Connecting factors

Missions

The Interregional Organ for Family Benefits (ORINT) is responsible for :

  • To direct requests to the appropriate federated entity, which will be responsible for answering all questions. This includes all applications for family benefits in both a domestic and an international context that cannot be referred because the connecting factor cannot be found.
  • to decide in the event of a conflict over connecting factors

The email address is: international@orint.be

Principles

The cooperation agreement of 6 September 2017 (MB 26/01/2018) between the Flemish Community, the Walloon Region, the Joint Community Commission and the German-speaking Community determines the connecting factors for determining which entity is competent for the payment of family benefits. They are applied in the order in which they are set out, so that any subsequent factor applies only if the preceding one cannot :

  • The child’s legal domicile in the entity;
  • The child’s residence in the entity ;
  • The location of the unit of establishment or, where this information is not available, the place of business of the current or previous employer of the insured person in Belgium ;
  • The legal domicile or last legal domicile of the insured person in the entity ;
  • The location of the social insurance fund to which the socially insured person is affiliated as a self-employed person ;
  • The location of the office of the last known family benefits fund that granted the family benefits.

The prevailing criterion for determining the competent entity is the child’s legal domicile in Belgium.

In the absence of a legal domicile, is the actual residence of the child in Belgium the determining criterion? No document, official or not, can prevail over the identified legal domicile.

When the child is not domiciled in Belgium, the place of employment (current or last) of the employee is taken into account. If the place of employment of the employee is not known, the competent entity is the entity where the employer’s registered office is located.

If no activity as an employed person is carried out in Belgium, it is the (last) legal domicile of the socially insured person that determines the entity, then the location of the social insurance fund to which the socially insured person is affiliated as a self-employed person and finally the last known family benefits fund.

If it is found that several insured persons fall under the application of the same connecting factor, the exclusive competence of a federated entity is determined in this case by the oldest among them. This is the Subsidiary Priority Rule (Art. 2 para. 2 of the Cooperation Agreement).

What about prepaying the birth grant?

However, the jurisdiction of a federated entity is determined on the basis of the connecting factors in the following order:

  1. The legal domicile of the parent in the entity;
  2. The residence of the parent in the entity.

The entity receiving the application for advance payment of the birth grant checks whether another entity has not already paid it.

If the legal domicile or residence of the mother changes between the date of the advance payment and the birth of the child, the continued competence of the federated entity that made the advance payment must be verified. If the competent federated entity changes, the entire amount paid in advance must be regularized, in accordance with Article 3 §2 of the Agreement Protocol.

It is important to note that birth grants for children who will not be resident in Belgium are never paid in advance.

If the child is domiciled in a Member State of the European Union, European regulations apply.

The social insured person who is entitled to family benefits is limited to the parent, to the person who is neither a relative nor allied up to and including the third degree with that parent and with whom that parent is living in de facto or legal cohabitation and to the spouse of the parent, as far as their own or common children are concerned.

For the application of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004, the following priority rules shall apply, depending on the socio-professional situation taken into account for entitlement to family allowances:

  • In the first place, the right is available on the basis of work: on the basis of an employed or self-employed activity
  • Secondly, the right is available for the receipt of a pension.
  • Then, the right is open on the basis of residence: insurability situations other than work, pension and orphan status.
  • Finally, orphan’s benefits: i.e., all benefits paid because of the orphan status of the beneficiary child.

It is now therefore only for these social security insured persons that the socio-professional situations referred to in the Annex to the Cooperation Agreement are examined in the light of Articles 67, 68 and 69 of Regulation 883/2004.

The article deals with transitional provisions

By way of derogation from the second paragraph of Article 2 and Article 3, recipients who were entitled to family allowances on 31 December of the year preceding that of the first resumption shall continue to be so entitled, provided that they retain their status as recipients under a family allowance scheme until the :

  1. A change in family status;
  2. A change in their socio-professional situation with the effect that they now fall into a different category, as set out in the Annex to this Cooperation Agreement.

The effect of the aforementioned changes shall take effect on the first day of the month following the month in which they occur.

If the child lives in a country with which Belgium has concluded a bilateral agreement that includes a child benefit component, that agreement will apply.