Individuals with Disabilities Education

I D E A – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program provides federal grants to States to assist them in providing special education and related services to all children with disabilities.

Agency: Department Education
Office: Special Education Programs, Department of Education,
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20202 Phone: (202) 245-7309

IDEA Grants: FY 13 $10,974,866,000; FY 14 est $11,472,848,000; and FY 15 est $11,572,848,000

Federal grants for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are issued each fiscal year. States must distribute IDEA federal grants to eligible local educational agencies. Funds are used by State and local educational agencies, in accordance with the requirements of IDEA program, to help provide the special education and related services needed to make a free appropriate public education available to all eligible children and, in some cases, to provide early intervening services.

First, each State is allocated an amount equal to the amount that it received for fiscal year 1999. If the total program appropriation increases over the prior year, 85 percent of the remaining funds are allocated based on the number of children in the general population, between the ages of 3 through 21, in the age range for which the States guarantee a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities.

Fifteen percent of the remaining funds are allocated based on the number of children living in poverty, between the ages of 3 through 21 that are in the age range for which the States guarantee FAPE to children with disabilities. The statute also includes several maximum and minimum allocation requirements when the amount available for distribution to States increases. If the amount available for allocation to States remains the same from one year to the next, States receive the same level of funding as in the prior year.

States make subgrants to eligible local educational agencies from their initial grant award after setting aside funds for administration and state-level activities.

Eligibility Requirements

IDEA program defines child with a disability as a child “with intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services”.

In addition, the term “child with a disability” in regards to a child aged 3 to 9,  for the purpose of IDEA program may at the discretion of the State and local educational agency include a child who  is “experiencing developmental delays, as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services”.

How to Apply

Inquire about the eligibility and application process by calling your local school  or school district.

To learn more about IDEA visit idea.ed.gov