Financial support for families

Last updated: 3 10 2018

Image Boken om Sverige
This material is from the book About Sweden.

Families with children can apply for housing allowance, parental benefits, maintenance support and childcare allowance from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

All families with children in Sweden receive child allowance. Housing allowance is provided to those who have a low income and a high rent. Childcare allowance is paid to those who have children with disabilities. If you are divorced and the children live with you, the other parent has to pay you child support. This is money that is to cover some of the costs of the child's upkeep. If the other parent does not pay or has a very low income, you can instead apply for money from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. This is called maintenance support.

Parental insurance

Parental insurance allows parents who have a job to take time off work to look after their child. Parental allowance is the financial aid that one parent receives from Försäkringskassan to allow him/her to be at home with his/her child during the initial period.

It is common for both women and men to take time off work or studies in order to be at home with their children, but there are still more women than men who do. To encourage a more even distribution of parental insurance, there are reserved days that cannot be transferred to the other guardian.

You can receive parental benefits for up to 480 days. You receive about 80 per cent of your wage for the first 390 days. For the 90 remaining days, you receive SEK 180 per day.

Parents who are out of work or on a low wage are entitled to SEK 250 per day for 480 days. The father or the second parent of a newborn baby is entitled to be off work and receive money from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency for ten days in conjunction with the child's birth.

Recently arrived parents with children can apply for parental allowance if they have settled in Sweden. They will be eligible for compensation for varying numbers of days depending on how old the child is.

If you work, you can also obtain parental benefits when your child is ill and has to be at home from preschool or school. This is called temporary parental benefits or care of a child (VAB). You receive 80 per cent of your wage. You can take up to 120 days off work per year per child.

Shorter working hours

If you have children under the age of eight who have not finished their first year of school, you are entitled to shorter working hours. For example, this means that you can work six hours per day instead of eight.

Employment protection

The law prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants who are pregnant. It is also forbidden to fire someone because they are pregnant.

Child allowance and student grants

Försäkringskassan pays out child benefits for all children. The first child benefit payment is made one month after the child's birth or one month after the child has moved to Sweden. Child benefit is paid until the child turns 16. A child benefit supplement for is paid to those to parents with two or more children. The amount depends on how many children you have. Child benefit payments are made on around the 20th of each month. If you and the other parent have joint custody, you share the child benefit between you, each receiving SEK 625 per month. This applies if your child was born on or after 1 March 2014. If your child was born before 1 March 2014, the child benefit is paid out to the parent who gave birth to the child. If you have sole custody of your child, you receive the whole benefit, i.e. SEK 1 250 per month. You pay no tax on the child benefit or child benefit supplement.

You receive a child benefit for your child until the quarter in which s/he turns 16. Young people between the ages of 16 and 20 who are studying at upper secondary school receive student grants. The student grant is SEK 1 250 per month and is paid over ten months, from September to June. A pupil can receive a student grant until the spring term in which s/he turns 20. If a pupil has a high level of invalid absenteeism, this can limit his/her right to a study grant. For pupils aged 16–18, student grants are paid to the parents. When the pupil turns 18, s/he becomes emancipated and can receive the grant him/herself. If the family has a low income, the pupil may also be entitled to a grant supplement.

The Swedish Board for Study Support (CSN) looks after student grants.

Those who are foreign citizens and are going to study at upper-secondary school must apply for the basic right to student finance.

Housing allowance for families with children

You can apply for housing allowance if you have children. You must live in and be registered on the population register in Sweden in order to obtain housing allowance.

The number of people in your family determines whether you are entitled to housing allowance and, if so, how much. This also depends on how high your rent is and how much you earn.

It is important that you inform the Social Insurance Agency is your income changes. Otherwise you may become liable to pay money back.