Adoption Assistance Program

Eligible state employees can receive financial assistance to help pay some expenses when adopting a child. Assistance is limited to the amount of funds authorized each year for the program.

Eligible employees include permanent or probationary, full-time or part-time employees of any department, institution, board, commission, council, division, bureau, center, school, hospital or other agency of the state of South Carolina, including temporary grant and time-limited employees. Law enforcement officers and employees of special purpose districts are also eligible. Employees must participate in PEBA insurance benefits and be employed when the adoption is submitted, when the adoption is finalized and when benefit is paid.

Adoptions eligible for assistance

Assistance is available for a child younger than age 18 who is adopted. Assistance is not available for the adoption of a stepchild.

Assistance amount

The maximum amount for adopting a non-special needs child is $5,000, and the maximum amount for a special needs child1 is $10,000. The maximum amount is based on eligible expenses directly relating to the adoption of the child and the amount authorized for the program.

How benefits are paid

Funds are paid directly to the employee after he provides proof of the eligible costs directly related to the adoption. The amount cannot be determined until the application period ends (September) and the application review process is completed (October). Therefore, adoption benefits are awarded in November.

Eligible expenses

  • Licensed adoption agency fees.
  • Legal fees (attorney’s fees and costs of legal proceedings).
  • Fee for obtaining investigations and reports as required by S.C. Code Ann. 63-9-520.
  • Fee of the individuals required to take the consent or relinquishment as required by S.C. Code Ann. 63-6-340(A).
  • Fee of a guardian ad litem appointed pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. 63-9-720.
  • Reasonable fees to sending agencies as defined in S.C. Code Ann. 63-9-2200(2)(b), the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
  • Costs, as allowed for state employees traveling on official business for transportation, lodging and food for both the adoptive child and the eligible employee and the eligible employee's spouse when necessary to complete the placement or final adoption, including obtaining physical custody of the adopted child.
  • Medical expenses of the biological mother relating to the birth of the adopted child that are not paid by insurance, Medicaid or other such available resources, and that have been paid by the eligible employee.

How to apply

The application period is July through September each year for eligible employees who finalized an adoption the previous fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Once the adoption is finalized through a court system, eligible employees should contact PEBA to request an application. An application must be received by PEBA no later than 5 p.m. on the last business day in September.

PEBA administers the State Employee Adoption Assistance Program. For more information, call 803.734.1696.

1A special needs child is one who is age 6 or older, or a child less than age 18 who has a physical, mental or emotional disability.