Family Allowance in France

Understand the child benefits and family allowances that may be available to you...

Family allowances and benefits in France

There are several allowances and benefits available to families in France. The majority of these allowances are means-tested and are paid to you whatever your nationality, as long as you are legally resident in France and can prove it. Family allowances are paid by the CAF - the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales. The CAF is also responsible for paying out housing benefits to those who are entitled to it, and this includes international students.

If you give birth in France, you are automatically registered with the CAF when you declare your pregnancy, and you will be sent a CAF number (numéro d’allocataire). If you have just arrived in France and have children, you can apply for family allowances, either via the website, or by going to one of the CAF offices, and once your application is processed you will be given a CAF number.

The allowances and benefits available to families in France include:

  • Basic Allowance
  • Family Allowance
  • Back to School Allowance
  • Additional Allowance
  • Benefits for Parents of 3 or more Children
  • Housing Allowances

Basic Allowance

If you are on a low income you are entitled to a monthly allowance from the month following the birth of your baby, which is paid until your child is three years old. This allowance is called Allocation de Base.

Family Allowance

If you have at least 2 children under the age of 20 you may be entitled to a family allowance, depending on your income. This allowance, called allocation familiale, is paid automatically in the calendar month following the birth of your second child, it is not necessary to apply. New arrivals to France may be entitled to this allowance, depending on their situation and their income. The family allowance is only paid to parents whose income from the previous year is under a certain threshold, although this threshold is quite high. The CAF calculates if you are entitled to this allowance based on your previous year’s tax return. Once your child reaches 14 years the amount paid increases by around about 50%.

Back to School Allowance

Back-to-school allowance (allocation de rentrée scolaire) is paid to parents/guardians of children aged 6 to 18 every August. Your child must be enrolled in full-time education and the amount received depends on the child's age and the income declared in the previous year's tax return. If you are already registered with the CAF, this amount is paid automatically, you don’t need to apply for it. If you have recently arrived in France, you can apply online.

Additional Allowance

Additional family allowance (complément familial) is paid in addition to the monthly allocation familiale, to parents/guardians with at least three dependent children aged three and over, whose income does not exceed a certain limit.

Benefits for Large Families

If you have 3 or more children, you are considered a ‘Large family’ or Famille Nombreuse. This entitles you and your family to reductions on family entertainment activities such as going to the cinema. A reduction in the adult ticket price may be available on presentation of the family book (Livret de Famille). You can also apply for a special card called Carte Famille Nombreuse, which allows reductions on train journeys and other forms of transport. Recomposed families can also apply for this card, which is available online.

Download the form from the Service Public Website here. Foreigners will need to provide proof of residence and/or a carte de sejour when applying.

Housing Allowances

If you are a student in France or have a low income, you may be entitled to housing allowance, called Allocation Logement. There are different types of housing allowances available depending on your personal situation. To see if you can benefit from one of these housing benefits, you can fill in an online form to calculate if you are entitled to it. If you are eligible, you can apply for it online via the CAF website.