The French Social Security System IV - Family benefits

2018

The Social Security system's Family branch is organized into a network of 102 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 55% of the minimum monthly wage or Smic (€918.34);
  • 21 years old for the payment of housing benefits and the family income supplement ("complément familial").

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 €411.92 as of April 1st, 2018. 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:

A – Basic maintenance benefits

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.

2) Flat-rate allowance

The flat-rate 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 €918.34 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 €83.35 as of April 1st, 2018. Essentially, as for family benefits, this amount is divided by 2 or by 4 depending on household income (year N-2). 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 2018, net household income in 2016 must not have exceeded:

  •  €37,780 for a single-income couple with 3 children, or
  •  €46,217 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 either €171.56 or €257.37 per month based on income bracket. The amount is the same whether the family has 3 dependent children or more.

4) Family support allowance

This allowance is awarded for any dependent child *

  • who has lost a parent,
  • who is not regarded as a legitimate child of either or both parents,
  • or whose mother and/or father fail(s) to provide adequate support.

*The child is considered a dependent if s/he is under age 20. If s/he is working, his/her net monthly income must not exceed 55% of the Smic (or €918.34)

This allowance comes to:

  • €154.47 for any child who has lost both parents or is in a comparable situation;
  • €115.87 for a child who has lost one parent or is in a comparable situation.

B – Birth and early childcare benefits

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), which consists of:

Early childhood benefits include:

  1. a means-tested birth/adoption grant,
  2. a means-tested basic monthly allowance paid from the child's birth to their third birthday or from the arrival of the adopted child,
  3. 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,
  4. a supplement for free choice of childcare (CMG) at a rate based on family income.

1) Birth/Adoption grant

These grants are intended to help cover the expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child.

For children born or adopted from April 1st, 2018, this benefit amounts to €946.39 (births) or €1,892.77 (adoption of a child under the age of 20).

They are means-tested. 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 April 1st, 2018, the family's annual income for 2016 must not exceed €31,345 for a single-income family expecting one child or €41,425 for a dual-income household or a single parent.

To qualify for the birth grant, the mother must show that she has undergone the first routine prenatal exam during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

2) Basic allowance

The basic allowance helps with the child's maintenance and educational expenses. It is a means-tested benefit paid from the date of the child's birth to the last day of the month preceding their third birthday.

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.

*The ceilings quoted above apply to families with one dependent child. The increased ceilings apply to single parents or when both parents have income. Income taken into account is for 2016.

As from April 1st, 2018, the following distinction is made:

  • Children born or adopted up to March 31, 2018
    The basic allowance is awarded at the full rate if income is €30,086* or less (increased ceiling of €38,223*). This amounts to €185.54.
    The basic allowance is awarded at a partial rate, amounting to €92.77, when income does not exceed €35,944* (increased ceiling of €45,666*).
  • Children born or adopted from April 1st, 2018
    The full rate basic allowance comes to €171.56 while the partial rate is €85.78.
    To be eligible for the full rate, income must not exceed €26,236* (increased ceiling of €34,673*). The partial rate can be awarded up to €31,345* (increased ceiling of €41,425*).

3) Shared child-rearing benefit (PreParE)/ Supplement for free choice of working time (CLCA)

The shared child-rearing benefit is granted for children born or adopted from 2015 and the supplement for free choice of working time for children born or adopted before that date.
These benefits allow a parent to stop working or work less in order to look after their child.

They can be paid on top of the basic allowance or separately (if the parent does not meet the income requirements for the basic allowance).

They are not means-tested and are payable from the first child.

Work requirement: the parent must have accrued 8 quarters of old-age insurance over:

  • the previous 2 years for the 1st child,
  • the previous 4 years for 2 children,
  • the previous 5 years from the 3rd child on.

Duration of benefits:

The shared child-rearing benefit (PreParE) is paid to each parent for 6 months for :

  • 6 months for a first child,
  • 24 months 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. For children adopted prior to 2015: CLCA is paid for at least one year. If the child is more than 3 years old, the upper age limit is 20.

The monthly amount of the PreParE/ CLCA (from April 1st, 2018 to March 31st, 2019) comes to:

  •  €398 at the full rate (total cessation of work);
  •  €257.29 at the partial rate when a parent cuts back to a maximum of 50% of the legal work week;
  •  €148.41 at the partial rate when a parent cuts back to between 50% and 80% of the legal work week.

The increased rate of PreParE is €650.55. It can be awarded to a parent of 3 or more children who has stopped working.

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

CMG is intended to offset childcare costs for children under the age of 6. It can be paid on top of the basic allowance (if the parent meets the income-related eligibility requirements) or independently.

CMG is paid to a household or parent who:

  • Directly employs a registered childminder (“assistante maternelle”) or a childminder in the home
  • Or uses a licensed organization or company or a small daycare center known as a “micro-crèche.”

This benefit includes:

  • partial coverage (up to 85%) of childcare costs. The rate varies depending on number and age of children and household income. Income ceilings are increased by 40% for single parents.
  • total or partial coverage of employer's contributions at a rate of:
    • 100% if employing a registered childminder,
    • 50% for a childminder in the home, up to a ceiling of €448 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.

C – Benefits for special purposes

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 those with a dependent child under age 20 (regardless of the child's order of birth in relation to their siblings) who has a permanent disability rating of:

  • at least 80%,
  • or between 50% and 80% if the child is in institutional care or receiving 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 €131.81 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 (from April 1st, 2018 to March 31st, 2019) are as follows:

  • first category: €98.86;
  • second category: €267.75;
  • third category: €378.97;
  • fourth category: €587.27;
  • fifth category: €750.56;
  • sixth and last category: the amount of the constant attendance allowance (€1,118.57).

Individuals claiming AEEH and its supplement who are the sole provider and caregiver for a disabled child are entitled to a single-parent top-up. This is awarded when the child's state of health requires the single parent to stop working or cut back on his/her working hours, or to hire a paid caregiver.

On a category-by-category basis, this top-up comes to:

  • 2nd category: €53.55,
  • 3rd category: €74.15,
  • 4th category: €234.79,
  • 5th category: €300.70,
  • 6th category: €440.75.

AEEH is awarded for a period of 1 to 5 years, depending on the child's state of health. This period can be extended if the child's disability is not expected to improve.

Families claiming basic Aeeh can choose:

  • either the Aeeh supplement,
  • or the disability compensation benefit (Prestation de compensation du handicap/ PCH).

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.

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 for fall 2018 is:

  • €369.57 for a child aged 6 to 10
  • €389.96 for a child aged 11 to 14
  • €403.48 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 €43.79 if the beneficiary is part of a couple and €52.03 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 €112, a supplement of €112 is payable to families on incomes below a certain level, on production of the relevant receipts.

4) Family housing allowance

This allowance is intended to cover a portion of families' housing expenses. Eligibility requirements are based 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 3 children and who are entitled to housing benefits for their new home. The bonus is equal to the actual moving expenses. The maximum amount of this award is €988.61 for families with 3 children, plus €82.38 for each additional child.

Important information: 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.

Please also see the family benefit rate overview table and the CAF website.