The French Social Security System IV - FAMILY BENEFITS


The Social Security system's Family branch is organized into a network of 103 Department-level funds and one national fund.
The Family Allowance Funds (Caisses d'allocations familiales/ CAF) pay family benefits:

  • to employees and comparable categories in all professions;
  • to non-agricultural self-employed workers, and
  • to all residents of France with children even if they are not employed.

Under Section L. 512-1 of the Social Security Code, "any French or foreign person residing in France with one or more dependent children also residing in France, is entitled to family benefits for those children".

Family benefits are awarded to persons acting as the real and ongoing custodian (food, housing, clothes) for legitimate, illegitimate, adopted, or foster children up to the age of:

  • 20 years old (general rule) for children who are not working or whose monthly net earnings do not exceed 898.83 €.
  • 21 years old for the payment of housing benefits and the "family income supplement."

Finally, a flat-rate allowance is awarded to offset the financial loss incurred by families with three or more children when the eldest child reaches the age of 20. This is paid for a maximum of one year.

Formula used for the calculation of family benefits: family benefits are calculated as a percentage of the monthly family benefit base (BMAF). The BMAF is currently set at €406.21. The BMAF is uprated on 1st April each year in line with the anticipated change in the average annual consumer price index excluding tobacco.*

Family benefits include:

  • basic benefits for maintenance,
  • benefits to offset childcare costs and the costs incurred due to the arrival of a child which have been combined under the early childhood benefit program (PAJE),
  • benefits for special purposes.


1) Child benefit

Family benefits are paid from the 2nd dependent child residing in France. They are paid without any employment criteria. As from July 1, 2015, family benefit rates are based on the income of the household or person with dependent children (See amounts in the appendix).

2) Flat-rate allowance

This allowance is payable to families with at least 3 dependent children whose child benefit is reduced when one of the children reaches the age of 20 (the age limit for child benefit) and is not earning more than 898.83 € in monthly income. To qualify, the family must be entitled to child benefit for at least 3 children, including the child who has reached their twentieth birthday. The allowance is paid on behalf of the concerned child for a period of 12 months, beginning on the first day of the month of the child's 20th birthday up to the month preceding their 21st birthday.

The monthly rate of this allowance is 82.19 € as of January 1st, 2016. Essentially, as for family benefits, this amount is divided by 2 or by 4 depending on household income. However, a supplement can be paid on a sliding scale if household income for calendar year N-2 is slightly higher than the applicable income ceiling.

3) Family income supplement

This is a means-tested benefit payable to families with at least 3 children aged between 3 and 21 years. The income ceiling varies based on number of dependent children and household makeup. To be eligible for this benefit in 2016, net household income in 2014 must not exceed:

  • €37,705 for a single-income couple with 3 children, or
  • €46,125 for a dual-income couple or single parent. If household income slightly exceeds this threshold, a supplementary benefit is paid.

The amount of the family supplement comes to:

  • 168.35 € (base amount after deduction of the CRDS*)
  • 202.05 € (increased amount after deduction of the CRDS*), paid to families whose income does not exceed a certain ceiling).

4) Family support allowance

This allowance is a non means-tested allowance payable for any dependent child under the age of 20 who has lost a parent, any child not regarded as a legitimate child either or both parents, or any child whose mother and/or father fail(s) to provide adequate support. If the child works, his/her net monthly income must not exceed 898.83 €.

This allowance comes to:

  • 133.38 € (after deduction of the CRDS*) for any child orphaned of both parents or in a comparable situation
  • 100.08 € (after deduction of the CRDS*) for a half-orphaned child or child in a comparable situation.


The various benefits to offset the costs due to the arrival of a child and help pay for the cost of childcare are grouped together under the early childhood benefit program (Paje).

Early childhood benefits include:

  • a means-tested birth/adoption grant,
  • a means-tested basic monthly allowance paid from the child's birth to their third birthday or from the arrival of the adopted child,
  • a shared child-rearing benefit (PreParE) for all births or adoptions occurring after January 1st, 2015 or a supplement for free choice of working time (Clca) for all births or adoptions prior to 1st January 2015, with a required minimum period of contributions,
  • a supplement for free choice of childcare at a rate based on family income.

