Belgium is one of the top twenty countries in the world to live in. it’s a small urbanized country known for chocolates and castles. Their beers are worth taking a trip for. Its citizens are friendly and welcoming. Belgium is also known for its strong stand on human rights.
The country ranks eleven on the list of countries offering a good quality of life. It’s easy to see why. It has a strong job market. The economy is stable and the cost of living is affordable. The country’s education and health system is one of the best in the world.
Belgium is also home to over a million foreigners. Many ex-pats even bring their whole family because of the benefits they can enjoy. The country’s child benefits are outstanding. So if you’re working in the country and have children, you should apply for child benefits.
Understanding Belgium’s Child Benefits System
Compulsory social insurance is the basic rule for a child to become entitled to benefits. Anyone working in the country receives social insurance, even an ex-pat. As long as you’re employed in Belgium, you have mandatory social security coverage. You might also become entitled to an allowance.
Belgium’s child benefit system is unique. It mandates that the benefits the child receives are the region’s responsibility. The country has three – Brussels-Capital, Flemish, and Walloon. Each region has its own setup. This affects the allowance the child receives. The corresponding rules about child benefits also vary per region.
There’s one general rule in Belgium’s child benefits framework. It’s that the mother receives it on their behalf. But there are exceptions to this rule.
In cases where parents don’t live together, the father can receive the child’s benefits. But the child must become registered as living with their father.
The parent the child spends the most time with can also receive the benefits. This is for cases when the parents don’t live together.
For divorced couples, the child’s primary caregiver will receive the allowance.
There are cases when the child doesn’t live with either of their parents. The person entrusted with their care and well-being will receive the allowance. The caregiver can be a grandparent, relative, or foster parent.
Amount of Child Allowance in Belgium
A family allowance is a basic amount received from the government plus a supplement. How much supplement a family receives will depend on several factors. Family income, number of family members, and age of children are factors.
The allowance and supplement are always paid every month. The amount differs per region. In Brussels, the basic amount of a child’s allowance depends on their age. Children up to 11 years old will receive 165.62 euros. Children from 12 to 17 will get around 176 euros. Those aged 18 to 24 will receive 176 euros if they don’t have higher education. Those with higher education receive around 187 euros.
Children in the Flanders region receive the same amount. Their allowance is around 170 euros. Meanwhile, the child benefits allowance in the Wallonia region depends on the child’s age. Children up to 17 years old will receive 171 euros. People from 18 to 24 years old will get around 182 euros.
There are exceptions to the allowance a child gets. Families with only one child can receive an allowance of 165.62 euros regardless of age. But the family’s income must be more than 34,603.94 euros.
How are Child Benefits Paid?
There are many public organizations in Belgium that handle child benefit payments. Claimants can select the organization best for their needs in every region.
Families in the Brussels region can choose from BrusselsFamily, Famiris, and Infino. They can also pick between KidsLife and Parentia. Organizations like Fons, Infino, and KidsLife handle the benefits in the Flanders region. MyFamily and Parentia also operate there. The choices for the Wallonia Region are Camille, Famiwal, and Infino. KidsLife and Parentia are also options.
Parents can also apply for other child allowances through these organizations. For instance, they can apply for health allowance or school allowance. Note that each organization has its own kind of allowance. They also have a distinct system.
You don’t have to worry about moving to another city or region. Parents can transfer to another organization that’s within the area.
Steps in Applying for Child Benefits
Parents have to apply for child benefits to the organization they picked. Every organization has its own application process. Parents can apply online or via email. They can also send their application by post. They will also need the following:
Application form from the specific organization
Child’s birth certificate: The organization needs a copy to prove the child’s existence.
Requirements differ as one parent works in Belgium and the other is in another EU country. They will need to submit the following as well:
Form E 401: This is a family composition certificate.
Form E 411: This verifies that no benefit claims are then made in the home country. If there is, Belgium can cover the difference in the amount. Another option is to pay more child benefits to the claimant.
Form E 402: It’s a certificate of continuing studies. This is for ensuring family benefits.
Form P12: This is a declaration of one’s employment situation. It’s issued by the benefits organization working with the claimant.