Frequently Asked Questions

What is S.E.L.F.’s mission?

Special Education Legal Fund’s mission is to level the playing field in special education for all families, by providing support to families in need so they can access legal assistance in navigating the special education system.

Who is S.E.L.F.?

Special Education Legal Fund was founded by parents who have navigated the special education system for their children. In so doing, they discovered cracks in the special education system, particularly for families and children without the means to afford lawyers, advocates, and advisors.

Is my family eligible for a S.E.L.F. grant?

Your family may be eligible for a S.E.L.F. Legal Assistance Program grant if your family’s adjusted gross income is below 300% of the federal minimum poverty level, you live in Connecticut or Westchester County, New York, and you have a child currently in district special education with a current IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Your family may be eligible for a S.E.L.F. grant through the Advocacy Support Program if your family’s adjusted gross income is below 300% of the federal minimum poverty level, you live in Connecticut only, and you have a child with a current IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or a 504 Plan.

What expenses are covered in a S.E.L.F. grant?

A S.E.L.F. Legal Assistance Program grant covers up to $5000 of fees related to a qualifying family’s special education legal issues, provided by an attorney that meets Special Education Legal Fund’s professional requirements. A S.E.L.F. Advocacy Support Program grant covers up to $1000 of special education advocacy fees provided by an advocate on S.E.L.F.’s Advocacy Support Program List. All S.E.L.F. grants are payable directly to the professionals.

What attorneys are eligible to receive grants from S.E.L.F.?”

Attorneys who receive grants from S.E.L.F. on behalf of clients must meet certain professional guidelines and standards (see below) S.E.L.F. does not make recommendations to clients or prospective clients for special education attorneys.

1.) Have practiced law with an emphasis on special education/disability rights for seven years or more;
2.) Special education/disability rights law should represent the majority of their practice;
3.) Be affiliated with the American Bar Association (ABA), the Connecticut Bar Association, or the New York Bar Association;
4.) Be licensed to practice law in the state of Connecticut or New York.