Adoptive Benefit is a payment to an adopting mother or a single male who adopts a child. It is available to both employees and self-employed people. You must meet certain social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions on your own insurance record. Adoptive Benefit can only be paid from the day your child is placed with you (the date of placement).
Adoptive Benefit is paid for a continuous period of 24 weeks from the date of placement of your child. You will not get Adoptive Benefit for the full 24 weeks unless your adoptive leave begins on the date of placement. If you begin your adoptive leave after the date of placement, you will lose some of your Adoptive Benefit entitlement. You should apply for Adoptive Benefit 6 weeks before you intend to go on adoptive leave.
If you think you have been wrongly refused Adoptive Benefit or you are unhappy about a decision of a social welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you can appeal this decision.
The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 introduced Paternity Benefit together with statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks. The combined package of paternity leave and Paternity Benefit can start at any time within the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child. The provisions apply to births or adoptions on or after 1 September 2016.
Taxation of Adoptive Benefit
Adoptive Benefit is taxable for all claimants. Universal Social Charge and PRSI are not payable. You can read about how Adoptive Benefit is taxed in the document, Taxation of social welfare payments. You can also get more information from Revenue on taxation of Adoptive Benefit.
If you are employed, to qualify for Adoptive Benefit you must be in employment which is covered by the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 immediately before the first day of your adoptive leave and have at least:
- 39 weeks PRSI paid in the 12-month period before the date of placement 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 immediately following the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2020, the relevant tax year is 2018 and the tax year immediately following the relevant tax year is 2019.
- 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 2020, the relevant tax year is 2018 and the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year is 2017.
Social insurance (PRSI) contributions at Classes A, E and H count for Adoptive Benefit. Members of the Defence Forces who pay PRSI at Class H are insured for Adoptive Benefit but it is not payable while they are in service.
If you were in insurable self-employment before starting insurable employment (as an employee), your PRSI contributions (Class S) may help you qualify for Adoptive Benefit if you do not satisfy the employee PRSI conditions as stated above.
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 immediately before the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2020, the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year is 2017.
- 52 qualifying PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the tax year immediately following relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on adoptive leave in 2020, the tax year immediately following the relevant tax year is 2019.
If you are now self-employed but you were in insurable employment before you became self-employed, your PRSI contributions (Class A, E and H) in that employment may help you qualify for Adoptive Benefit if you do not satisfy the self-employment conditions as stated above.
The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before the Benefit year in which your adoptive leave starts. The Benefit year begins on the first Monday in January in each calendar year and ends on the Sunday immediately before the first Monday in the next calendar year. For example, the relevant tax year is 2018 for claims made in 2020.
Insurance from employment in another country
If you had insurable employment in a country covered by EU Regulations and you have paid at least one full rate PRSI contribution in Ireland, you may combine your insurance record in that country with your Irish PRSI contributions to help you qualify for Adoptive Benefit. In this case, you should send your application for Adoptive Benefit 12 weeks before your baby is due.
More information is available in our document about combining your social insurance contributions from abroad.
A certificate of placement must be submitted by you, as evidence of placement of your child. You must request this from the registered adoption agency or the Child and Family Agency which arranges the placement.
In the case of a foreign adoption, you must submit a copy of the Declaration of Suitability issued to you by the Adoption Authority of Ireland. Payment of Adoptive Benefit cannot be made until the Certificate of Placement or Declaration of Suitability, as appropriate, is received.
EU and non-EU citizens can holiday abroad and get Adoptive Benefit for a maximum of 6 weeks while away.
EU citizens (and citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland) can get Adoptive Benefit for any period of their adoptive leave spent in another EU country (or in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland).
To get Adoptive Benefit while abroad, you need to inform Adoptive Benefit Section of your intended absence either by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01 471 5898 or Lo-call: 1890 690 690.
|Adoptive Benefit||Weekly rate|
Half-rate Adoptive Benefit is payable if you are getting any 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
- Death Benefit by way of Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's or Dependent Parent's Pension under the Occupational Injuries scheme
Full-rate Adoptive Benefit cannot be paid for the same period as any other social welfare payment except Disablement Benefit, Guardian’s payments, Working Family Payment (WFP) and Child Benefit.
How Adoptive Benefit is paid
Adoptive Benefit can be paid directly into your bank or building society account (this is known as Direct Payment).
How to apply
To apply fill in Form AB1 for Adoptive Benefit (pdf). Return the form together with all relevant documentation to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection at the address listed below. This form is also available from your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or by contacting Adoptive Benefit Section at the address or telephone number below.
Your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office can help you to complete the form. You may also contact the Adoptive Benefit Section using the contact information below if you have any queries.
Where to apply