Adoptive Benefit


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Internal Guidelines used in processing claims

INDEX

PART 1: ENTITLEMENT
◊ Description of Scheme
◊ Information Leaflet:
◊ Legislation
◊ Administration:
◊ Qualifying Conditions in Summary
◊ Qualifying Conditions In Detail
1. Employees
2. Self-employed claimants
◊ Adoptive Benefit and EU Regulations
◊ Volunteer Development Workers
◊ Disqualifications
Late Claims
Employment or self-employment
Absence from the State
Imprisonment
◊ Rates Structure
Disability Benefit rate
◊ Overlapping Provisions
◊ Carer's Allowance

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES
◊ Claims
Late claims
Documentation
◊ Investigation of Claim
◊ Decisions
◊ Appeals

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD
◊ Payment
◊ Taxation
◊ Duration of Payment
◊ Maintenance
◊ Changes in entitlement
◊ Suspension of payment
◊ Credits


PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

Description of Scheme

Adoptive Benefit is a payment to adopting parents who are either employed or self-employed to support them during a period of adoptive leave. It provides for a weekly payment to be made to persons who qualify for Adoptive Leave under the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995, and satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions.

The Scheme was introduced in April 1995 and extended in June 1997 to include self-employed contributors.

An adopting parent means

  • a woman in whose care a child (of whom she is not the natural mother) has been placed or is to be placed with a view to the making of an adoption order, or to the effecting of a foreign adoption or following any such adoption
  • a man in whose care a child has been placed or is to be placed with a view to the making of an adoption order, or to the effecting of a foreign adoption or following any such adoption, where the woman in whose care the child (of whom she is not the natural mother) has been placed or is to be placed has died
  • a man in whose sole care a child has been placed or is to be placed with a view to making an adoption order, or to the effecting of a foreign adoption or following any such adoption.
Information Leaflet:

'Adoptive Benefit' SW 37

Legislation

The main provisions relating to Adoptive Benefit are in

  • Adoptive Leave Act 1995 and Adoption Act 2010 
  • Chapter 1 of Part II of Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005
  • Chapter 4 of Part II of Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007, as amended.
Administration:

Adoptive Benefit Section in Department of Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Buncrana, Co Donegal deals with the payment of Adoptive Benefit.

Telephone - LoCall 1890 690 690

Qualifying Conditions in Summary

A person must satisfy the condition of being an adopting parent, must take adoptive leave from employment/self-employment, must fulfil certain contribution conditions and be entitled to adoptive leave under the Adoptive Leave Act 1995.

Qualifying Conditions In Detail

1. Employees

A person who is in insurable employment must be certified by his/her employer as entitled to adoptive leave under the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995.

The adopting parent must give the employer at least 4 weeks written notice of the intention to take adoptive leave. S/he must also advise the employer 4 weeks in advance of returning to work and confirm this notification again, in writing, 2 weeks before the expected date of return.

Contribution condition for employees:

The Adoptive Benefit Scheme is a social insurance scheme i.e. the benefit is payable on the basis of social insurance contributions paid by the insured person irrespective of means

An employee must

  • have at least 39 weeks' PRSI paid in the 12 month period before the date of placement of the child,
    OR
  • have at least 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 following the relevant tax year.
    OR
  • at least 26 week PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and at least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the tax year prior to the relevent tax year.

Only PRSI contributions paid at Classes A, E or H count. Adoptive Benefit is not payable to serving members of the Defence Forces who pay PRSI at Class H.

Relevant income tax year:

The relevant income tax year is the second last complete income tax year before the year in which the adoptive leave begins. For example, for claims that start in 2015, the relevant income tax year is 2013.

 

2. Self-employed claimants

Contribution conditions for self-employed persons:

The adopting parent must

  • be a self-employed contributor in accordance with the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993,
    and
  • have 52 qualifying contributions paid in the relevant tax year,
    OR
  • have 52 qualifying contributions paid in the tax year before the relevant tax year,
    OR
  • have 52 qualifying contributions paid in the year following the relevant tax year.

* PRSI paid at Class A, E, H and S are deemed as qualifying contributions.

However a self-employed person who was previously in insurable employment may satisfy the contribution conditions for employees on the A, E, H, contributions in the relevant year (Class P Contributions are optional contributions which are payable in addition to Class S contributions).

Adoptive Benefit and EU Regulations

If a claimant was previously insurably employed in a country covered by EU Regulations and she had paid at least one full rate PRSI contributions since her return to Ireland, her insurance record (contributions and credits) in that country may be combined with her Irish PRSI contributions to help her qualify for benefit.

Volunteer Development Workers

In order to qualify the Volunteer Development Workers (VDW) must have at least 39 qualifying contributions paid since s/he entered insurable employment. If a claimant ceases to be a VDW s/he will still qualify for Adoptive Benefit in respect of any claim made in the benefit year in which the person returns to the State or the next succeeding benefit year provided that s/he has at least 39 qualifying contributions paid since s/he first entered insurable employment.

