The effective date of this policy is January 1, 2010. The policy will only cover expenses incurred after both the policy’s effective date and after eligible employees have been given reasonable notice of the availability and terms of the policy. Abilene Christian University maintains the Adoption Assistance Plan to provide adoption assistance benefits to eligible employees of the employer in an effort to defray the cost of adoption.
Procedure (or process)
This policy shall be administered by Human Resources. This administrator, from time to time, may adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary or desirable for the proper and efficient administration of the policy and as are consistent with the policy’s terms. The administrator shall have the discretionary authority to construe and interpret the policy and make factual determinations there under, including the authority to determine eligibility of employees, to determine the amount of benefits payable under the policy, and to decide claims under the policy’s terms. Any plan interpretation and any decision on any matter within the discretion of the administrator made in good faith shall be binding on all persons.
Full-time employees are eligible for this benefit after completing six months of employment. If an eligible employee and his/her eligible spouse both work at ACU, only one employee can utilize the benefit. An eligible employee does not include a leased employee, independent contractor, or employee of a third party other than the company. Dependents of employees are not considered eligible employees for this benefit.
An eligible child is any individual who, at the time the adoption expenses are incurred, is under the age of 18 and may not be related to either parent. Stepchild adoptions do not qualify under this benefit.
Special Needs Children
According to IRS guidelines an eligible child can be defined with special needs if all three of the following statements are true: (1) The child was a citizen or resident of the United States or its possessions at the time the adoption process began; (2) A state has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to his or her parents' home; and (3)The state has determined that the child will not be adopted unless assistance is provided to the adoptive parents. Factors used by states to make this determination include: (a) The child's ethnic background and age; (b) Whether the child is a member of a minority or sibling group, and (c) Whether the child has a medical condition or a physical, mental, or emotional handicap. You must be prepared to show documentation of the above needs, if requested
Each eligible employee is eligible to receive up to $5,000 in adoption assistance benefits for the adoption of an eligible child. The limit is increased to $6,000 for an adoption of a eligible child with special needs (as defined by IRS regulations). The adoption assistance benefit shall be in the form of reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses. The Adoption Assistance benefit has a lifetime maximum limit of three adoptions per family. If both an employee and his/her spouse work at ACU, the two together are eligible to be reimbursed up to a maximum of $5,000 per adoption.
Qualified Adoption Expenses
Qualified Adoption Expenses shall include reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorneys fees, and other expenses that are: (i) directly related to, and the principal purpose of which is for, the legal adoption of an eligible child by the taxpayer, (ii) not incurred in violation of state or federal law, or in carrying out any surrogate parenting arrangement, (iii) not for the adoption of the child of the taxpayer's spouse, and (iv) not reimbursed by another source (e.g., grants, personal insurance or another employer). All expenses claimed must have been incurred while employed at Abilene Christian University. If the employee or his/her spouse receive adoption assistance from any source other than under this benefit for qualified adoption expenses, those same expenses will not be eligible for reimbursement under this benefit.
Leave Time Related to Adoption
Eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected, and benefit-protected leave is provided in accordance with the University’s policy on Family and Medical Leave. Employees may choose to use accrued vacation and sick leave; such paid time would run concurrently with the 12 weeks of family and medical leave.
Information to be Furnished to the Administrator
Eligible employees must furnish the administrator or their employer with such evidence, data or information as the administrator or employer considers necessary or desirable to administer the plan. A fraudulent misstatement or omission of fact may be used to deny claims for benefits.
No adoption assistance benefits shall be approved by the administrator and paid unless a participant has first submitted a written claim for benefits to the administrator on an application specified by the administrator and pursuant to procedures established by the administrator. This application must be submitted with receipts and documentation of expenses. This application must be submitted to Human Resources within 30 days following the placement of the child. The administrator will provide notice in writing if a claim for benefits is denied and the plan administrator will provide a review of that claim if requested. Any claim for benefits will be processed in accordance with procedures established by the administrator, in his/her sole discretion.
Adding an Adopted Child to Your Benefits
At the time of placement, the employee may add his/her child to his/her medical and group life insurance policies. Any additions to your benefits plans must occur within 30 days of placement. The employee will need to provide a copy of the adoption agreement in order to enroll his/her child.
To apply for reimbursement for an adoption, please fill out the Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Application.