IDEA Regulations Amended to Allow School Districts Easier Time Accessing Public Benefits

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The U.S. Department of Education announced today, effective March 18, changes in the IDEA Regulations that will facilitate school districts accessing public benefits, such as Medicaid, or insurance to pay for services in a student's IEP  but also protecting parent rights. Currently, school districts may access a student's or parent's public benefits or insurance,  but are required to obtain parental consent each time the district seeks access those benefits. Effective  March 18, school districts will still need to obtain parental consent to access the  benefits, but districts are only required to obtain a one-time written consent before accessing public benefits or insurance for the first time. Additionally,  school districts are required to provide written notification to the child's parents before accessing the public benefits or insurance for the first time and before obtaining the one-item consent.  While the consent is one-time, the notification must be provided annually.

Moreover, the parent's consent must specify,  among other things, that the parent "understands and agrees" that the school district may access the child's or parent's public benefits or insurance. The Department of Education has provided a summary of these changes. It is hoped that these changes will reduce district's administrative tasks and cost, while protecting parent rights.