To get the Child benefits (Groeipakket), you must meet age, study and nationality requirements.
Below is more information on the regulations for students whose main residence is in Flanders.
Different regulations apply to students domiciled in Brussels. They contact the paymaster for more information.
What are the requirements?
You are eligible for a family allowance until you are 25. There is one condition, however: you must have enrolled on a programme worth at least 27 study credits. This includes day and evening courses. The type of contract (degree, credit or exam contract) you are studying with is not important. Exemption and transfer study credits are not taken into account in the 27 study credit rule.
If you do not (or no longer) meet the conditions for the Child Benefits as a student, you may be entitled as a school leaver under certain conditions.
Is the date of enrolment important?
The date of enrolment is used to determine the beginning of your entitlement to Child benefits.
- If you have enrolled by 30 November at the latest for minimum 27 study credits, then you will receive Child benefits for the entire academic year. Have you enrolled for less than 27 study credits, you will not be entitled to Child benefits. If you can enrol for other courses later in the year and then have at least 27 study credits, you will be entitled to retroactive Child benefits starting from the beginning of the academic year.
- If you enrol only after 30 November and have minimum 27 study credits then you will be entitled to Child benefits starting the month of your enrolment.
Special regulations for students in a diploma year
A student who takes fewer than 27 credits in a diploma year will retain their Child benefits for the entire diploma year, unless they terminate their educational activities earlier (in which case the school-leaving regulation applies). This applies to one diploma year per program cycle. Therefore, one can make use of it several times, e.g., in a bachelor and in a master program, and it is not limited to 1 bachelor and 1 master program. This exception does not apply to transition and preparatory programs and advanced programs (e.g., manama and postgraduate programs).
Information for sick students
If you are unable to enroll/remain enrolled for at least 27 credits due to illness or if you discontinue your studies, you can keep your Child benefits as a student under certain conditions. There is a specific arrangement for sick students.
Contact your paymaster before changing your enrollment.
Information for school-leavers and/or graduates
A school leaver retains the right to Child benefits for a period of up to 12 months. Registration as a job seeker is not a prerequisite. The start date of the 12-month period for graduates is October 1. For students who terminate their studies early or graduate before the end of the academic year, the right to Child benefits as a school leaver starts on the first day of the month following the month of termination of studies or educational activities. This 12-month period is a "credit" that can be used in different periods, but never exceeds 12 months in total. This is important for students who interrupt their studies and later restart them. They will no longer receive 12 months of Child benefits after the end of the resumed studies if they have already used up a number of months of the 'credit' after the interruption. There is also an employment standard for school-leavers. A school leaver retains the right to Child benefits as long as he does not work more than 80 hours per month.
Students who graduate during the academic year (January or February) retain Child benefits as students until October 1. In some educational institutions, students are deregistered after graduating in January or February. They are then no longer students and immediately fall back on the Child benefits as school leavers. In educational institutions where they are not deregistered (such as at UAntwerpen), they remain students until the end of the academic year and thus continue to receive Child benefits as students. Enrolment at VDAB does not affect this and is not a condition.
Working as a student whilst receiving child benefits
Not delivering study certificates or completing documents
You do not have to submit a study certificate from your university to (continue to) receive a family allowance. The family allowance fund will automatically receive all the data about your enrolment via the higher education database.
You return to university after having interrupted your studies
Students who return to university after having interrupted their studies must contact their Child benefits fund and re-apply.
You receive an allowance or benefits
If you have another primary status (employee, unemployed, etc.) and you receive an allowance or benefits as a result of this status (jobseeker's allowance, tideover allowance, career break allowance, etc.) then you are no longer entitled to Child benefits.
A social allowance which is the consequence of legal work (e.g. a sickness allowance or an allowance following a workplace accident) does not affect your right to Child benfits.
Receiving an allowance from the Public Centre for Social Welfare (OCMW) does not prevent you from claiming a family allowance either. You will also receive Child benefits if you are self-employed and do not have to pay any social security contributions.
Information for international students who have children
International students who have obtained a residence permit on the basis of their studies cannot receive Child benefits themselves, but they may be able to do so for their children if they live in Flanders. If there is a right in the country of origin, the country of origin pays in priority. This is always investigated first. If the Belgian family benefits are higher, additional payments may be made.