Entitlement to family allowances arises both with a birth of a child, and when a child joins a family in another way – for example, when a child is adopted or taken under guardianship or replacement care. Family allowances are paid to one parent or guardian, and the recipient can be changed during the benefit payment period.
In general, the state pays family allowances to all children until they turn 16 years of age. Children studying in a basic school, upper secondary school or in a vocational educational institution which operates on the basis of basic education have the right to receive family allowances until the end of that schoolyear during which they turn 19 years of age. Schoolyear begins on September 1st and ends on August 31st (in the final year of secondary school, on June 30th).
You are entitled to family allowances if:
- A child was born to you;
- You have adopted a child, taken a child into foster care, or are the child’s legal guardian;
- You are the spouse of a parent raising a child, and the child lives with you;
- You are not married but your partner has a child from previous marriage or partnership, and at least one mutual child lives in your family as well;
- You raise a child who is separated from his or her family;
- You are at least 18 years of age, study in a basic school, upper secondary school or in a vocational educational institution which operates on the basis of basic education, and have moved to live separately from your parents;
- You are the child’s actual custodian and use the parental leave instead of the parent (entitled only to child care allowance)
You are entitled to Estonian family allowances if both you and the child are permanently living in Estonia, and if you are:
- Estonian citizens;
- Foreigners living in Estonia under a residence permit or a right of residence;
- If you live in several countries, you are entitled to family allowances if you reside in Estonia for at least 183 days during 12 consecutive months – meaning that you are a resident as defined by the Income Tax Act.
In order to get family benefits you must first give your child a name and register it in your local government. If your child was born in a hospital and the parents are married, you can register the name in the state portal eesti.ee. Otherwise you are required to file an application with your local government.
Read more on the state portal’s page Registration of birth and choosing a name
No application is required for receiving benefits! Once you have registered your child in the Population Register this information will automatically reach us the next day. We will review which types of allowances your family is entitled to and we will send a family benefits offer to both parents through the self service portal.
You will also receive a notification by e-mail. Please check that your correct e-mail address is available in our self service portal.
In the self service portal you can choose which types of allowances will be paid to one parent and which types to the other parent. Please be sure to discuss this amongst yourselves beforehand! Keep in mind that state health insurance is provided to the recipient of benefits!
For us to be able to pay benefits retroactively starting from the birth of your child you must approve the offer within six months.
If your family is entitled to family benefits for another reason – for example, you and your family have moved to Estonia from abroad, you have adopted a child, you have become a guardian or other, please contact us through the self service portal or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Decisions on the grant of family benefits are available to you in the self service portal no later than within 10 business days.
- The recipient will get the first payment of family benefits no later than on the 8th day of the following month.
- When the child’s parents separate, we shall continue to pay family allowances to that parent who had been the recipient to date, unless the parents agree on otherwise.
Both parents’ approval is required for changing the recipient of family allowances. More information about changing the recipient is available HERE.
In a situation where the parents cannot reach an agreement as to who is the recipient of family allowances, they have the possibility to turn to court.
- Either you or your partner / spouse is entitled to receive family allowances for all children if your family raises, in addition to your mutual children, also children of your partner or spouse from their previous partnership. If you have agreed which one of you is the recipient of the family allowances, that parent should file an application to us, together with another parent’s agreement for diverting the benefits.