An IEE is an assessment done by an expert who does not work for the school district.
If your child did not qualify for special ed services and you do not agree with that decision, you have the right to get an IEE.
If you are below a certain income level, the school district must pay for some or all of the costs of the IEE. The amount will depend on your family's income. (More on this below.)
Here's what you can do:
Put this in writing, with a date, and describe why you disagree. Keep a copy for yourself.
Ask for the school district to pay for it, or at least part it. (Sometimes the school system will be required to pay for it. See the box below to learn more.)
To give you an idea of what to write, download the sample letter at the bottom of the page. You can edit this with your own information if you'd like.
If your child gets free or reduced-cost lunch, the school should pay the full cost of the IEE.
The district will use a sliding scale to see how much they might pay. This means the cost depends on your income. You would have to share some information about your family's finances to help them figure this out.
You always have the right to pay for an IEE yourself at any time.
There are three ways to pay for an IEE:
Public funding through the school district (if you qualify)
Your health insurance (if it’s covered)
You pay yourself
Massachusetts law requires the school district to pay for all or part of an IEE if your family’s income is below certain limits. A sliding scale tells you how much they will pay, depending on your income.
The state sets the amount of money a district is required to pay for different types of evaluations. Sometimes it will be hard to find an evaluator who will agree to that amount of money. For example, the evaluator you want might charge more than the district is willing to pay.
Many state and federal aid programs depend on how your income relates to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Your percentage of the FPL is based on your income and family size. Click here to figure out your percentage of FPL. (It will open in a new tab or window on your screen.)
Note: You must give the school proof of your finances, like a paycheck or bank statement, if you want them to pay for all or part of the evaluation.
You can still ask for public funding for an IEE if:
You don’t qualify based on income
You don’t want to give proof of your income
You think the district's evaluations are not comprehensive.
In these cases, the school district can either:
Agree to pay for all or part of the IEE, or
Appeal to the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) within 5 school days. They must show that their evaluation is appropriate.
If you provide financial information that shows you qualify, the district must pay for the IEE. It cannot appeal to the BSEA.
Sometimes your health insurance will cover the IEE. You will likely need a referral from your child’s doctor. Call your insurance company to find out. (The phone number should be on the back of your insurance card.)
3. Choose an independent evaluator.Your school district should give you a list to help you find one, but you can request any one you like, as long as they're qualified.
What happens next:
Once the IEE is done and they send the report to the school, the district must schedule a new team meeting within 10 school days.
The evaluation team will meet again to see what your child qualifies for. This time they should use the results from the IEE and the original evaluation.
Note: The IEE process is a bit different if you are disagreeing with a decision about a 504 Plan. See the 504 Plans section in the menu to learn more.
Sources: ABC for Health Inc., Children's Law Center of MA, Federation for Children with Special Needs, MA DESE, Mass Advocates for Children