Family Allowances

If you are part of the Belgian social security system (working as an employee or as a self-employed) you should be entitled to receive monthly family allowance payments (“allocations familiales”-“kinderbijslag”) for each child in your household.

Regional compentence

The family allowances (“allocations familiales-kinderbijslag”), governmental aid dedicated to families with dependent children, is - by the 6th State Reform - ruled by the regions and no longer by the federal government. This means that for all questions and requests related to your family allowances, you can liaise with the following organisations:

  • Groeipakket if you are living in Flanders;
  • Iriscare if you are living in Brussels;
  • Aviq if you are living in Wallonia.

In the Brussels Region, family allowances can be paid by one of five family allowance funds. One is public, Famiris, which is part of Iriscare, while the other four are private funds: Infino, Parentia, Brussels Family and Kidslife.

All the funds are legally obliged to pay you the amount to which you are entitled on the same payment date. The various forms of assistance will therefore be identical from one fund to another. Your choice may be based on a number of criteria, such as the proximity of a counter to your home, the ease of reaching them through different channels, or the specific features of each family allowance fund. We advise you to consult their respective websites to make an informed choice.

Who is entitled to child benefit ?

The person who brings up the child at home is eligible for child benefit. This entitlement is allocated in the following order:

  • the father
  • the female co-parent (if she is older than the mother)
  • the mother
  • the father-in-law/mother-in-law
  • the eldest of two parents if the two adoptive parents are the same sex
  • the eldest of the following:

                       - the partner of the mother/father

                       - one of the grandparents of the child (if part of the household)

                       - an uncle or aunt of the child (if part of the household)

                       - a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister

If no person is eligible for child benefit, entitlement may be attributed to any beneficiary who has obtained dispensation from the FPS Social Security.

Who receives the benefit ?

The recipient is the person who receives the child benefit and who uses it for the child’s education. In this respect, the government has issued precise regulations.

The general rule is that the mother receives payment of the child benefit. However, there are exceptions:

  • In the event that the parents no longer live together and the child is a minor, the mother is always the recipient unless the children are registered officially at their father’s address. In this case, the father has to make a request to a family allowance fund or create a joint account with the mother in order to receive the child benefit.
  • If the child is adult, the parent with whom he or she lives the most will be the recipient.
  • It is also possible to reach an agreement on the allocation through a divorce judgement in order to determine who receives the benefit.
  • If the child no longer lives with his or her parents, the person who brings up the child is the recipient. From the age of 16, children may receive the benefit payment themselves.
  • When both parents of the child are the same sex, the older of the two will receive the allowance.

In view of the wide variety of cases, don’t hesitate to contact your assigned personal manager for more information.

How to proceed ?

First of all, it is essential to apply (in advance) for the birth allowance. Regarding the family allowances itself, complete a form (available from your health insurance organisation) to request the child benefits, which is available from the child benefit fund with which your employer is affiliated, or, if you are self-employed, to your social insurance fund. Do not forget to enclose the document received from the local authority when you registered your child (specific birth certificate for applying for family allowances).

What happens when parents work for European institutions ?

If both parents work for a European institution it will become their institution's responsibility. When their child is born, the parents will automatically receive child benefits.

If one parent works in the Belgian system (as employee or self-employed) and the other works for a European institution, the parents are not entitled to receive any EU allowance. However, the child can receive supplementary cover from the institution, after deduction of the amount already received under Belgian law.

usefull links

  • Iriscare, Brussels-based social protection organisation.