for reasons of protection. The money is paid by the statutory health insurance funds. The application is also made here. In total, one can receive up to 13 euros per day. Payment is made during a period of six weeks before the birth and eight weeks after the birth. The application can only be made if you were previously in an employment relationship. A certificate for the expected date of delivery is required for the application.

Mutterschutzfrist – Maternity protection period

In Germany there is a law that aims to protect pregnant women and mothers. This concerns in particular the period before and after delivery. During this period the employer is not allowed to employ the (expectant) mother. Before the birth there is usually a period of 6 weeks. After the birth there are another 8 weeks in which the mother is not allowed to work. Under certain circumstances, this period can be increased. This is the case, for example, if the birth is premature or a multiple birth. In order to meet the deadlines, the employer must receive written or oral notification of the pregnancy

Mutterschutzgesetz (Gesetz für den Schutz der Mutter) – Maternity Protection Act (Act for the Protection of the Mother)

Protecting pregnant women and mothers in various areas of life is regulated by the Maternity Protection Act. This law was renewed and improved again on 01 January 2018. In particular, the new regulations deal with the protection of the mother at work, protection against dismissal and securing income. The aim is to value the role of the mother and to use the law to help reconcile motherhood and the world of work. You can get more information here (Link: https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/94398/48fc0f204ab8fbdf11e75804a85262d4/mutterschutzgesetz-data.pdf)

Negativbescheinigung Sorgerecht – Negative certificate of custody

The negative certificate is colloquially called a declaration of concern. This document can usually be applied for online at the responsible municipality. It is required by kindergartens or schools, for example. This document shows that an unmarried mother of a child has sole parental custody of her child. The birth certificate of the child is required for the document to be issued (see also: Custody, joint custody)

Polizeiliche Anmeldung – Police registration

Police registration is all about ensuring that the authorities in Germany know where you live and where you can be reached. Basically, the law says that all people with a residential address must register with the authorities if they are staying in Germany for longer than three months. The police registration takes place at the Einwohnermeldeamt or at the responsible Bürgeramt.

Rechtsanspruch – Legal claim

Legal entitlement is when you have a legal claim to a benefit. You can also sue for this benefit if it is not fulfilled. For example, there is a law which states that all children over one year of age are entitled to a place in a day care centre. If you cannot get a place in a day care centre, for example because there are not enough places, you can go to court and sue for this place if necessary. This is laid down in a legal provision. That is why it is called a legal claim.

Regenbogenfamilien – Rainbow families

For same-sex couples or transgender parents with children there is a term in Germany: rainbow families. A rainbow family is therefore also a family form. Since October 2017 it is possible for these couples to enter into marriage. This means that they have almost all the rights to which heterosexual couples are also entitled. This applies, for example, to adoption rights. Further information can be found under this link (https://www.regenbogenportal.de)

Rundfunkbeitrag – Broadcasting contribution

In Germany, everyone must pay radio licence fees from the age of 18 as soon as they start living in their own household. If you share a flat with other people, you only have to pay one fee. You can find further information under this link (Link: https://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de) (see also: Radio fee exemption)

Rundfunkgebührenbefreiung (Befreiung von den Gebühren der GEZ) – Exemption from broadcasting fees (exemption from GEZ fees)

In Germany, everyone must pay radio licence fees from the age of 18 as soon as they start living in their own household. If you share a flat with other people, you only have to pay one fee. Normally the application is sent by post. In this way, you will receive a customer number and must provide your data. Under certain conditions, you can be exempted from the obligation to pay. This is the case, for example, if you purchase services from the job centre. In order to get an exemption from the payment, you have to fill in an application form. You can do this in writing or online under this link (Link: https://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/buergerinnen_und_buerger/formulare/befreiung_oder_ermaessigung_beantragen/index_ger.html)

Schufa-Auskunft – Schufa information

This document is especially needed if you want to rent an apartment. Landlords want to use it to find out how the potential tenant has dealt with payment obligations in the past. The document thus provides information about the creditworthiness of a person and past payment behaviour. For this purpose, data from telephone providers or banks, for example, are evaluated and stored in the Schufa-Auskunft (credit reference agency). By means of a number, the so-called score, you can then see how creditworthy you are assessed. The scale ranges from 0 to 1000, with 1000 being the ideal value. You can apply for a Schufa report once a year free of charge. Further information can be found here (Link: https://www.schufa.de/index.jsp)

Schulanmeldung – School registration

In Germany there is compulsory school attendance. It is therefore necessary for the child to go to school as soon as he or she reaches a certain age. In order for a child to go to school, it must first be registered. The registration is usually necessary 1 ½ years before the child starts school. However, there is no general rule for this. Instead, the registration procedure depends on the place of residence of the family. In general, the parents are contacted by the school administration office and informed about the next steps. This letter will also provide information about which school is suitable for the child. The following documents are necessary for registration at the school:

  • The identity card or passport of the parents
  • The birth certificate of the child of school age
  • The letters received from the school administration office

Schwangerschaftsmehrbedarf (Mehrbedarf in Schwangerschaft) – Additional needs during pregnancy (additional needs during pregnancy)

If services are obtained from the job centre, you can apply for additional needs during pregnancy. In this way, in addition to your regular requirements, you will receive a sum to cover special costs. For example, the additional financial benefit is intended for special nutrition, care products or pregnancy clothes. In order to receive the money, you have to inform the job centre about your pregnancy. The amount of the extra benefit depends on various factors and is calculated by the Jobcentre staff.

