Adoption Assistance

Adopting a child is a joyous occasion, but one that often brings unique financial challenges. In an effort to assist employees who are building families, Syracuse University offers adoption assistance benefits to eligible employees. These benefits include financial assistance under the University’s Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Plan and time off to care for your child and help establish your new family under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Reimbursement of Adoption-Related Expenses

  • After a United States court issues an adoption decree (but no later than 12 months thereafter or within 30 days of termination of employment, if earlier) you may  submit an Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Form [PDF] to HR Shared Services, with itemized receipts for expenses claimed and a copy of the adoption decree from a U.S. court.
  • Reimbursement for eligible expenses will be made by check, separate from the employees regular paycheck, approximately four (4) weeks after HR receives the complete documentation. HR may request additional documentation in connection with the reimbursement request.

Taxation of Benefits

Federal tax law allows taxpayers who incur qualified adoption expenses to choose between claiming a tax credit or receiving tax-free reimbursement under an employer’s adoption assistance program, if the taxpayer meets certain dollar and income restrictions. Employees cannot claim a tax credit for any adoption expense that is reimbursed by Syracuse University. Employees should consult a personal tax advisor to determine whether an exclusion from income or a tax credit is available, and which option may be best for their circumstances.

Since the University cannot predict an employee’s personal tax situation, adoption expense reimbursements are treated as taxable income, and applicable FICA taxes are withheld from each reimbursement amount. The gross amount of the reimbursement in a given calendar year is reported on employee’s W-2 form.

Time Off

Within the first 12 months of the adoption (or placement for adoption) of your new child, if you meet the eligibility guidelines described in the policy, you may request time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.  University policy requires that employees use any paid vacation time available during this leave; any additional time off would be unpaid. Additionally, you may be eligible for Paid Family Leave.

Other Benefits

At the time of placement, remember to add your adopted child as a dependent for medical coverage and other benefits, if needed. This must occur within 31 days of placement, per the Family Status Change guidelines. You will need to provide a copy of the adoption agreement.

Helpful Links

Should you have any questions, or require accommodations to access any information on this webpage, please reach out to HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within this website is accurate. However, benefits are governed by legal documents (which, in certain circumstances, may include insurance contracts). If there is any difference between the information in this website and the official documents, the official documents will control. As is the case with all of Syracuse University’s employee benefit plans, the University reserves the right to modify or terminate these benefits at any time.