Age of majority: what you need to arrange in the various scenarios.
Child benefit and Growth Package for adult children.
Child Benefit and Growth Package for students.
Adult children who continue their studies may still be entitled to the Growth Package (in Flanders) or Child Benefit (in Brussels and Wallonia), providing they satisfy a number of conditions. The general rule is that they must be enrolled at school for a minimum of 27 credits (or 17 teaching hours) in order to retain their Child Benefit.
The specific rules depend on where the student lives:
Child Benefit and Growth Package for school-leavers
School-leavers may also still be entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit, providing they don’t work (or only work to a limited extent).
Here too, the rules differ per region.
School-leavers in Flanders School-leavers in Brussels School-leavers in Wallonia
Working during studies
Does your student want to earn some extra cash? That's a great mindset to have. And they can do so without you losing all of your Child Benefit entitlement. But students must satisfy certain conditions.
Is your child a student and do they work at weekends, during the holidays or even an evening or two during the week? Some students will go to a lot of effort to earn some extra pocket money. Fortunately, you won’t lose any Child Benefit or Growth Package, providing they continue to satisfy the following conditions:
The following applies to students in Flanders:
Students are unconditionally entitled to the Growth Package up to and including the month in which they turn 18 (or up to and including the month in which they turn 21 if they have specific support needs).
You’ll retain your Growth Package entitlement upon the student reaching the age of majority, providing the student
- Performs less than 600 hours of student work
- Doesn’t receive any additional social benefits
- Works a maximum of 80 hours per month in the event that it doesn’t involve a student internship contract, construction sector apprenticeship, A17 (socio-cultural or sports sector)
The following applies to students in Brussels and Wallonia:
Students are unconditionally entitled to Child Benefit up to and including the month of August of the year in which they turn 18 (or up to and including the month in which they turn 21 if they have specific support needs).
You may still be entitled to Child Benefit after this point providing the student:
- Performs less than 240 hours of work (excluding student work) per quarter
- Students may work unrestricted hours in the 3rd quarter, providing they resume classes the following school year. Otherwise, the 240-hour work limit per quarter also applies.
Students are free to develop new ideas or business plans that cannot wait until they’ve completed their studies, in the capacity of a self-employed student.
If you live in Flanders, then this won’t affect your Growth Package payments. If you live in Brussels or Wallonia, then the student can work in the capacity of a self-employed student for a maximum of 240 hours per quarter before losing their Child Benefit entitlement.
Taking out a Social Insurance policy is not only advisable; it’s also mandatory. Fortunately, KidsLife can recommend 3 excellent Social Insurance Funds that will be happy to assist: Liantis, Group S and EASYPAY Group.
Working in a flexi-job, on an interim basis or in another form of employment
We effectively mean any form of employment in which the employer doesn’t register the young person as a 'student.'
This type of employment (performed during studies) is permitted, providing it doesn’t exceed 80 hours per month (in Flanders) or 240 hours per quarter (in Brussels and Wallonia).
If the young person concerned is no longer studying, then School-Leaver conditions apply.
My child is living in student accommodation or co-housing: how does this affect my Child Benefit or Growth Package?
Is your child planning to move into student accommodation during their studies? Or co-housing with fellow students? This has no impact on your Child Benefit (or Growth Package) entitlement and payments, providing the student is still registered at their parents' address.
However, if an official change of address is made via the municipal authorities, then this will affect your Child Benefit or Growth Package payments.
Planning to live on their own
Spreading their wings, flying the parental nest, standing on their own two feet … whatever you call it, your child is keen to start living on their own (or with friends or a partner).
If they still receive the Growth Package or Child Benefit, then this will affect the Child Benefit and Growth Package recipient. In most cases, the payment will now be made to the young person themselves, and not their parents. But there are always exceptions.
Graduating or terminating studies
Has your child received their diploma? This marks a new chapter in their life. Starting work, looking for a place of their own... if your young graduate wants to get off to a good start, then they’ll need to take care of some administrative matters.