1) Birth/Adoption grant

This means-tested allowance is paid at birth or upon the adoption of a child under 20 years of age. The amount of the grant is €923.08 (after deduction of the CRDS*) for a birth and €1,846.15 for an adoption. It is intended to cover the expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child.

To qualify, the expectant mother must prove that she has submitted to the first routine prenatal examination performed during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The income ceiling depends on the number of children in the family and the number of babies expected. The ceiling is higher when both parents are working and for single parents. As of 1st January 2016, the family's annual income for 2014 must not exceed €35,872 for a family expecting one child or €45,575 for two working parents or a single parent.

2) Basic allowance

The basic allowance is paid after the birth/adoption grant. It is a means-tested benefit (the income ceilings being the same as those for the birth grant) paid from the date of the child's birth to the last day of the month preceding their third birthday. To qualify for the allowance it is necessary to submit to a compulsory medical examination within eight days of the birth of the child and during the child's ninth and 24th months.

In the case of adoption, the basic allowance is paid during the three years following the child's arrival, provided that the child is under 20 years of age.

As from April 1st, 2015, depending on income, the basic allowance comes to 184.62 € at the full rate and 92.31 € at the partial rate.

3) Shared child-rearing benefit (PreParE)/ Supplement for free choice of working time (CLCA))* and optional supplement for free choice of working time (COLCA)

The shared child-rearing benefit (granted for children born or adopted from 2015) and the supplement for free choice of working time (granted for children born or adopted prior to 2015) are not means-tested and are intended to allow a parent to stop working or work less in order to look after their child. These two benefits can be paid separately or, when the parent fulfils the income conditions, on top of the basic allowance. They are payable from the first child and are conditional on the parent having accrued 8 quarters of old-age insurance over a reference period that ranges from 2 to 5 years depending on the child's order of birth in relation to their siblings.

Families with at least 3 children, whose last child was born or adopted after 1st July 2015 and with one parent who has completely stopped working to look after the child, can qualify for the optional supplement for free choice of activity (COLCA). The COLCA is paid on the condition that one parent gives up work completely. This benefit is higher than the PreParE/ CLCA but paid for a shorter period of time.

Duration of benefits:

The shared child-rearing benefit (PreParE) is paid to each parent for six months for a first child, 24 months to each parent for a second child and 48 months for any additional children.

The supplement for free choice of working time (CLCA) is paid for 6 months for a first child and up to the 3rd birthday for a second child and any additional children.

The COLCA is paid for a period of one year.

The monthly amount of the PreParE/ CLCA comes to:

  • 390.52 € at the full rate (total cessation of work)
  • 252.46 € at the partial rate when a parent cuts back to a maximum of 50% of the legal work week;
  • 145.63 € at the partial rate when a parent cuts back to between 50% and 80% of the legal work week.

The COLCA comes to 638.34 € for children born or adopted from 1st April 2014.

For adopted children, the supplement for free choice of working time is paid for a minimum period of one year - even for children over three - and up to the age of 20.

*The supplement for free choice of working time (CLCA) only applies to children born or adopted prior to 1st January 2015.

4) Supplement for free choice of childcare (Complément de libre choix du mode de garde/ CMG)

The CMG is paid to a couple or parent using the services of a registered childminder or a childminder in the home to care for a child under age 6. It is awarded either as a separate benefit or, if the parent(s) fulfil(s) the income conditions, on top of the basic allowance.

This benefit includes:

  • partial coverage (up to 85%) of childcare costs, depending on the child's age and household income;
  • total or partial coverage of employer's contributions:
    • At a rate of 100% if employing a registered childminder
    • At a rate of 50% for a childminder in the home, up to a ceiling of 447 € per month for a child under age 3 and 224 € for a child between ages 3 and 6). The supplement is paid at the full rate up to the child's third birthday, then at a reduced-rate until the child's sixth birthday.


1) Education allowance for a disabled child (Allocation d'éducation de l'enfant handicapé/ AEEH)

The education allowance for a disabled child is a non-means tested allowance paid to parents of a severely disabled child under 20 years of age (regardless of the child's order of birth in relation to their siblings) and with a permanent disability rating of at least 80%, or between 50% and 80 if the child is in institutional care or receives care at home.

