Children who lose 1 or both parents receive additional support. They’re entitled to an orphan’s allowance (previously known as the care allowance for orphans), providing they’re entitled to the Growth Package.
We’re automatically notified via the national register in the event that a child loses one or both parents. This period is difficult enough as it is, so you needn’t make any arrangements yourself - unless it concerns a death abroad, in which case we require you to send us the death announcement.
Not automatically receiving the increased orphan's allowance? Then please contact us directly.
Orphan's Allowance in Flanders
If both parents are deceased, the child receives a supplement to the basic Growth Package amount. That supplementary allowance amounts to 100% of the basic amount: 163.20 euros per month.
Jinte was born on 2 April 2019. Together with mum Anke and dad Pieter, she forms a family of 3. Jinte’s mum and dad are killed in a car accident on 8 September 2019. As of September, Jinte’s basic amount of 163.20 euros is supplemented with an orphan’s allowance of 163.20 euros. She therefore receives 326.40 euros in total. This is paid out for the first time in October.
If 1 of both parents is deceased, the child also receives a supplement to the basic Growth Package amount. For half-orphans that supplementary allowance is 50% of the basic amount: 81.60 euros per month.
Good to know: unlike in the past, the current family situation of the surviving parent is no longer relevant. In the event that the remaining parent forms a new family, the child still receives the orphan's allowance (providing they’re entitled to the Growth Package).
Ella was born on 7 January 2019. Her dad Kobe dies on 18 February 2019. As of March, Ella’s basic amount of 163.20 euros is supplemented with an orphan’s allowance of 81.60 euros. She therefore receives 244.60 euros in total. In the summer, her mother Karen meets Ruud, who she moves in with on 15 November 2019. Karen, Ella, Ruud and his daughter Anse form a recomposed family. Ella’s orphan’s allowance isn’t affected. She still receives 244.60 euros per month.
From 1 January 2019 onwards
Children who were orphaned after 1 January 2019 receive this new allowance. For children already receiving the orphan's benefit prior to 1 January, nothing changes: they still receive the same amount allocated under the old system.
Joren was born on 26 June 2011. He lives with his mum Leen and dad Bart. He receives a basic Growth Package. His mother dies following a short illness on 11 May 2019. As of May, Joren’s basic amount of 163.20 euros is supplemented with an orphan's allowance of 81.60 euros. He therefore receives 244.60 euros in total.
Orphan's Allowance in Brussels and Wallonia
Children with at least 1 deceased parent are entitled to a fixed orphan's allowance of 357 euros
Tips for helping children cope with the loss of a parent.
Hide nothing, tell the truth
Talk to the child. It’s best to involve children as much as possible, regardless how young. Make no mistake, they can sense when you’re hiding something. You certainly won’t help them by not talking about it: this will only make their grief process more difficult in the long run. Explain what’s going on and be as honest as possible. Create a safe environment in which to break the bad news. Try to express the message clearly and concisely, and use words that the child will understand. Make clear that the deceased parent is never coming back, no matter how hard that may seem. “Daddy has gone to sleep forever” can give the impression that their father might wake up at some point. Or it may make the child frightened to go to sleep, because: ‘who knows, they might also not wake up again.’
Visit the deceased parent
Give the child the opportunity to visit their deceased mum or dad and say goodbye. However, don’t force them if they aren’t ready or don’t want to. But do talk about it. Perhaps the child is scared and you can help allay their fears. Allow the child to attend the funeral service. It won’t harm them; rather it will teach them that grief is part of life. Make sure that you give the child plenty of comfort and support.
Keep the memories alive
It’s extremely important that children remember and continue to understand that mum and/or dad loved them very much. Making a memory box (filled with photos, a book, card or letter and other mementos) is a good way to reinforce this. It provides tangible memories of the parent who has died. Terminally ill parents can create this memory box themselves. Continue talking about the deceased parent, particularly at important events.
Make sure the child knows that it’s okay to talk about their loss. And that it's all right to ask questions about their parent’s death. We tend to avoid discussing difficult subjects with children, mistakenly believing that it’s in their best interests. But they, too, need to be able to process their grief. And grief doesn't disappear by keeping silent. Children usually want to talk about their feelings, just in a different way from adults. If they hesitate or refuse, then give them the necessary space. Perhaps they find it easier to express their emotions through a drawing, for example. So listen carefully to the language that the child is using.
Trust in the resilience of children
Have faith in the child: children often cope with difficulties better than we think. But, at the same time, make sure that they receive plenty of love and affection. Don’t be afraid to show that you're also feeling sad and miss the person who has died. Cry, cuddle, comfort ... be there for each other.