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Parental support: when do children pay for their parents? | message


Dependency in old age

Many seniors find it increasingly difficult to cope with everyday life independently as they get older – they need care. That’s why parents often take precautions, such as selling their own home, with which they finance the move to age-appropriate residential facilities and thus ensure a smooth transition to a financially secure retirement. If long-term care insurance, pensions and assets do not cover the high costs for these, relatives are often asked – according to the consumer advice center.

Who has to pay for the costs?

Although children often take responsibility for the cost of caring for their parents voluntarily, the maintenance issue is often clarified by the social welfare office. A law that came into force in early 2020 stipulates when children have to pay maintenance for their parents. On January 1, 2020, it was decided that children whose gross annual income exceeds 100,000 euros must pay for their parents in need of care – according to the consumer advice center. The so-called Relatives Relief Act regulates who bears the costs for care.

Children of parents in need of care can therefore be asked by the responsible social welfare agency to disclose their income and assets.

Who can be held responsible?

According to the consumer advice center, only children can be obliged to pay maintenance – grandchildren, siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts cannot be called in when it comes to the cost of care.

In the case of spouses, it behaves as follows: If they pay maintenance to each other, the 100,000 euro rule does not apply. If one spouse stays at home while the other moves into a nursing home, the partner who stays at home must contribute to the costs of the home.

The social welfare office only comes into play when neither the assets nor the income of the children or the spouse are sufficient.


Parents who are guilty of so-called “serious misconduct” against the child are denied their entitlement to parental maintenance, according to the consumer advice center. For example, if parents have abused or grossly neglected their children at times when they were responsible for the child, children usually do not have to pay any care costs. Warning: breaking off contact is often not a sufficient reason to refuse parental maintenance. editorial team

Image sources: Marian Weyo /, Marc Dietrich /

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