Register as a job-seeker
Perhaps your child already has a job lined up for the end of their studies, following the completion of a successful internship, for example. But they might also need to start their job search at the end of their studies. In this case, your child should register as a job-seeker as soon as possible at:
- The Flemish Employment Agency (Flanders)
- Actiris (Brussels)
- Le Forem (Wallonia)
Registration is done on the basis of their National Register number (which can be found on their eID).
Why must job-seekers register with an employment service?
Once they’ve graduated, young people commence a professional integration period of 1 year. No luck in their job hunt and they still haven't found a job after 1 year? If they’re younger than 25 years of age, then they’re entitled to an integration allowance. This is effectively Belgian unemployment benefit based on their age and family circumstances.
What do they need to do in order to receive this?
Once their professional integration period is over, they’ll receive a letter containing a certificate as proof that they were registered as a job-seeker. They can subsequently present this to their payment agency. The payment agency will send this to the National Employment Office (RVA) and apply for their benefit. If their application is approved, the payment agency will pay their integration allowance.
Is your child commencing work immediately following their graduation? Then it might still be necessary for them to register as a job-seeker in certain situations:
- If your child has signed a contract, but has not yet started work.
- If your child starts working on a part-time basis, then they can register as a part-time job-seeker.
If your child immediately commences full-time work or self-employment then they can of course skip this step.
Register with a health insurance fund
Your child remains a 'dependent person’ for the duration of their studies and throughout their professional integration period. Your child is consequently covered by your health insurance policy.
When should your child take out their own health insurance policy?
- Once your child starts work.
- Once your child starts work as a self-employed person.
- Once their job integration period has expired and your child is a job-seeker.
- Once your child turns 25, even if they continue their studies.
There are nationwide Health Insurance providers in Belgium, including CM and La Mutualité Neutre. Your child is sure to find one that suits them.
Notify your Child Benefit fund
Notify your Child Benefit fund that your child has graduated. You can do this quickly and easily via My KidsLife, your online Growth Package and Child Benefit file.
Many employers include hospitalisation insurance in their contracts. If that isn’t the case, or your child is starting work as a self-employed person, then they can arrange this themselves. They shouldn’t forget to do so, even though taking out such insurance isn’t mandatory in Belgium. Should your child end up in hospital, then the costs can quickly mount up. Your Health Insurance provider will reimburse a portion of their costs, but if they’re not insured, they’ll have to pay the rest themselves.
Hospitalisation insurance is available from insurers or Health Insurance funds. Additional tip: explore the options pertaining to supplementary dental insurance.
And ... what about holidays?
When your child first starts working, they won’t have had time to accrue any holiday. Does that mean that they have to work 365 days non-stop? No, fortunately not.
Do they work for a public authority? Then they’ll instantly be entitled to a number of annual leave days. In other cases, they’re entitled to a young persons holiday – unless they’re older than 25 years of age. Under 25? Then they’re entitled to four weeks of paid holiday. They need simply complete the C103-young-persons-holiday-employee form and submit this to their payment agency.
Is there a change in the circumstances of an adult child?
Calculate the impact here on your total Child Benefit or Growth Package amounts in the event that your family composition is reduced by 1 child.
Want to submit a change? You can do this quickly and easily via My KidsLife, your online Child Benefit and Growth Package file.
Dependent adult children
The ‘dependent’ status has nothing to do with your Child Benefit or Growth Package.
If you have one or more dependents, then you’re entitled to a tax benefit. This means that a larger portion of your income will not be subject to tax.
You can find all information related to the ‘dependent’ status on the Belgian government website.
Turning 25 years of age: goodbye Child Benefit Fund
Unfortunately, your Child Benefit and Growth Package entitlement expires once your child reaches the age of 25. So, even if your child continues to study after their 25th birthday or hasn’t yet started work, we’re unable to make any further payments.
But it's not goodbye, because hopefully the young adult concerned will choose KidsLife when starting their own family…