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FAMILY

What benefits are you entitled to if you have children in Denmark?

Having children is a costly business but luckily in Denmark, there is help. As well as affordable childcare there are other benefits you can claim if you have children in Denmark. Here are the details.

a child
Having children is not a cheap business in Denmark. Luckily, help is available. Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

When you have children in Denmark, there are various family benefits you could qualify for, depending on your circumstances. These are administered by Udbetaling Danmark.

The main one is:

Child and youth benefits (børne- og ungeydelsen), also known as børnepenge.

This is a tax-free payment that you receive for each of your children until they reach the age of 18.

The amount you receive depends on the age of your child, how long you have been earning the right to Danish family benefits, your income and the income of any spouse.

Child benefits are paid quarterly in advance from the first quarter after you have become a parent. So for example you receive money in January, for January, February and March.

When your child reaches the age of 15, you will receive a youth benefit instead of a child benefit, which is paid every month in arrears.

Payments used to be paid into the mother’s Nemkonto (designated current account) but from January 2022, that changed. Now half the payment is automatically made into each parent’s Nemkonto, unless parents share a Nemkonto.

How much can I receive in child and youth benefit?

This depends on the age of your child and the amount is slightly adjusted each year. The amount below is for 2022:

0-2 years: 4,653 kroner per quarter (2,327 kroner to each parent)

3-6 years: 3,681 kroner per quarter (1,841 kroner to each parent)

7-14 years: 2,898 kroner per quarter (1,449 kroner to each parent)

15-17 years:  966 kroner per month (483 kroner to each parent)

You receive the full benefit if you and your spouse each separately earn less than 828,100 kroner (2022), otherwise the amount is reduced.

You apply for child and youth benefit by completing a form, which can be found on borger.dk, under Family and Children. You need a copy of your contract of employment from your Danish employer and your children’s birth certificate.

What are the conditions to apply?

If you are a foreigner and work in Denmark, you may apply for child benefits if you:

  • share custody of the child
  • can document that you are related to the child
  • are a citizen in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, if your child does not live in Denmark.

You must also have worked or lived in Denmark for a certain period within the past 10 years.

This is where it gets tricky.

You can only receive the full amount of benefit, after living in Denmark for 6 out of the past 10 years. Before this, it is a percentage of the benefit. It starts at 8.3% of the benefit amount and it increases every six months:

6 months: 8.3 percent, 1 year: 16.7 percent, 1.5 year: 25 percent, 2 years: 33.3 percent, 2.5 years: 41.7 percent, 3 years: 50 percent, 3.5 years: 58.3 percent, 4 years: 66.7 percent, 4.5 years: 75 percent, 5 years: 83.3 percent, 5.5 years: 91.7 percent, 6 years: 100 percent.

If you have received Danish family benefits before 1st January 2018 and are still entitled to it, you are covered by a two-year qualification requirement.

This means that you must have lived or worked in Denmark for at least 2 years within the past 10 years to get the full benefit amount. It starts at 25 percent at six months, 50 percent after 1 year, 75 percent after 1.5 years and 100 percent after two years.

If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you can include the time you have received family benefits by living or working in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland.

So for example, if you move to Denmark with a 5 year old and you have 5 years of receiving benefits in the EU country you have come from, you will start receiving 83.3 percent of the total benefit amount for that child. This will increase to 91.7 percent six months later and 100 percent six months after that.

Udbetaling Danmark will verify this with the authorities in the country in which you have lived or worked, before the periods can be included.

Working in Denmark but your family lives somewhere else

If you live in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and work exclusively in Denmark, you will in general be covered by the Danish social security system. This means that you will have the right to family benefits from Denmark if you meet the other conditions listed above.  

If Danish family benefits are higher than the benefits in the country where you live, Denmark will pay the difference. If the Danish benefit is lower than in the country where you are living, you will not receive family benefits from Denmark.

If you have any questions, you can contact Udbetaling Danmark or send a digital mail under ‘Familieydelser.’ The processing time for child and youth benefits is 30 weeks, so apply as soon as you can.

Remember to tell Udbetaling Danmark when your situation changes, otherwise you risk having to pay money back.

Child allowance (Børnetilskud)

Child allowance is a payment paid in special circumstances, on top of child/youth benefit if:

  • you are single
  • you have twins, triples, quadruplets 
  • you are a pensioner
  • you are in education
  • the father of your child is unknown
  • one or both parents are not alive
  • you have adopted a child 

The size of the child allowance depends on your situation. In 2022, the child allowance for a single parent  is 1,517 kroner per child each quarter.

Child support (Børnebidrag)

Child support is a contribution that one parent pays to the other if you do not live together.

Child support will not normally be used if you have a sharing arrangement and also share expenses for the child between the two of you.

Normal support amounts to DKK 1,460 per month (2022) and is adjusted annually on 1st January.

