AM I ENTITLED TO CHILD BENEFIT?
Child benefit is a fixed sum parents in Belgium receive for every child that is dependent on them.
If you are an international student, staying in Belgium temporarily because of your studies, you can receive Belgian child benefit for the children in your household, if certain conditions are fulfilled. This benefit is meant to allay the expenses of care for your children such as clothing, studies, food, sports and cultural activities, … Child benefit is awarded for the child(ren) under the age of 18. After this age and up to 25 years, the child(ren) must either be a student in higher education (university or university college) or must follow a training.
You are entitled to receive child benefit in the following cases:
- as a student: if you are younger than 25 years old (exceptionally 27 years), registered for minimum 27 credits and you are either a citizen of the EEA, a citizen of one of the countries who have signed the European Social Charter, a refugee, a stateless student or you have been living in Belgium for more than 5 years. In this case you can also request child benefit for the children staying with you in Belgium during your studies;
- on the basis of your work activities: if you are working in Belgium or you are an employee of a Belgian company or you are working in Belgium as a self-employed person and you are subject to the Belgian social security;
- if you are born in Belgium or you or the child for which you ask the child benefit, are either a citizen of the EEA, a citizen of one of the countries who have signed the European Social Charter, a refugee, stateless student or you have been living in Belgium for more than 4 years (in individual cases exceptions on this 4 year condition can be given). If you have a limited income you are entitled to guaranteed child benefit.
The benefit consists of a birth allowance which can be claimed on or after the 6th month of pregnancy and a monthly child benefit payment. Children with a handicap are entitled to higher payments until the age of 21.
Conditions to receive child benefit as a student
If your are eligible for child benefit, based on one of the situations mentioned above, you will receive child benefit as a student:
- until the month you become 25 years;
- if you are registered in higher education and remain registered during the whole academic year for minimum 27 credits with a degree, credit and/or exam contract;
- if you are registered for a whole academic year on November 30th at the latest. If you registered after this date, you will receive child benefit as of the month following to your registration.
After approval of your Individual Study Program (ISP), by Student Administrative Services, the number of credits you have registered for is automatically sent to the Database of Higher Education (DHO) that can be viewed by the child benefit organizations. Therefore, Student Administrative Services nor Social services will ot fill in the documents concerning child benefit that your parents (or you) may have received.
Some important remarks
- If you change your initial choice of study program and you decide to de-register during the academic year, you will continue to receive child benefit if you register before the end of the month in a new study program.
- The child benefit legislation differs in the 4 regions in Belgium (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia and the German region). Therefore you have to inform yourself at the child benefit organizations responsible for the payment or at the Social services' office on your campus.