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Retaining Your Individualized Education Program (IEP)


Many families have children who require an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 Plan while their children are of school age.  There are many reasons why one may be needed involving emotional and physical issues that a child has in trying to optimize their education.  A plan is necessary and very helpful in obtaining services for students while in school.


After graduation from high school, the school districts are required to retain transcripts for 50 years, but that does not include the IEP, 504 Plan or any other background material that may have been very relevant for the student at that time.  Parents may believe that the need for the records no longer exists and eventually throw them away.  I have repeatedly found in pursuing Social Security Disability claims (both SSDI and SSI) that it would be helpful to have my client’s IEP or 504 Plan to proving the nature and extent of my client’s disability.  I have had clients from their mid-20’s to 50 years old for whom a clear record would have been very helpful, yet they were lost because the family and the school district did not retain them.

The retention policy of most school districts is a minimum of five years after which the records can be destroyed.  These retention policies vary greatly and no family should rely on the documents being there if and when they need them.

If you or your child have had an IEP or a 504 Plan, retain it someplace in your records.  As an attorney, I am going to appreciate having those records when I am working with you.  School psychologists have advised me that they wish the records would be retained for reference later for therapists and for other publicly funded programs.

— Written by David S. Kaplan, Esquire

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog are not legal advice, and are not to be used for that purpose.  If you are faced with a legal matter, you should contact a lawyer immediately in order to ensure that you are protected.

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