Administration

How to get child benefit in France

Relocating with a family to France can be very costly and many expats do not expect that they can receive child benefit in France to help with many different types of related expenses. CAF can sometimes be a complicated administration to deal with but once you are registered, it becomes quite straightforward. It is worth doing the initial painful work to get essential family allowances. I explain the main family subsidies you can claim from CAF, the requirements and how much to expect.

What is child benefit in France?

What is CAF?

The Caisse d’Allocation Familiale (CAF) is a French administration providing many different kinds of allowances dedicated to families depending on many criteria. I will focus here on the PAJE and the Allocation Familiale. Read until the end to understand if they can apply to you. They are a great help to many families as more than 5 million people receive them.

There are other CAF family benefits that you can find via this link.

The French child benefits: PAGE

The PAJE is paid from the first child born.

It means “ Prestation d’accueil du jeune enfant”, in English it would be Young Child Welcome Allowance.

PAJE includes several allowances, the main ones are:

These allowances may be cumulated among each other and with other CAF allowances under certain conditions. They are also based on income.

Family allowance

The famous family allowance (Allocation familiale – Af) is granted from the second child born in the family. It is paid monthly to families with at least 2 children under the age of 20 years old and still considered financially dependent on their parents (as declared to the tax office).

So let’s dive into more details about these family-related benefits! Are you ready?

The different types of child benefit in France

The birth and adoption allowances

The birth and the adoption allowance are a one-off payment received when each child is born. These allowances aim at families to face the first expenses following the baby or child’s arrival in the family.

Check the criteria below to see if you can be entitled to it and make the request accordingly.

child benefit in France
Photo by Nappy

The basic allowance

The basic allowance aims at helping families to face their child education and daily expenses. It is granted from the first child to parents of children under the age of 3 years old and it is income-based.

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This benefit is per family and not per child, therefore if you have more than one child under the age of 3, you will not receive a cumulated child benefit. The child allowance will remain the same.

However, in the case of multiple births or multiple adoptions, the basic allowance will be multiplied by the number of children integrating the family simultaneously.

The supplementary allowance for childcare

If you use childcare services with a certified association or childcare company, a certified nanny, or a micro-crèche to take care of your child under the age of 6, you may receive financial participation from CAF.

Criteria to get the child benefit in France

The general CAF allowance criteria

Your right to reside in France

The CAF allowances are available whatever the nationality. So conditions should be met to be entitled to claiming the CAF subsidies. You must, however, reside in France and also:

  • If you are an EU citizen, from the EEE or Switzerland, you must prove your right to remain in France (either as a worker, a student or as an inactive)
  • If you are a non-EU citizen, you must provide CAF with a valid Long term visa (VLS-TS) or resident permit (Carte de séjour), and proof of your children’s legal entry into France.
income-tested child benefit in France
Photo by Pixabay

Your incomes

CAF takes into account the incomes from Year – 2. So if you are requesting child benefit in France in 2021, you will need to provide your 2019 incomes. CAF takes into account your “revenue net catégoriel” as they call it. It is the net taxable income that you can find on your tax notice as shown below.

This may change in the coming months to take into account the current year. I will update this information when the change is confirmed.

CAF receives automatically the income you have declared to the French tax office from the relevant year. However, if you are a newcomer, you should just declare the amounts on the form. Do not declare 0 euros if you had incomes. The 0 amount will trigger CAF to request further backup documents to know your current incomes.

CAF (as well as the French tax office) will take into account your salaries, unemployment allowances, pensions, capital… received in France and also abroad for you and your spouse (if applicable). Then, CAF will compare it to the thresholds applied to the allowance you are requesting.

Extra tips to get child benefit in France

  • In some cases, CAF will not take your incomes into account, for example, if you stopped working to take care of your children under the age of 3 y.o. or several children or becomes unemployed and does not get unemployment benefits.
  • In case of separation, divorce or widowhood, CAF will not take your previous partner incomes from the month following the event.
childcare benefit in France
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

The basic allowance specific requirements

You can receive the basic allowance upon request if you meet the below requirements:

– Meet the general CAF allowance requirements (see above)

– Your household incomes should not be higher than the threshold corresponding to your situation (see below table)

– You have a child under the age of 3 years old

The threshold to receive the full basic allowance of 184.62 €/month.

2019 income threshold for the basic allowance (full amount) taken into account until the 31st December 2021  

Number of children per household

Couples with one income

Single parents and couples with two-income

1

31 153 €

39 577 €

2

36 771 €

45 195 €

3

42 389 €

50 813 €

Per extra child

 5 618 €

 5 618 €
CAF 2019 income thresholds to receive family allowances in 2021

* There will be 2 incomes taken into account when each individual receive 5 511 € (2019 amounts for 2021 allowances) or more per year from a job or sick leave.

