Special Education Micro Grants for Texas Students - Families Empowered

Special Education Micro Grants

Families Empowered is here to help walk you through the Supplementary Special Education Services program (SSES) that grants families $1,500 to help support students enrolled in Texas public schools pay for therapy, tutoring, and more! Find out if your student qualifies and get FREE one-on-one help with your application today!

Take the quiz below to find out if you might qualify, learn more about the program with our helpful FAQs, or call us directly at 512-580-4046!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Get answers to all of your questions about the Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) program that grants Texas families $1,500 per eligible child to pay for tutoring, therapy, and more!

What are Supplemental Special Education Services?

Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) are online accounts made
available to eligible parents of students with disabilities that have been impacted
by COVID-19 school closures. To ensure additional educational progress,
families can use the online accounts to obtain goods and services up to the dollar
value in the account which will supplement and bolster services a child is already
receiving in school.

Who will determine if I am approved for the SSES program?

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will handle the processing of all applications and make the final decision regarding the approval of families.

Families Empowered is here to provide outside support to families as you navigate the application, and to check in with you to bring you information about all of your school options, and any other programs that your family might qualify for.

How many SSES accounts are available?

Up to 20,000 accounts will be available for families across Texas whose children
have eligible disabilities.

What is the value of an SSES account?

$1,500 per eligible student for reimbursement of qualified services, which will be
increased in the event there are fewer applicants than available accounts or
proportionally reduced for non-low-income families in the event there are more
applicants than available accounts.

Who is eligible for an SSES account?

Families of students who are enrolled in a Texas public school this year (2020-
21), were enrolled during the initial COVID-19 school closures (2019-20), and
were identified as having a low incidence disability (e.g., an intellectual disability, a developmental disability, a visual impairment, hearing loss, a significant physical disability, multiple disabilities, or are on the autistic spectrum).

Around 59,000 Texas students fit the SSES eligibility category.
– If more families apply than there are available accounts, priority will be
given to those with financial need (i.e. families whose children are eligible
for a free/reduced price lunch).
– If fewer families apply than there are available accounts, remaining funds
will be added to existing parent accounts at the end of the 4-month
application window.

Are students in private schools eligible?

No. Students must have been enrolled in a Texas public school during the 2019-
20 school year and must also be enrolled in the 2020-21 school year.

What are the specific requirements to qualify?

Only students with an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be eligible, and
the students’ IEPs must indicate eligibility for IDEA stemming from a low incidence disability.

Are accounts available per child or per family?

Accounts are available for and funded per student. As an example, a family with
two students with low-incidence disabilities would receive funding in their
account for $3,000—the combined amount—and funds can be used to support
either child.

When can a parent apply?

The family application will be made available in late 2020. The application window will remain open for 4 months in total, with two 2-month windows to facilitate batched application approval.

Families Empowered will also notify all parents as soon as the application opens. Sign up to receive personal service!

How do I apply, and what proof of eligibility is required?

TEA will establish a web-based application process (including application
materials in both English and Spanish). Families will supply information to
identify each student, which will be matched with information on file with TEA
about the student. Families will also supply certain necessary parent contact
information to facilitate management of the online accounts.

When will I find out if my child has been approved for an account?

All applicants will get an immediate email confirmation indicating their
application has been received.

Families will be notified within five business days if they have been approved,
placed on a waiting list, or do not qualify.

Will there be a paper application submission process for families without internet access/technology?

No. This is designed to be web-based. The system is compatible with mobile
devices.

What services or goods are eligible for parents to obtain via their online accounts?

TEA, through the account manager, will maintain a list of approved vendors that
have goods or services that parents can obtain via their online accounts. When
the service launches, the list will be pre-populated with a large array of vendors
already approved. TEA will separately manage a process to allow additional
vendors to be vetted and approved as an additional choice.

Only vendors that provide certain types of goods or services will be approved,
which are:
– Private tutoring
– Educationally related services and therapies from a licensed or accredited
practitioner (OT, PT, BCBA, SLP, PT)
– Textbooks, curriculum, or other instructional materials
– Computer hardware, software, or other technological devices that are used
for educational needs

How does a parent use the online accounts?

Once a parent account has been approved, parents will be able to login to an
online website maintained by TEA’s online accounts manager. That website will
launch in 2020, to coincide with the launch of the online application.

Parents will be able to use the website to order an eligible good or service online.

Parents will be able to select from an approved service provider within the online
platform provided by TEA, through the TEA account manager. Through the
online system, parents will be able to directly order goods. They will also be able
to confirm services have been received and authorize payment for those services.

Parents will be asked to confirm that any goods or service ordered are consistent
with the special education needs of the student.

Services cannot be purchased through the system for a service provider who is
related (within the third degree of consanguinity) to the parent.

Can parents submit for retroactive services and expenses incurred since the March 2020 closure of their public school?

No. Services can only be purchased and received after a family establishes an
account.

What are the deadlines for parents to use all funds in their online accounts?

Parents must have submitted funding requests for eligible goods or services by
January 31, 2022.

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Everything you need to know about the application, and how to get FREE one-on-one help.
 

The Supplementary Special Education Services program application will open soon!

Get FREE, one-on-one help with your application and receive a notification when the application opens by calling us at 512-580-4046!

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