If you are unable to agree on the support, you can ask the Agency of Family Law (familieretshuset.dk) to reach a decision for you. 

Daycare discounts

The government subsidises 70 percent of all public daycare, so the cost of nursery (vuggestue) and kindergarten (børnehave) is low compared to many countries. Vuggestue (0-3 years) costs around  4,264 kroner per month, which includes lunch. Børnehave (3-6 years) costs around 2,738 kroner per month with lunch.

However, if your household income is below a certain threshold, you could be entitled to a discounted rate, which is called an income-based allowance.

Siblings daycare discount 

When you have more than one child, your pay half the amount of the cheapest place you have for any siblings in daycare.

Income for not using daycare

Some municipalities (kommuner) pay you money if you choose to look after your own child at home after maternity leave, so it’s worth ringing your municipality to find out.

Frederiksberg Kommune for example pay 8,141 kroner per child per month for looking after children under 3 and 4,198 kroner per month for children over 3. If you’re not from the EU, you qualify for this after living in Denmark for 7 years.

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For members

LEARNING DANISH

How to talk about family in Danish

Talking about family in Danish can be complicated. Discussing your relatives requires an in-depth knowledge of exactly how they are related to you, so it's time to start brushing up on your family history.

How to talk about family in Danish

Let’s start with grandparents.

Danish has six different words for “grandmother” and “grandfather”, depending on which side of the family you’re talking about. This may be confusing if your native language doesn’t have this distinction, as you will need to start reminding yourself of your family tree every time you discuss your grandparents in Danish.

Grandparents, or bedsteforældre in Danish, can be called bedstemor (grandmother) or bedstefar (grandfather), but it’s probably more common to hear the slightly shorter, but more specific, combination of mor (mother) and far (father) used in four different variations, a unique one for each grandparent.

Most Danes refer to their mum and dad as mor and far (although the more formal terms for parents, moder and fader do still occasionally see the light of day), and these are also the terms used in the names for grandparents – as well as other relatives.

First off, let’s look at your maternal grandparents, or morforældre (“mother parents”). These are your mother’s mum and dad. 

To refer to your mother’s parents, you would use mormor (“mother-mother”) for your grandmother, and morfar (“mother-father”) for your grandfather. 

So what about your paternal grandparents? These are your farforældre or “father parents” – although Danes are far more likely to use the catch-all term bedsteforældre to refer to two or more grandparents.

Your father’s mother would be your farmor (“father-mother”), and your father’s father would be your farfar (“father-father”).

So to recap: your mum’s parents are mormor and morfar, and your dad’s parents are farmor and farfar.

READ ALSO: Danish expression of the day: At tage en morfar

This also means, bizarrely, that the same grandparent can be called two different names depending on their exact relationship with their grandchild. If a woman has a son and a daughter, for example, her son’s children would refer to her as farmor, but her daughter’s children would call her mormor.

Great-grandparents can be referred to in two ways: by adding the word mor or far after the grandparent’s title, such as mormors mor (“mother’s mother’s mother”), or farfars far (“father’s father’s father”), or by adding the word olde- (literally, “very old”) before the grandparent’s title, such as oldemor or oldefar. The latter option does not have the family tree encoded into its construction, but is probably the most common way Danes refer to great-grandparents.

A great-great-grandparent is a tipoldefar or tipoldemor.

It doesn’t stop there. Your aunts and uncles all have special terms as well. These are similar to the terms for grandparents, in that they trace each family member linking you and your aunt or uncle.

We’ve already covered the word for “mother” in this context: mor. The Danish words for sister and brother are søster and bror, meaning that your mother’s sister is your moster (shortened from morsøster) and your mother’s brother is your morbror. 

Your father’s siblings follow the same pattern: faster for your aunt and farbror for your uncle.

This only applies to aunts and uncles you’re related to by birth. Although Danish does have the word tante for aunts and onkel for uncles by marriage (someone who is married to one of your parent’s siblings), you may also hear Danes referring to these family members as their farbrors mand (“father’s brother’s husband”) or morbrors kone (“mother’s brother’s wife”) instead.

Nieces and nephews do not follow the same pattern in Danish. Your brother’s kids are your nevø (nephew) and niece and your sister’s kids have the exact same descriptions.

Finally, grandchildren. The general word for “grandchild” in Danish is barnebarn (“child-child”), which is the word you’re most likely to hear.

There is also a now-antiquated way in Danish for grandchildren to be referred to using the same system as for other family members: sønsøn for your son’s son, sønnedatter for your son’s daughter and dattersøn or datterdatter for your daughter’s son or daughter, respectively. 

But what about your cousins? Are they your farbrorsøn (father’s brother’s son) and mosterdatter (mother’s sister’s daughter)? Thankfully, no, but they do have gender-specific words. Kusine is traditionally used for female cousins and fætter for male cousins.

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