Disqualifications

Employment or self-employment

A person may be disqualified for payment of Adoptive Benefit if during the period for which benefit is payable the adopting parent engages in any occupation other than domestic activities in that parent's own household.

Absence from the State

Adoptive Benefit is payable in the following circumstances to claimants who are absent from the State.

1. Where a claimant receiving Adoptive Benefit goes abroad to receive approved medical treatment for their incapacity (the treatment must relate to an illness incurred before going abroad)

2. Persons who are employed abroad and continue to be insured under the Social Welfare Acts may be paid Adoptive Benefit

3. Adoptive Benefit may be paid to a claimant in other EU members states in accordance with Council Regulation ( EC) NO 1408/71, Chapter 22.

Imprisonment

Adoptive Benefit is not payable for any period a claimant is in imprisonment.

Rates Structure

Employees and Self-employed

In the case of a claim for Adoptive Benefit in respect of a period of adoptive leave which commences on or after 6th January 2014, the standard rate payable is €230.00 per week. 

 

Illness Benefit Rate

The rate of Adoptive Benefit is compared to the rate of llness Benefit that would be paid to an adopting parent if absent from work through illness. The higher of the two rates will be paid. (See Rates Booklet SW19 for Illness Benefit rates)

Overlapping Provisions

Half-rate/reduced rate Adoptive Benefit is payable if the claimant is in receipt of one of the following payments:

  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Contributory Pension
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Non-Contributory Pension
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Prisoner's Wife Allowance
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • Death Benefit by way of Widow's, Widower's, Surviving Civil Partner’s or Dependent Parent(s) Pension (under the Occupational Injuries Scheme)

In the case of a person who is entitled to Blind Pension and Adoptive Benefit the full amount of both payments may be paid concurrently unless the Blind Pensioner is in receipt of one of the following payments, in which case Adoptive Benefit is NOT payable.

  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • Prisoner's Wife Allowance
  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Contributory Pension
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Non-Contributory Pension
  • Death Benefit by way of Widow's/Widower's/Surviving Civil Partner’s or parent's pension

Full-rate Adoptive Benefit cannot be paid for the same period as any other Social Welfare payment except Disablement Benefit, Guardian's Payment, Family Income Supplement and Child Benefit.

See separate guideline on "Overlapping Payments" for more details.

Carer's Allowance

From 27 September 2007 a person who is claiming Adoptive Benefit and who is providing full time care to another person living at the same address may now apply for Carer's Allowance and retain their current payment in full. If they satisfy the conditions for Carer's Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the personal rate they would qualify for if they were not in receipt of any other payment. They will also be eligible for Household Benefits and a Free Travel Pass.

See "Carer's Allowance" guideline for more information.

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

Claims

Under the legislation the onus is on the claimant to apply at the correct time if s/he believes s/he is entitled to benefit. The Adoptive Benefit claim form AB 1 should be completed in full and signed by the claimant in all cases.

Employees should get their employer to sign and stamp the form in relation to certification of their Adoptive Leave.

Claims should be submitted to claim at least 6 weeks(12 weeks if self-employed) before the leave is due to begin to allow adequate time for investigation and decision.

Late claims

If a claimant does not apply for Adoptive Benefit within 24 weeks of the date of placement of their child, they may lose theri benefit.

A late claim may be accepted at the discretion of the Deciding Officer where s/he considers there was good cause throughout the period of the delay, but payment cannot be made in respect of a period more than 6 months prior to the date of claim.

Further back-dating may also be possible in certain circumstances on an extra statutory basis. See section 4.2 of the separate guidelines on 'Claims and Late Claims'.

Documentation

The claimant of Adoptive Benefit is responsible for the production of certificates, documents, information and evidence required, including Certificate of Placement, Declaration of Suitability, P35, P45, P60, current payslip, verified (see note below) copy of marriage/civil partnership certificate and/or work permit/GNIB card etc. (if required), etc.

Note: to have verified, claimants should bring original documents to any office of the Department of Social Protection. Only verified copies are acceptable.

The certificate of placement must be submitted by the claimant as evidence of placement of the child and is obtained from the registered Adoption Agency or Health Board which arranges the placement. In the case of a foreign adoption a copy of the Declaration of Suitability issued by the Adoption Board must be submitted.

Adoptive Benefit cannot be awarded until all the necessary documentation has been provided.

Deciding a Claim

Particulars of PRSI contributions paid by and/or credited to the claimant are obtained from the Department's Central Records Section.

Where there is doubt about the fulfilment of a condition (e.g. current employment status) further enquiries will be made either by correspondence, by telephone or by referral to Social Welfare Investigators, depending on the nature of the query.

(See separate guideline re Guidelines for SW Inspectors)

Claims are decided by Deciding Officers appointed by the Minister under Section 299 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005. A notification of the decision is issued to the claimant, and when claims are awarded or disallowed the claimant is notified in writing of the decision.

