California Special Education Law

Advocacy Resources, Hearing & Appeal Decisions, Statistics and More for Parents

Special Education Compensatory Education COVID-19 Claims to Expire

March 01, 2022

Compensatory Education Claims for Failed California Distance Learning Programs to Expire in 2022

With the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 school closures quickly approaching, we are writing to inform you of the impending statute of limitations deadline for many COVID-19 special education claims.

The law provides a two-year statute of limitations for special education-related due process complaints. As schools across California halted their in-person learning on March 17, 2020, the window available to make claims that your child did not receive a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) during the school closure period will end in just a few weeks.

Under federal law, students with disabilities retained their right to a FAPE during the COVID-19 school closures. Therefore, if a student with a disability did not receive the appropriate evaluations or services during this time, they may be entitled to compensatory services.

Compensatory services exist to compensate a student for lost educational opportunities due to a public school failing to provide a student with a FAPE. Compensatory services may be provided in the form of additional service minutes for services your child already receives. Compensatory education could also include reimbursement for private services families paid for in the past or may pay for in the future.

Our May 21, 2020 newsletter provides more information on the legal obligations that public schools had during the COVID-19 school closures. That newsletter also includes a Distance Learning Tracker, which may be helpful in calculating the compensatory services your child may be entitled to. Additionally, our July 27, 2020 newsletter explains the impact of Senate Bill 98 (“SB 98”) on distance learning/hybrid learning standards and special education, as well as includes a Frequently Asked Questions section on distance learning and COVID-19 school closures.

If you believe that your child may be entitled to compensatory education due to their school not providing them with a FAPE during the COVID-19 school closures, now is the time to pursue your claims. For more information, please contact us.