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Students and their rights to child benefit

It is not easy to find out what rights to child benefit your student still has when he or she turns 18. The rights change when they work, stop going to school... So what now? What about your child? We will give you a hand.  

Students and holiday jobs

Want to make some money? Of course you do. But you do want to retain your right to child benefits. This is possible, under certain conditions. The first thing you need to do is inform yourself properly. Here is what you need to know in advance... It all depends on where you live. Let's have a look at what happens in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia.

On this page
Child is younger than 18 years old

We summarise the conditions for receiving the Child benefit in Flanders automatically below

Your child attends classes in non-higher education
  • for at least 17 teaching hours per week (a teaching time of 50 minutes = 1 hour). Work placements that are necessary for obtaining a diploma/certificate/licence are also considered to be class time;
  • in one or more educational establishments, in a training centre or via an entrepreneurship route (for example at Syntra or a Centre for Part-time Education);
  • in full-time or part-time ordinary or special secondary education.

If your child stops attending classes in the course of the school year, the right to child benefit as pupil or student ends at the end of the month in which the studies are stopped. After this, an entitlement can possibly arise as a school leaver (see school leaver).

Exception: illness (see below)

Is your child still going to school?

Then you do not need to do anything to receive any extra allowances if your student

  • continues his/her studies, but stops them in the course of the next school or academic year;
  • continues studying, but reduces the study volume to less than 17 lessons per week (non-higher education) or less than 27 credits (higher education) in the course of the next school or academic year;
  • if the young person is following education that is not recognised by the Flemish Community;
  • if you are continuing your studies outside Flanders, you must have a specific school form filled in by the educational establishment. We can provide you with this school form to fill in;
  • Please send an email to vlaanderen@infino.be if one of the above applies to your situation.

Please notify us immediately if your student works more or does other work than allowed by the conditions, is registered as self-employed in main occupation or receives benefits.

CHild is older than 18 years old

Your child is enrolled in higher education

  • for at least 27 study points per academic year (or at least 13 teaching hours per week if the programme is not expressed in study points) in one or more Belgian recognised institutions of higher education. Study credits awarded for writing a PhD thesis do not count towards the entitlement to child benefit;
  • for less than 27 credits, if it concerns the year in which your child can obtain the diploma (maximum 1 year per educational cycle);
  • for a state-recognised training course for ministers of religion;
  • for the scientific course as preparation for the Royal Military Academy or engineering studies.
  • Entitlement to child benefit starts on 1 October of the academic year, provided that enrolment for at least part of the 27 credits took place at the latest on 30 November. Entitlement to child benefit starts from the date of the first or only enrolment if the total of at least 27 credits is the result of one or more enrolments after 30 November.
  • If your child reduces his/her enrolment(s) to less than 27 credits or terminates it during the academic year, the right to child benefit as a student ends immediately at the end of the month in which the credits fall below 27 or the enrolment stops.

However, an entitlement as a school leaver can possibly arise after this (see school leaver).

Exception: illness (see below).

Your child follows lessons in both higher and non-higher education for at least 17 hours a week (1 credit of higher education = half an hour of lessons).

Child still goes to school

Your child is over 18 and is studying

The young person is enrolled in higher education

  • for at least 27 credits per academic year (or at least 13 teaching hours per week if the programme is not expressed in credits)
  • for a diploma year in which less than 27 credits are taken up (maximum 1 year per training cycle) (Art. 24§3)
  • for a recognised training course in one or more institutions of higher education (including training as a minister for recognised religions or scientific training courses as preparation for the Royal Military Academy or engineering studies)

! Attention: credits for the editing of a doctoral thesis do not count towards the right to child benefit.

The right to the Growth package starts at the beginning of the academic year, provided that the enrolment for at least a part of the 27 credits happened before 30 November. If the enrolment(s) is (are) reduced to less than 27 credits in the course of the academic year or the enrolment is terminated, then the entitlement to a Growth Package stops immediately at the end of the month. There may still be an entitlement as a school leaver. When your child falls ill, the entitlement can exceptionally be retained.

The young person follows lessons in both higher and non-higher education

  • for at least 17 teaching hours a week (one credit in higher education counts as half an hour)

For example: your child is enrolled for 20 credits in higher education and follows 7 lessons in non-higher education. The sum is 10+7 = 17 teaching hours, so just enough to retain the right to family benefits.

Child studies abroad

My student is studying abroad

If the young person is studying outside Belgium (both within and outside the EEA), the training programme must be recognised by the foreign authority or correspond to a programme recognised by that authority. If the course is higher education and not recognised by the foreign government, proof must be provided that the young person is enrolled for at least 13 hours a week (even if the course is higher education and not expressed in credits).

