What is Adoptive Benefit?
Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks from the date you adopted your child.
To get the full 24 weeks of Adoptive Benefit, your adoptive leave must begin on the date of adoption.
You should apply for Adoptive Benefit 6 weeks before you plan to go on adoptive leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed).
If you think you have been wrongly refused Adoptive Benefit, you can appeal this decision.
Budget 2024: increase to Adoptive Benefit
It was announced in Budget 2024 that people on Adoptive Benefit will get an increase of €12 per week from January 2024.
How to qualify for Adoptive Benefit
To get Adoptive Benefit, you must:
- Have enough PRSI (social insurance) contributions
- Have certified adoptive leave from work if you are an employee – see ‘How to apply’ below
- Provide a Certificate of Placement (for domestic adoption) or Declaration of Suitability (for intercountry adoption) – see ‘How to apply’ below
PRSI (social insurance) contributions
Adoptive Benefit is paid to a parent who has a certain number of paid PRSI contributions and who is in insurable employment up to the first day of their adoptive leave.
If a couple are adopting a child, only one parent can apply for Adoptive Benefit and adoptive leave. Only the social insurance (PRSI) contributions of the parent applying for Adoptive Benefit are used.
Your PRSI contributions can be from employment or self-employment. The PRSI classes that count for Adoptive Benefit are A, E, H and S
Members of the Defence Forces who pay PRSI at Class H are insured for Adoptive Benefit, but it is not paid while they are in service.
Time spent on the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the COVID-19 Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) are treated as if you continued to make insurance contributions at your normal social insurance class.
Number of PRSI contributions you need
If you are employed, to qualify for Adoptive Benefit you must be in insurable employment immediately before the first day of your adoptive leave and have at least:
- 39 weeks PRSI paid in the 12-month period before the adoption date of your child
- 39 weeks PRSI paid since first starting work and at least 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax year or in the year after the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2023, the relevant tax year is 2021 and the tax year after the relevant tax year is 2022.
- 26 weeks PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and at least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the tax year before the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2023, the relevant tax year is 2021 and the tax year before the relevant tax year is 2020.
If you do not meet these PRSI conditions and you were self-employed before starting work as an employee, you might meet the contribution conditions for the self-employed in the relevant tax year – see below.
If you are self-employed
, you must have:
- 52 PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the relevant tax year
- 52 PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the tax year before the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2023, the tax year before the relevant tax year is 2020.
- 52 qualifying PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the tax year after relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2023, the tax year after the relevant tax year is 2022.
If you do not meet these PRSI conditions and you were in insurable employment before becoming self-employed, you might meet the contribution conditions for employees in the relevant tax year – see PRSI conditions for employees above.
PRSI Class S contributions for a particular year are not awarded until you have paid tax due for that year. To qualify for Adoptive Benefit, your income tax and PRSI liabilities (importantly for the relevant tax year) must be paid.
If you worked in another country
If you were employed in the UK or a country covered by EU Regulations and you have paid at least one full-rate PRSI contribution in Ireland, you can combine your insurance record in that country with your Irish PRSI contributions to help you qualify for Adoptive Benefit. To do this, you must be in insurable employment in Ireland currently and have paid your most recent PRSI contribution in Ireland.
How long is Adoptive Benefit paid?
Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks from the date you adopted your child. To get the full 24 weeks of Adoptive Benefit, your adoptive leave must begin on the date of adoption.
You can take a further 16 weeks of unpaid adoptive leave immediately after your 24 weeks’ paid Adoptive Benefit. This period is not covered by Adoptive Benefit but you can get a credited social insurance contribution for each week of unpaid leave you take (up to the maximum of 16).
Rate of Adoptive Benefit
Weekly Adoptive Benefit rate 2023
Extra payment for partner and child
If you have an adult or child dependants, the standard rate of Adoptive Benefit is compared to the rate of Illness Benefit that would be paid to you if you were absent from work through illness. The higher of the two rates is paid to you.
Taxation of Adoptive Benefit
Adoptive Benefit is taxed. You can get more information from Revenue on taxation of Adoptive Benefit.
How Adoptive Benefit is paid
Adoptive Benefit is paid directly into your bank account. It is paid each week in advance.
If your employer is paying you while you are on adoptive leave from work, you can have it paid directly into your employer's bank account.
EU, EEA and Switzerland: If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can get Adoptive Benefit for any period of your adoptive leave spent in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland. You can travel anywhere abroad (outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland) and get Adoptive Benefit for a maximum of 6 weeks.
Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: Citizens of countries other than the EU/EEA or Switzerland can travel anywhere outside Ireland and get Adoptive Benefit for a maximum of 6 weeks.
To get your Adoptive Benefit paid while abroad, you must notify the Department before you travel.
Half-rate Adoptive Benefit with another social welfare payment
Half-rate Adoptive Benefit can be paid, if you qualify for Adoptive Benefit and you are getting any one of the following payments:
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory Pension)
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory Pension)
- Deserted Wife's Benefit
- Prisoner's Wife's Allowance
- A Widow's Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension under the Death Benefit Occupational Injuries scheme
If you are providing full-time care to another person, you may get half-rate Carer's Allowance with your full-rate Adoptive Benefit.
Working Family Payment (WFP) and full-rate Adoptive Benefit and can be paid at the same time.
How to apply for Adoptive Benefit
To apply fill in Form AB1 for Adoptive Benefit (pdf).
If you are an employee, your employer must fill in Part 4 of the form. You must give your employer a Certificate of Placement (for domestic adoptions) or Declaration of Suitability (for intercountry adoptions) confirming the adoption. You must do this within 4 weeks of the date that the child comes into your care.
If you are an employee or self-employed, you must also give a Certificate of Placement (for domestic adoptions) or Declaration of Suitability (for intercountry adoptions) to the Adoptive Benefit section in the DSP.
You will not be paid Adoptive Benefit until the DSP gets either a Certificate of Placement or Declaration of Suitability.
You can find out more about the documentation you need for Adoptive Benefit.