Status: 01.08.2022 12:18 p.m.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that Germany generally cannot deny parents from other EU countries child benefit for the first three months of their stay. However, one condition must be met.
The German state is generally not allowed to deny child benefit to parents who have moved here from other EU countries during the first three months of their stay. This was decided by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. To be entitled to claim, it is sufficient that EU foreigners wish to settle permanently in Germany.
In general, EU citizens can stay in any other EU country for up to three months to look for work. A passport from an EU country is sufficient as a residence permit. According to German law, people are not entitled to Hartz IV benefits during these three months. Since July 2019, the right to child benefit only exists if the parents receive income in Germany. A Bulgarian family was therefore refused child benefit.
The Bremen Financial Court turned to the ECJ
She had applied for family allowances without having earned income. The Child Benefits Office refused and the Bremen Finance Court referred the dispute to the ECJ. He saw unequal treatment with German citizens. Because they receive family allowances after their return from another Member State, even if they are not gainfully employed.
The ECJ now insists on equal treatment of foreign EU citizens with nationals. According to EU law, an exception is only provided for social assistance. However, child benefit is not a social assistance benefit. Because it is not used to ensure the means of subsistence, but to balance the family expenses.
Permanent residency as a requirement
According to the Luxembourg judgment, however, there is a right to equal treatment with regard to family allowances only if EU citizens have established their “habitual residence” here, i.e. want to settle permanently in Germany. A temporary stay is not enough.