If the course is non-higher education and is not recognised by the foreign government, it has to be proved that the young person is registered for at least 17 teaching hours a week. young people who have already obtained a final certificate of secondary education in Belgium and who are not in higher education outside Belgium in a country that is not part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland or with which Belgium has not concluded a bilateral agreement are entitled to a maximum of 1 school year. Young people who follow higher education in such a country have an entitlement for the entire period of the education followed. 

The child has to keep his domicile in Flanders or be put on 'temporarily absent' status by the municipality. And a parent is not allowed to practice any gainful activity in the child's country of residence. 

Combining work and school

Your child is older than 18, studies and works in Flanders

When are you no longer entitled to your child benefit?

Working students

  • There is no longer any right to child benefit as a student from the moment your child works too much or receives social benefits.
  • There is no further right to family allowance when
  • your child works more than the annual maximum of 475 hours with an employment contract for students with reduced social contributions (Student@work).

Your child works more than 80 hours in a calendar month through another employment (as a temporary worker, with a permanent contract of fixed or indefinite duration, with a student contract without reduced social contributions). The following are not counted: work in the framework of work-linked training, a traineeship required to obtain a diploma, certificate or licence, work in the framework of a recognised and monitored apprenticeship contract and voluntary work.

  • Your child establishes himself/herself as a self-employed person in main occupation and pays full contributions.
  • Your child receives unemployment benefit
Child wants to stop school

Your child is over 18 and stops going to school

Are you still entitled to child benefit?

Has your son or daughter stopped studying? Then he or she can still receive child benefit for 12 months as a school-leaver (the amount for a school-leaver is equal to the amount he received as a student).

This period of 12 months starts

  • on 1 September for the former non-higher education pupil;
  • on 1 October for the former higher education student;
  • the month following the early termination of studies;
  • the first day of the month following the agreement for young people who had an apprenticeship contract.

The period of 12 months is interrupted when your child starts education again. The young person can then again get child benefit as pupil/student/trainee. The remaining period as a school-leaver starts again as soon as your child is no longer in education.

Child benefit as a school-leaver stops when your child obtains an income. Also take a look at the section "Your child is over 18, studies and works. When are you no longer entitled to your family benefits?

Attention: voluntary work, internship, or non-recognised training abroad: provide us with a certificate from the volunteer organisation concerned, RVA or VDAB.

My child has a holiday job

Is there an entitlement to child benefit during the school holidays?

Entitlement continues during the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays under specific conditions.

  • If the holiday lasts longer than four months, the remaining period is covered by, and deducted from, the 12 months of entitlement as a school leaver (see above).
  • If classes are not actually resumed after non-higher education, the summer holidays end no later than 31 August.
  • If classes are not actually resumed after higher education, the summer holidays end no later than 30 September.

When studies in Belgium, an EEA member state or Switzerland are preceded or followed by studies abroad, a maximum of four months is allowed during the intervening summer holidays.

Holiday periods between two years of study abroad must be attested by the foreign school and may not exceed 120 days.

Child lives on its own, not at home

Independent student

If your child starts living independently, he or she will get his or her own child benefit when he or she reaches the age of sixteen and no longer lives in the household of his or her parents or a family member (e.g. grandparents, uncle, aunt). Your child can ask us to keep paying child benefit to you. This can be financially beneficial, depending on your personal situation. We also pay child benefit directly to your child in the following cases: If he/she is married; If he/she receives child benefit for one or more children; If he/she is a guardian. 
Illness

What if the young person falls ill during the studies?

IMPORTANT: you always need a medical certificate!

  • If your child becomes ill during the school year (non-higher education) or if he or she reduces his or her enrolment below 27 credits (higher education), the right to child benefit is retained provided a valid medical certificate from the attending physician is submitted. This is possible until the end of the summer holidays of the school or academic year that follows the school or academic year in which the young person became ill. Absences that last longer than 3 months must always be justified by an examination by Kind en Gezin.
  • If your child cannot register for 17 lessons per week (non-higher education) or for at least 27 credits (higher education) because of illness at the beginning of the school or academic year, there can be a right to child benefit during this school year, provided that the educational institution attests that the pupil is unable to follow more lessons or take more credits because of illness.
  • If the young person cannot enrol for a new school or academic year because of illness but was not ill during the previous school year, please contact us for advice tailored to your situation.

Your child becomes ill during studies and is linked to a learning agreement? Contact your case manager.

If the young person becomes ill during an apprenticeship in order to be appointed to public office, also contact your case manager.

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