Family benefits are benefits paid for ensuring the welfare of families with children. The Estonian family benefit system is based on the principle of universality, meaning that each child is valuable and has the right for state support regardless of the income of the child’s parents. Universal family benefits are designed to prevent poverty, but they also provide significant support to children in poverty. Additional support is provided to disabled children, children living in poverty, and children entering independent life from a foster home.
The state is working on improving the system of parental leaves and benefits to facilitate the combination of work and family life, and more equal distribution of the care-load between the parents.
Child care allowance
Child care allowance is paid monthly to the parent raising the child or the person taking a parental leave in place of the parent. Child care allowance is not paid if one of the parents receives a parental benefit under the Family Benefits Act if the parent receives a maternity benefit under the Health Insurance Act, or an adoption benefit. The amount of child care allowance is:
- €38.35 for each child under 3 years of age;
- €19.18 for each child of 3–8 years of age in a family with a child under 3 years of age;
- €19.18 for each child of 3–8 years of age in a family with at least three children.
Single parent’s child allowance
Allowance for children under guardianship or curatorship
Allowance for a family with many children
Starting from 1 July 2017, an allowance will be paid to families with many children. The allowance is paid to families raising three or more children. The amount of the allowance is:
- €300 per month for a family raising three to six children;
- €400 per month for a family raising seven or more children.
Disabled child allowance
Disabled child allowance is paid monthly for the compensation of additional expenses related to the disability of a disabled child under 16 years of age and for the activities foreseen in their rehabilitation plan. For additional information contact the National Social Insurance Board.
Start in independent life allowance
Needs-based family benefit
Needs-based family benefits are provided to families:
- whose members include at least one child receiving child allowance under the State Family Benefits Act; provided that
- average net monthly income for the three calendar months preceding the month when the application was filed is below the income limit for needs-based family benefits; or
- the family was assigned a subsistence benefit for the month preceding the application for needs-based family benefits.
The income limit for the first member of the family for needs-based family benefits is established by the Riigikogu for each budget year with the state budget. The income limit is based on the latest relative poverty level data published by Statistics Estonia by 1 March of the year preceding the budget year. According to the 2017 State Budget Act, the income limit for the first member of the family for needs-based family benefits is 394 euros per month. The income limit for each following at least 14-year old member of the family is 197 euros per month and for each family member under 14 years of age, 118.2 euros per month.
The amount of needs-based family benefits is 45 euros per month for a family with one child receiving child allowance and 90 euros per month for a family with two or more children allowance. The benefit is only paid for children on whose behalf a member of the family receives child allowance under the State Family Benefits Act.
Needs-based family benefits are assigned and paid by the local government from state budget funds.
Parental benefit is paid to the parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, guardian, or curator raising a child, provided that they are a permanent resident of Estonia or a foreign national living in Estonia under a temporary residence permit.
Only one parent can take a parental leave at a time. The benefit is paid to the parent on parental leave. The father of the child becomes eligible for parental benefit when the child is at least 70 days of age.
The benefit is paid for 435 days following the final date of the certificate for maternity leave or adoption leave. The parental benefit ensures the parent the average wage of the previous calendar year.
Maintenance allowance is paid to children whose parents neglect their maintenance obligation. Maintenance allowance is divided into maintenance allowance for the duration of judicial and execution proceedings.
Maintenance allowance for the duration of judicial proceedings is paid to the parent or legal representative of the child who has turned to a court to require the payment of maintenance support. Maintenance allowance for the duration of judicial proceedings is paid for up to 150 days in an amount of up to 100 euros per month per child.
Maintenance allowance for the duration of execution proceedings is paid on the basis of a court ruling requiring the payment of maintenance support. The maintenance allowance paid to an under-age child is transferred to the bank account of the parent or legal representative of the child. This type of maintenance allowance is paid for the duration of execution proceedings. The amount of maintenance allowance per child is up to 100 euros per month.