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Adoption Benefit Program 

 

Overview

Recognizing adoption as a meaningful and viable way to build a family, the Department of Central Management Services provides an Adoption Benefit Program to assist State of Illinois Employees who adopts a child.  To encourage adoption, especially of children who traditionally wait longer for families, the Adoption Benefit Program will reimburse eligible Employees for some adoption expenses.

Eligibility

The Adoption Benefit Program is available to all Employees who are eligible for benefits under the State Employees Group Insurance Program (Program).  Active Employees who opt out or waive health, dental and vision coverage remain eligible for the Adoption Benefit Program.

The adoption must be final before expenses are eligible for reimbursement.  The request for reimbursement must be received within one year from the end of the Plan Year the adoption became final.  If both husband and wife are State Employees, only one adoption benefit is available per child.

Waiting Children

Hundreds of children in Illinois are waiting to be adopted.  Most live in foster homes, group homes or residential centers operated by child welfare agencies.  Because many of these children wait too long for families, the State of Illinois is determined to shorten their wait by finding permanent homes for more of them.  The Adoption Benefit Program will help in this effort.

Waiting Children are defined as:
  • Minority children age 3 and over and Caucasian children age 11 and over, or
  • Children with a diagnosis of a specific mental, physical or emotional disability, or
  • Children who need to be adopted with brothers and sisters, or
  • Foreign children age three and over.

Benefit Amount

The Program pays eligible expenses up to a maximum of $1,500 for a waiting child and up to a maximum of $1,000 for any other child.  All adoption benefits are subject to Medicare and Social Security taxes.  If more than one child is adopted, benefits are available for each child.

Eligible Expenses

The following adoption charges are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Legal fees.
  • Court fees.
  • Adoption agency fees, including foreign adoption fees (adoption agency must be licensed by the State of Illinois).
  • Required medical exams for the child.
  • Initial immunizations for the child.
  • Transportation costs to bring the child to the adopting parents (or for the adult accompanying the child to the United States).

Ineligible Expenses

The following charges are not eligible for payment:

  • Expenses for adopting stepchildren.
  • Expenses for adopting children related to either parent, such as nephews, nieces, cousins, brothers or sisters.
  • Transportation for the adopting parents.
  • Medical examination fees for the adopting parents.
  • Cost of personal items for either parents or child during or after the adoption, such as clothing or food.
  • Expenses provided by other adoption assistance programs.
  • Pledges, gifts or support fees to an adoption agency.
The following documentation must be submitted:
  • Receipts of eligible expenses.
  • An informal memo or letter to the Department of Central Management Services stating that an adoption has been completed of a child who is not related to the Employee or Spouse.
  • The memo or letter must include the State Employee’s name, address, Employee work and/or home telephone number and agency name.
  • A copy of the adoption decree from a court in the United States or the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) home study approval letter for adoption of a child outside the United States.
Submit Documentation to:

Adoption Benefit Program
DCMS Group Insurance Division
801 S. 7th Street
P.O. Box 19208
Springfield, IL  62794-9208

Health Coverage for Adopted Child

Once a petition for adoption has been filed or custody of the child has been granted, the child may be enrolled in the Program.  If custody is obtained and the child is added to the Employee’s coverage within 60 days of the event, the effective date of coverage can be retroactive to the child’s date of birth or placement for adoption.  Adopted Dependents are not subject to Pre-existing Condition limitations.

Leave of Absence for Adoption

For details concerning an eligible leave of absence for adoption, contact your agency’s personnel office.

For More Information

The Department of Central Management Services is the Plan Administrator of the Adoption Benefit Program.  Questions regarding the Adoption Benefit Program should be directed to the Department of Central Management Services.  For questions about adoptions in general, please contact the Adoption Information Center of Illinois at (800) 572-2390.