The threshold to receive the partial basic allowance of 92.31 €.

2019 income threshold for the basic allowance (partial amount) taken into account until the 31st December 2021

Number of children per household

Couples with one income

Single parents and couples with two-income

1

37 216 €

47 282 €

2

43 927 €

53 993 €

3

50 638 €

60 704 €

Per extra child

 6 711 €

 6 711 €
CAF 2019 income thresholds to receive partial family allowances in 2021

* There will be 2 incomes taken into account when each individual receive 5 511 € (2019 amounts for 2021 allowances) or more per year from a job or sick leave.

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Birth allowance
Photo by Jonathan Borda

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Birth allowance and adoption requirements

You can receive the birth allowance upon request if you meet the below requirements:

– Meet the general CAF allowance requirements (see above)

– For the birth allowance: Your pregnancy must be declared within the first 14 weeks to your CAF and CPAM (French Healthcare institution). If you are registered with a GP in France, he/she will do it after the first prenatal consultation.

– Your household incomes should not be higher than the threshold corresponding to your situation (see below table)

2019 income threshold taken into account until the 31st December 2021

Child per household (born or expected)

Couples with one income

Single parents or couples with two incomes

1

32 455 €

42 892 €

2

38 946 €

49 383 €

3

46 735 €

57 172 €

The additional income per extra child

7 789  €

7 789  €
CAF 2019 income thresholds to receive the birth allowance in 2021

 

* The household incomes are checked on the 6th month of pregnancy for the birth allowance.

* Incomes are taken into account from 5 511 € per year (received in 2019 for the 2021 allowances).

The supplementary allowance for childcare requirements

You can receive the supplementary allowance for childcare allowance (Cmg) upon request if you meet the below requirements:

– Meet the general CAF allowance requirements (see above)

– Undertake a professional activity (if you are self-employed you must be up to date with your social charges payments)

nursery assistant
Photo by Lina Kivaka

INSIDER TIPS

– No professional activity is required if you are a student or receive one of these benefits: RSA, AAH, ATA, ASS.

– If you employ a nanny (nursery assistant), he/she must be certified by the childcare services and her/his gross daily salary should not be higher than 51.25€/child on January, 1st 2021.

– If you contract a nursery assistant via an association or certified company, you should use these services for a minimum of 16 hours per month to benefit from the supplementary allowance for childcare.

– If your child goes to a micro-crèche, you should use these services for a minimum of 16 hours per month and the hourly fee should not be higher than 10€/child to benefit from the supplementary allowance for childcare.

2019 income threshold taken into account until the 31st December 2021

Number of dependent children 

Incomes

Less than

Under No higher than More than

1 child

21 277 € *

47 283 € * 47 283 € *

2 children

24 297 € *

53 995 € * 53 995 € *

3 children

27 317 € *

60 707 € * 60 707 € *

Per extra child

+ 3 020 €

+ 6 712 € + 6 712 €

Type of childcare contracted

Monthly allowance amounts

Cmg max. allowance/month (under 3 / from 3 to 6 y.o), childcare via direct recruitment

470,22€ / 235,11 €

296,51 € / 148,28 € 177,88 € / 88,95 €

Cmg max. allowance/month (under 3 / from 3 to 6 y.o), childcare via a certified association/company

711,56 € / 355,79 €

592,98 € / 296,50 474,39 € / 237,20 €

Cmg max. allowance/month (under 3 / from 3 to 6 y.o), childcare via a micro-crèche or homecare via a certified association/company

859,83 € / 429,92 €

741,21 € / 370,61 € 622,62 € / 311,31 €

* These amounts are increased by 40% if you are raising your child or children alone.

family benefit in France
Photo by Pixabay

Family allowance requirements

You can receive the family allowance if you meet the below requirements:

– Meet the general CAF allowance requirements (see above)

– You have at least 2 dependent children under the age of 20 y.o.

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The family allowance is granted to every family that meets these requirements. The amount will vary depending on your incomes and family situation.

INSIDER TIP: There is no need to request family allowances. You will receive them automatically if you already are registered with CAF (you must have a numéro d’allocataire) when your second child is born. If you are not registered with CAF yet, you should fill in this online form by clicking on “Faire la demande” under Allocations Familiales. Once you have completed the form you should send the requested backup documents to your CAF to finalize the registration.

The flat-rate allowance comes in when one of your children turns 20 and remains dependent. To receive the flat-rate allowance, you should have been receiving the family allowances for at least 3 children (including the one turning 20) the month preceding his/her 20th birthday.

