AM I ENTITLED TO CHILD BENEFIT?
Child benefit is a fixed sum parents in Belgium receive from the government 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 benefits for the children in your household, if certain conditions are fulfilled. These benefits are meant to allay the expenses of care for your children such as clothing, studies, food, sports and cultural activities, … Child benefits are 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 benefits 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 benefits 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 benefits, are either a citizen of the EEA, a citizen of one of the countries who have signed the European Social Charter, a refugee, stateless 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 benefits.
The benefits consist 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
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 is automatically sent to the Database of Higher Education (DHO) that can be viewed by the child benefit organizations. Therefore, Student Administrative Services will not 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.
- If you work as a student, you can only work 240 hours per quarter otherwise the payment of the child benefit will be stopped for that specific quarter.
If you register for less than 27 credits, you will receive child benefit if your study program contains a bachelor or a master thesis or an internship report. The child benefit will be paid until the day you hand in your thesis or report.
After graduation or if you stop your studies during the academic year
You are still entitled to child benefit if:
- you register immediately as job seeker with the VDAB, ACTIRIS or FOREM, and
- your gross income is below € 541,09 per month.
For more detailed information or if you have questions, contact a staff member of the Social Services' office.