This allowance is not payable for children placed in residential schools, for which all costs are paid by the health insurance system, the state or social welfare.

The amount of the allowance is €129.99 per month. Children with a disability rating of at least 80% are eligible for an allowance supplement, the amount of which varies according to their needs or degree of disability. To determine the amount of the supplement, the child's condition is classified by a Committee for the Rights and Self-dependency of Disabled Persons (CDAPH) in one of six categories, using a rating scale that assesses the special care needs and costs, the financial consequences arising from the disability and/or loss of income for a parent staying at home to look after the child, and the need for a paid carer. The monthly amounts of the supplement are as follows:

  • first category: €97.49;
  • second category: €264.04;
  • third category: €373.71;
  • fourth category: €579.13;
  • fifth category: €740.16;
  • sixth and last category: the amount of the constant attendance allowance (€1,103.08).

Parents can choose between the supplement and the disability compensation benefit (Prestation de compensation du handicap/ PCH) paid by the Conseil Général, which is intended to contribute towards the cost of the continuing care needs arising from the disability. The AEEH supplement may also be paid concurrently with the "3rd element" of the compensation benefit, which is designed to help towards home and vehicle conversion costs and transport costs.

For more information on the disability compensation benefit (PCH), visit the website of the National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy (Caisse nationale de solidarité pour l'autonomie).

Single parents of children in the second to sixth categories who stop working, reduce their work hours or hire paid help, are entitled to the following increases of the supplement: second category: €52.81; third category: €73.12, fourth category: €231.54, fifth category: €296.53, sixth category: €434.64.

2) Back-to-school allowance

This means-tested allowance is payable for any child enrolled in school and between the ages of 6 and 18. The amount payable depends on the age of the child to reflect actual needs.

The allowance is payable to families or persons whose income is below a certain level (upper limits vary based on family makeup and number of dependent children). It is paid as a lump sum in August of each year. If the family's income is below the assessment ceiling, the allowance is paid at the full rate. If the family income is slightly above the assessment ceiling and below another limit decided by government order, a supplemental allowance is paid.

The full-rate allowance (after deduction of the CRDS*) for fall 2015 is:

  • 362.63 € for a child aged 6 to 10
  • 382.64 € for a child aged 11 to 14
  • 395.90 € for a child aged 15 to 18

3) Daily parental attendance allowance (Allocation journalière de présence parentale/ AJPP)

The daily parental attendance allowance is paid to any person looking after a child under 20 and suffering from a disease or severe handicap requiring constant assistance and attendance. To qualify, the beneficiary must be obliged to take time off work and be granted parent's attendance leave. A doctor's certificate attesting to the child's medical condition must be furnished to the medical board of the relevant Health Insurance Fund.

The amount of the daily allowance is €42.97 (after deduction of the CRDS*) if the beneficiary is part of a couple and €51.05. for a single parent. It is paid for each day of leave from work, up to a maximum of 22 days per month.

The beneficiary is entitled to 310 days of paid leave, paid on a daily basis and to be taken over a three-year period depending on the child's needs.

If the monthly expenses necessitated by the child's condition exceed €110.45, a supplement of 109.90 € is payable to families on incomes below a certain level, on production of the relevant receipts.

4) Family housing allowance

This allowance is a family benefit intended to help families pay their housing costs. Payment of the allowance is contingent on the characteristics of the property in which the family is housed (surface area and conditions), the rent paid and the family's income.

5) Moving allowance

The moving allowance is a means-tested benefit payable to families with at least three children and who are entitled to housing benefits for their new home. The bonus is equal to the actual moving expenses, up to a limit of 240% of the monthly base used to calculate family benefits for families with three dependent children with a 20% increase per additional child. The maximum amount of the allowance is €974.90 for families with three children, plus €81.24 for each additional child.

All family benefits, except the special education allowance (AEEH), are subject to a 0.5% CRDS tax. The tax is collected directly by the Family Benefit Funds.

For more information, visit the CAF website.