In real estate, the mantra is, location, location, location. In the Special Education world of tuition reimbursement it is “follow up, follow up, follow up!”
Under the current Mayoral administration in New York City, the vast majority of tuition reimbursement cases settled this year. Mayor de Blasio reversed the prior administration’s penchant for fighting families of children with special education needs and implemented a “policy” for streamlining special education tuition reimbursement cases.
A record number of 2014-2015 school year cases settled this year in just about every special education law office in New York City. This has been good news for families, mostly. Mostly, because the actual settlements have slowly been processed. NYC DOE has had great difficulty keeping up with processing all the settlements and it has required a great deal of following up on settlement negotiations, and afterwards, the submissions for funding for tuition and/or related services. Getting the settlements over the finish line and ultimately recovering the funding from NYC DOE requires tenacity and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!
My advice to parents is to be as organized as possible. Ask for and keep copies of all invoices from related service providers, and “sync” those invoices with your credit card or check payments. Reimbursement requires that you provide invoices and proof of payment, and affidavits from the private school your child attends. Everything must “add up.” The more organized you are, the better.
If you want to recover funding on a monthly basis, the private school and private providers will have to provide affidavits of payments received on a monthly basis. It would be wise to give them the “heads up” if you need to be reimbursed on a monthly basis so that they are prepared on their end to provide affidavits on a regular basis.
If your attorney is making the submissions for you, ask to be copied on all correspondence with NYC DOE, so that you can follow along with the process. Sometimes there are snafus, and you should be informed about that right away, so that the problem can be corrected quickly to get back on the reimbursement track. You have every right to be kept in the loop. You should also feel free to check in with NYC DOE any time you want to determine whether your reimbursement or funding submissions for your child’s program are “on track” for payment.
My office can help guide you through this process.