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How to Apply for Elterngeld – Your Checklist

By Lisa H

Last updated on 14 May 2024

Getting ready to apply for Elterngeld? Here is your list of basic documents to submit with your application:

  • Your child’s birth certificate or the confirmation of birth issued by the hospital or your midwife (this can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the district you gave birth in, the time of year, etc.)

  • Evidence of your pre-birth income

    • For employees:

      • as the mother, your wage or salary pay slips for the 12 months preceding the month in which your maternity leave starts

      • as the father, your wage or salary pay slips for the 12 months preceding the child’s birth

    • For freelancers: generally your last tax statement

  • Evidence of maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld, for employees)

    • Statements issued by your health insurance provider showing your Maternity Pay after birth of the child

    • Statements issued by your employer confirming any contributions to Maternity Pay

  • If you are working part-time while receiving Elterngeld:

    • Employees:

      • Details of your expected income while you receive Elterngeld

      • Statements issued by your employer about your working hours while you receive Elterngeld

    • Self-employed persons:

      • Details of your expected income while you receive Elterngeld

      • A statement detailing your previous working hours and your working hours while receiving Elterngeld

      • If you will be working less hours than before your child was born, additional explanations may be necessary as to what arrangements have been made to reduce your workload, for example: recruitment of a extra help, transfer of tasks to colleagues, fewer assignments, etc.

      • Additional documents may be required in individual cases.

Special cases for civil servants, soldiers and privately insured parents:

  • If you are a civil servant or a soldier:

    • Statements of remuneration paid during maternity leave

    • Statements showing any contributions to this remuneration

  • If you are the mother and are covered by private health insurance, including daily allowance for sickness:

    • Statements issued by your health insurance provider showing your daily allowance for sickness during maternity leave

Your employer is obliged to issue the necessary documents.

When to apply for Elterngeld?

The earliest you can apply for Elterngeld is your child's day of birth. However, as you will need to include a range of documents with your application (such as the baby’s birth certificate), you will likely apply a few weeks after the birth.

At the latest, you should apply for Elterngeld three months after your child’s birth as otherwise you are forfeiting part of your entitlement to receive Elterngeld.

After the application is submitted, it will still take a few weeks for you to receive the Elterngeld in your account.

Finally, take note that both parents will need to sign the form if they are both eligible for Elterngeld (even if not applying jointly or if only one person is applying for Elterngeld).

Want to learn more or start filling out the forms?

If you'd like to learn more, check out Elodie's comprehensive online course called “Elterngeld & Co.” Kietzee members receive a €10 discount, which you can find in the “Discounts” section of your dashboard.*

Elodie also offers 1-on-1 assistance with paperwork and you can learn more about her offerings here.

Finally, if you’re ready to tackle the form, you have a couple of options:

  1. For Berlin, you can find the forms and further information here. You can also apply online at Elterngeld Digital.

  2. Or, use our partner dasElterngeld to fill in the form online in easy-to-understand German (in-browser translation to English in Chrome also works really well!).  This is a really user-friendly tool that takes about 30 minutes and that I wish had existed when our kids were born ;) They have an expert available to answer any questions you may have, plus a money back guarantee should you not end up getting any Elterngeld. It is €24.99 well spent in our humble opinion. The tool is currently available for Elterngeld applications in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, Baden Wurttemberg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony and soon also Berlin. Learn more.*

*Please note that we may receive a commission when you click on our links and make a purchase. This, however, has no bearing on our reviews and recommendations.

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