Sorgerecht – Custody

The word custody refers to the parental right and duty to care for and bring up his child. Custody of the child is valid until the child reaches the age of majority. After the birth, the mother is initially entitled to sole custody. By a corresponding declaration at the youth welfare department the mother can agree to the common custody. In this way, both parents share custody and are therefore jointly responsible for the child.

Starke-Familien-Gesetz – Strong Families Act

The Strong Families Act is intended to strengthen families with low incomes and create fair opportunities for their children to participate in society. The child benefit supplement for families with small incomes will be redesigned and the educational and participation benefits for children and young people will be improved. The child supplement rose from 170 euros to 185 euros per month and child and was opened up to single parents. The education and participation package has also been improved: for example, the school starter package has risen from 100 to 150 euros and the parents' own contributions for lunch together in the day-care centre and school as well as for school transport are now no longer required

Steuer-Identifikationsnummer – Tax identification number

The tax identification number is an 11-digit number which - once created - accompanies a taxpayer throughout his/her life and is used for tax payment. It is also colloquially called tax ID and gradually replaces the previous tax number.

Every taxable citizen has such a number. You can find it on wage tax certificates, on the income tax assessment or on information letters from the tax office. If you have forgotten your number, you can submit a written request to the Federal Central Tax Office.

Steuerklassen – Tax classes

Every taxpayer in Germany is allocated to a certain tax class. This determines how high the monthly deductions from gross income are if one is gainfully employed. In total there are 6 different tax classes and the allocation depends mainly on marital status. Married persons can distribute their tax classes differently: If both partners are in tax class four, they are taxed as if they were single. Often the higher earning person has tax class three and tends to pay less tax, while the lower earning person, who is then classified in tax class five, pays comparatively high taxes.

Those who have a second job are always placed in tax class six and usually pay comparatively high taxes for this second income.

However, the tax class distribution in the context of the annual wage tax adjustment or the income tax return is then no longer relevant and all married couples pay the same amount of tax on the same taxable income. This means that the tax class "only" plays a role in the tax deduction from the monthly gross income.

Teilzeitbeschäftigung – Part-time employment

Part-time employment is usually considered to be when someone works less than 36 hours a week. If possible, the employer must give employees the option of part-time work, which is what the law says, and he may not discriminate against part-time employees compared to others who work full-time. How flexibly part-time work can be arranged depends on the employer and the employment contract - whether it is only on four days or with less than seven or eight hours per day. Employees often take up part-time work for personal reasons. Reasons for this could be a better work-life balance, a better balance between work and leisure time or even an additional job. (see also: Full-time employment)

U-Untersuchungen (Vorsorgeuntersuchungen) – U-examinations (preventive medical checkups)

In these medical examinations, a specialist examines whether the child is healthy and in a development appropriate to its age. In this way, health risks can be identified. For example, the doctor checks whether the child has metabolic or hormonal disorders. In addition, information on weight and height is documented. Advice from paediatricians and adolescent doctors is also a major component of the preventive examinations. Parents are informed about topics such as nutrition and medical care. In addition, the doctors assess the child's social development and the interaction between parents and child. In this way, for example, psychological problems or maltreatment and excessive demands can be detected more quickly. In Germany there is an obligation to carry out these examinations. For this reason, parents always receive a reminder by post. If the appointments are not kept, the Youth Welfare Office or Health Office is entitled to check the child's health status in the parents' household. Up to the age of 18, a total of 11 preventive examinations are free of charge. An overview of the various U-examinations can be found here: (Link: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/themen/praevention/kindergesundheit/frueherkennungsuntersuchung-bei-kindern.html


Unbezahlte Urlaubstage – Unpaid leave

Every person employed by an employer is entitled to paid leave. Sometimes the holidays are not enough, e.g. because children fall ill, you have to care for a family member or you want or need some time off beyond your holidays. In these cases, you can talk to the employer and ask for unpaid leave. These days are not deducted from the paid leave days. However, there is no obligation on the part of the employer to grant the unpaid leave days. If the unpaid leave is approved, you will not be paid during this period. Health insurance coverage continues for a maximum period of 4 weeks - after that the employer has to deregister the employee and you have to arrange for health insurance coverage yourself.

