Getting Started with S.E.L.F


How do I apply?

Eligibility is based on income guidelines for your household size. If your income is at or below the level indicated in the chart for your household, move to Step 2.


How it works?

Do I need a Special Education Advocate or Attorney?


Advocates provide knowledge & guidance to families in the special education process. 

They can help you write letters, rewrite goals, understand timelines, attend meetings with you, & much more. Advocates do not practice law & cannot attend a due process hearing with you or review legal documents.

The Advocacy Support Program provides a one-time $1000 grant to families who:

  1. Live in Connecticut or Westchester County
  2. Student has a current IEP or 504 Plan
  3. Family income meets guidelines
If you need an advocate, please continue to step 3.



Families sometimes need legal support because they have reached an impasse with their school about their student’s education. 

The Legal Assistance Program provides a one-time grant of $6000 for a qualified special education attorney. Families must:

  1. Live in Connecticut or Westchester County, New York
  2. Student must have a current IEP
  3.  Family income meets guidelines
If you need an attorney, please continue to step 3.



Once you’ve decided which program is right for you, click on the button for the Advocacy Support Program or the Legal Assistance Program to begin the application process. 

In the prescreen you will answer 4 questions to determine if you are eligible for the program. We will respond within 72 hours with next steps.



If you are eligible, you will receive an application within 72 hours of submitting your prescreen.

Complete the application and return a scanned copy to S.E.L.F. INCLUDING the required documents. Failure to include the required documents, including proof of income and IEP/504 Plan, will delay the progress of your application.

The completed application and documents are due by the 15th of each month.



Next, S.E.L.F. will contact you to schedule a phone interview.

This interview will last between 45 minutes and 1 hour.

Your interview must be completed by the 22nd of each month.



S.E.L.F. reviews applications on a monthly basis from October through June.

All applicants are notified of their grant application status at the end of the month in which they apply.


Approval! What now?

APPROVED WITH ATTORNEY If you have been approved & you already have an attorney, S.E.L.F. will send documents to you upon notification.

APPROVED NO ATTORNEY If you have not yet secured an attorney, you have 30 days from the notice of your grant approval to find an attorney.  Please try to interview more than one attorney, & let them know you are a S.E.L.F. client. S.E.L.F. does not fund consultations with attorneys but some attorneys waive their consultation fees for our grant recipients. 

Do you still have questions?

Watch How to Apply for a Grant 

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In grants
$ 585000
Happy Families
over 900
educational improvements
$ 4 M

What do Attorneys Say about S.E.L.F

Attorneys must meet the following requirements: practice special education or disability rights law for 7 years or more, practice special education law as a majority of their practice, and be affiliated with the American Bar Association, Connecticut Bar Association, or New York Bar Association, and be licensed to practice law in Connecticut or New York.