If you adopt a child with special needs then you are treated the same for all benefits and entitlements. One difference is you will not receive Maternity Benefit but instead you will receive Adoption Benefit.

Similar to Maternity Benefit, this is a payment to both employees and self-employed people who meet certain PRSI contributions.

Adoptive Benefit is paid for a continuous period of 24 weeks from the date your new child lives with you. You must apply for Adoptive Benefit 5 weeks before you intend to go on leave.

To claim you need a certificate of placement or declaration of suitability. Your payment will be between €217-€262 per week.

In the case of a foreign adoption, you must submit a copy of the Declaration of Suitability issued to you by the Adoption Authority of Ireland. Payment of Adoptive Benefit cannot be made until the Certificate of Placement or Declaration of Suitability, as appropriate, is received.

To apply fill in Form AB1 for Adoptive Benefit together with all relevant certificates to the Department of Social Protection.