Unterhalt für Kinder (Kindesunterhalt) – Child support (child maintenance)

All children in Germany are entitled to maintenance. This means that children are entitled to a certain amount. In this way a child is economically secure. If the parents live together and share a household, there is usually no problem with joint maintenance. If the parents are separated and also live in different households, certain maintenance payments must be made. This is usually the responsibility of the parent who is not the primary carer of the child. A prerequisite for this is that the parent is capable of working, i.e. can pay the maintenance. The amount of maintenance depends on various conditions. The amount is therefore fixed and can be viewed here (Link: https://www.olg-duesseldorf.nrw.de/infos/Duesseldorfer_Tabelle/Tabelle-2020/Duesseldorfer-Tabelle-2020.pdf) can be calculated.

Unterhaltsvorschuss – Advance maintenance payments

This help is for single parents. If a single parent receives no or only irregular maintenance from the father or mother for the child, the maintenance advance can be applied for. The local youth welfare office is responsible for this and can be contacted. There is no income limit for the advance maintenance payment. It is graded according to the age of the child:

  • For children from 0 to 5 years up to 165 Euro
  • For children from 6 to 11 years up to 220 Euro
  • For children from 12 to 17 years up to 293 Euro

Urlaubstage – Vacation days

Every employee has a statutory right to holidays and rest. The minimum entitlement is 20 days, based on a 5-day week. In most cases, however, one has 25 or 30 days of vacation. During the days of holiday, the salary continues to be paid. The full holiday entitlement applies if you have worked for at least six months.

If you want to take a holiday and not work for a certain period of time, you have to submit holidays to your employer.

Vaterschaftsanerkennung – Recognition of paternity

Recognition of paternity is necessary if the two parents are not married when the child is born. In this way, shared custody of the child is ensured. The recognition can be done in different offices. For example, one can go to the youth welfare office or the registry office. In the youth welfare office the application is usually free of charge. In general, however, costs of up to 30.00 euros can be incurred. The following documents must be submitted for recognition:

  • Identity card
  • Birth certificate of the child or maternity certificate before birth

Verband alleinerziehender Mütter und Väter (VAMV) – Association of single mothers and fathers (VAMV)

The Association of Single Mothers and Fathers (VAMV) is a lobby group for single-parent families. It supports separated parents in taking their lives as single parents into their own hands with confidence. They advocate an open family image, the acceptance of single-parent families and their equality with other family forms. They also want to expand flexible childcare and much more (https://www.vamv.de/vamv-startseite).

Vollzeitbeschäftigung – Full-time employment

In Germany, a distinction is made between full-time and part-time employment. In most cases, employment of more than 36 hours is considered full-time. In individual cases, however, there may be deviations, depending on what the employer has stated as the basic working time in his company. (see also: part-time employment)

Vorsorgeuntersuchung – Preventive medical checkup

If you are expecting a child, preventive medical checkups are an important routine during pregnancy. As part of these examinations, the mother is also issued a so-called maternity pass. The gynaecologists are usually responsible for this.

Wohnberechtigungsschein (WBS) – Certificate of residence entitlement (WBS)

In Germany there are so-called social housing, which is provided with state funds for people who do not have sufficient income. In order to rent one of these flats, you need a Wohnberechtigungsschein. This means that the Wohnberechtigungsschein confirms that you are eligible to rent a social housing.

A certificate of eligibility for housing must be applied for at the housing office of the respective municipality and is valid for one year at a time.

The prerequisite for receiving a certificate of eligibility for housing, for example, is certain income limits which may not be exceeded. These income limits vary from state to state. Which documents are required for the application also depends on the responsible housing office. The best way to find out is to use the respective internet platforms or to contact the person in charge directly. If the residence entitlement certificate has expired, you can apply again. In addition, there are groups of people whose application is treated with increased urgency. This is the case with expectant mothers, for example.

Wohngeld – Housing allowance

The housing allowance is a subsidy for rent costs if the income is not sufficient to pay the rent. The amount of the housing allowance depends on various criteria, such as the local rent index. In order to receive housing benefit, you must apply to the local housing benefit office.

Zuzahlungsbefreiung für die Krankenkasse – Co-payment exemption for health insurance

Persons who are members of a statutory health insurance fund and are at least 18 years old must contribute to the expenses incurred, for example, when purchasing medication. This is called co-payment. In order to prevent patients from being financially burdened beyond their means, there is the so-called burden limit. This is based on the person's annual gross income and amounts to two percent of the gross income. This means that co-payments are only required up to an amount corresponding to two percent of your gross income - i.e. a person with gross income of 10,000 euros per year pays a maximum of 200 euros. For chronically ill people, the limit is one percent.

In order to obtain the exemption, all documents must be submitted. This means that it is necessary to keep records of the copayments and to be able to present them to the health insurance company. The application for exemption is submitted to the personal health insurance company together with your proof of income and the receipts. The health insurance fund then checks whether the payments can be exempted.