If this is the case, the flat rate will automatically be applied every month until the month preceding his/her 21st birthday.


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How much to expect of child benefit in France?

The basic allowance

This child benefit is paid monthly for 3 years from the first day of the month following your child date of birth until the month preceding your child’s 3rd birthday. In the case of adoption, the basic allowance is paid for 12 months minimum and up to 3 years until the child’s 20th birthday.

The full basic allowance of 184.62 €/month, and the partial basic allowance of 92.31 €. Check the above threshold table to know if you are entitled to the full or partial allowance.

The basic allowance is requested at the same time as the adoption allowance or the birth allowance request.

The birth allowance and adoption allowance

The birth allowance

However, the birth allowance of 948.27 € (2021 amount valid until March 2022) per baby may apply to your situation depending on your income when having a newborn child depending on your income. If you have twins or triplet, this amounts is per child.

The adoption allowance

The adoption allowance amount is 1 896.52 € (2021 amount valid until March 2022) one-time payment paid on the month of the child arrivals at your home.  The adoption allowance can be received upon request via this link. It is the same request for the adoption and the basic allowance.

The supplementary allowance for childcare

In case you recruit a certified nursery assistant, the supplementary allowance for childcare can cover up to 85% of the income.

For instance, if you owe 160 € to your nanny, and the maximum allowance granted depending on your situation is 145.33 €, you will receive 136 € from CAF (85% of the salary).

Check the table in the supplementary allowance for childcare requirements section to find out the maximum allowance amounts granted depending on your income level.

IMPORTANT: Make the request via this link the first month using the childcare services to avoid losing a portion of the allowance.

INSIDER TIPS

– The complementary allowance for childcare will be divided by two if you receive the PreParE for a part-time or less.

– In some situation, the allowance can be increased by:

– Depending on the type of childcare used and your situation, you may be entitled to a tax credit. This should be checked directly with the tax office or a tax advisor.

Family in France
Photo by Loly Galina

The family allowance

The family allowance is granted to every household based on the level of income, and its amount will vary accordingly.

CAF gets your incomes directly from the French tax office once you have completed your tax return and will apply the relevant family allowance depending on your tax bracket.

  2019 income threshold taken into account until the 31st December 2021
Number of dependent children Tax bracket 1 Tax bracket 2 Tax bracket 3
2 < or = 69 933 € < or = 93 212 € > 93 212 €
3 < or = 75 760 € € < or = 99 039 € > 99 039 €
4 < or = 81 587 € < or = 104 866 € > 104 866 €
Per extra child + 5 827 € + 5 827 € + 5 827 €
  Monthly amounts valid from April,1st 2020 until March, 31st 2021
Family allowance for 2 children 131.95 € 65.97 € 32.99 €
Family allowance for 3 children 301 € 150.51 € 75.26 €
Per extra child 169.06 € 84.53 € 42.27 €
Increase for children from the age of 14 y.o. 65.97 € 32.99 € 16.50 €
Flat-rate allowance 83.44 € 41.72 € 20.86 €

The below table summarizes the main elements regarding the child benefit in France. The initial request process can be repelling but as you can see it is worth making the effort, and then, you will just need to confirm our incomes and any changes in your family situation on your online account to keep receiving the relevant allowances if you keep meeting the criteria.

   Payment Paid from Age limit Income tested
Birth allowance one-time 1st child 0 month Yes
Adoption allowance one-time 1st child 20 y.o. Yes
Basic allowance monthly 1st child 3 y.o. Yes
Complementary allowance for child care monthly 1st child 6 y.o. Yes
 Family allowance monthly 2nd child 20 y.o. Only the amount

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How to get child benefit in France

Child benefit in France FAQ

The family allowance (Allocation familiale – Af) is granted from the second child born in the family. It is paid monthly to families with at least 2 children under the age of 20 years old.

The child benefit (called Allocation de base) is paid monthly for 3 years from the first day of the month following your child date of birth until the month preceding your child’s 3rd birthday. In the case of adoption, the basic allowance is paid for 12 months minimum and up to 3 years until the child’s 20th birthday.

The full basic allowance of 184.62 €/month, and the partial basic allowance of 92.31 €. There are thresholds to know if you are entitled to the full or partial allowance.

The large majority of the allowance paid by CAF (Caisse d’Allocation Familiale) are income-based. The allowance available to everyone is the Family allowance (Allocation Familale – Af). Only the monthly amount will vary depending on your income level.

All the CAF allowances can be requested online on the CAF website (www.caf.fr). You will need to fill in the lengthy questionnaire and once submitted you will need to send by postal mail the requested backup documents.

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