Appeals

A person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Deciding Officer may appeal that decision in writing within 21 days of the date of the decision, to the Chief Appeals Officer.

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

Payment

Adoptive Benefit is payable by DIRECT PAYMENT on a weekly basis into a Bank or Building Society Account (a current or deposit savings account, not a mortgage account) or the claimant may choose to have it paid directly into her employer’s bank account.

Taxation

Adoptive Benefit (including any increases for adult and child dependents) is reckonable for income tax purposes from 1st July 2013. This Department pays Adoptive Benefit directly to recipients without any deduction for tax. To assist in the taxation of Adoptive Benefit, this Department notifies the Office of the Revenue Commissioners of the taxable amount of Adoptive Benefit to be taken into account for income tax purposes.

Adoptive Benefit in respect of any period up to and including 30th June 2013 is not taxable. A claimant who chose to have her Benefit paid to her employer, who then continued to pay her normal weekly wage while receiving Benefit, may be entitled to a tax refund if the Benefit was payable in respect of any period prior to 1st July 2013. She should write to Adoptive Benefit Section or complete the online form, click here, to request an AB21 Statement in respect of a tax refund (which she should then forward to her local Tax Office). Any enquires in relation to tax affairs should be directed to the local Tax Office. The phone number and address of the local Tax Office are supplied on the ‘Notice of Determination of Tax Credits and Standard Rate cut-off point' form.

If a claimant chooses to have her Benefit paid to her employer, who then continues to pay her normal weekly wage while she is receiving Benefit, she may be entitled to a PRSI refund. She should complete the Refund of PRSI Contributions Application form PRSIREF 1, which can be accessed online at 'www.welfare.ie'.

Duration of Payment

Adoptive Benefit is normally payable for a continuous period of 24 weeks from the date of placement. In order for a claimant to avail of the full 24-week entitlement, their adoptive leave MUST begin on the date of placement of the child. If the claimant begins their adoptive leave after the date of placement of the child, they will lose Benefit.

In the event of the death of the adopting mother, the adopting father has certain leave entitlements. Where it is certified by his employer that the father is entitled to adoptive leave, then he shall be entitled to benefit as follows

  1. If the adopting mother dies before the day of placement
    the adopting father is entitled to payment for the period of 24 consecutive weeks commencing on the day of placement
  2. If the adopting mother dies on or after the day of placement
    the adopting father is entitled to receive payment for the remainder of the 24 weeks, commencing from the day after the death of the adopting mother, or for 6 weeks (whichever is the greater)
Maintenance

When a claim is awarded, a start date and end date are inserted in the Department's payment system.

Once the Deciding Officer is informed in writing of a change in relation to a claim the appropriate maintenance is carried out

Changes in entitlement

The onus is on the claimant to notify the Department of any changes in the details given on the claim form - e.g. returning to work before the end of his/her claim.

Suspension of payment

Payment may be suspended if new evidence is received indicating that the claimant does not fulfil the conditions or is disqualified.

Credits

Credits are awarded automatically to recipients of Adoptive Benefit for each week of benefit paid.

Also an employment contribution may be credited to an insured person for each week during which they avail of unpaid adoptive leave under the terms of the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995.

The "PRSI credit" may be awarded in respect of each week taken if the person

  • availed of Adoptive Leave and did not receive Adoptive Benefit from this Department (maximum of 24 weeks)
    and/or
  • availed of additional Adoptive Leave immediately after paid Adoptive Benefit (maximum of 16 weeks).

In the case of a foreign adoption, some or all of the 16 weeks additional Adoptive Leave may be taken immediately before the day of placement. The leave is available at the request of the employee and entitlement is subject to the notification and evidence requirements set out above.

In order to receive this "PRSI credit", they must get their employer to complete an application form for Adoptive Leave Credits, after they have returned to work. Completed forms should be sent to Adoptive Benefit Section, Department of Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Buncrana, Co Donegal.

Parental Leave

The Parental Leave Act, 1998, which came into operation on 3rd December 1998, makes provision for unpaid leave for fathers and mothers to look after young children. Parental leave may be taken either as a continuous block of 18 weeks or, with the agreement of the employer, broken up over a period of time.

Parents who take parental leave may be entitled to receive a PRSI Credit in respect of each week taken. This will ensure that their existing cover for Social Welfare benefits are fully maintained.

For information about parental leave, as well as employment rights and responsibilities contact:  

Workplace Relations Customer Service
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
O’Brien Road
Carlow
LoCall: 1890 80 80 90
Tel: +353 59 917 8990
Email: www.workplacerelations.ie
Website: www.enterprise.gov.ie

For further information on PRSI credits for parental leave, contact:

Records Section
Department of Social Protection
McCarter’s Road
Buncrana
Co. Donegal

LoCall: 1890 690 690 (from the Republic of Ireland only) + 353 1 47 15898 (from Northern Ireland or overseas).

Last modified:09/03/2015
 

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