Expensive interruption: child benefit: when is the study break too long?

If children are studying or doing an apprenticeship, they are still entitled to child benefit after their 18th birthday.

Expensive interruption: child benefit: when is the study break too long?

If children are studying or doing an apprenticeship, they are still entitled to child benefit after their 18th birthday. Important: If there is a break between two training sections, the claim can be omitted, as the Federal Fiscal Court has ruled.

Adult children may also be entitled to child benefit. Prerequisite: The child is still doing an apprenticeship. In this case, child benefit can be paid up to the age of 25. Transitional times between two training phases are also taken into account under child benefit law. However, the break must not be too long, as a judgment by the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) shows (Ref.: III R 40/19).

The plaintiff is the mother of a daughter born in May 1992. She completed her studies in 2016, which she successfully completed. The final grades were communicated to her online at the end of October 2016. The daughter personally picked up the certificates at the end of November 2016. In March 2017 she applied for another course, which she began in April 2017.

The Family Benefits Office granted child benefit up to and including October 2016 for her first degree and from April 2017 for her second degree. For the period from November 2016 to February 2017, the Family Benefits Office and subsequently also the Finance Court rejected a longer payment period for child benefit.

The BFH confirmed the decision. According to the court, the question of when a course of study is completed depends on the point in time at which the last required examination was successfully completed. In addition, the child must have written confirmation of all test results. The decisive factor is which event occurred earlier.

In this case, the decisive factor was that the university had put the final grades online at the end of October 2016. The following studies did not start with the application in March 2017, but only when the training measures actually took place in April 2017. Transitional times between two training phases are only taken into account in terms of child benefit law if they last a maximum of four calendar months. In the case of dispute, however, the BFH assumed a transitional period of five calendar months.

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