Low Incidence Service & Equipment Funds

Updated 4/3/18

Background Information
Through a special State fund, the SELPA is provided limited funds each year for specialized equipment, and repair of that equipment for eligible low incidence pupils. The funds are provided based on the low incidence pupil count on December 1 each year. Students whose primary or secondary disabling condition is visually impaired, deaf/blind, hearing impaired or orthopedic impairment are eligible for low incidence equipment and services and generate low incidence funding. Students who are multi-handicapped (more than one disability with at least one of the specific low incidence disabilities) are also eligible, but do not generate low incidence dollars unless that student has been reported on the CASEMIS pupil count in either Disability 1 or Disability 2 as either hearing impaired, visually impaired or severely orthopedically impaired.

Written requests for reimbursement of low incidence expenditures may be submitted to the SELPA office. Medical or life-long adaptive devices such as glasses or hearing aids are not eligible for funding reimbursement as they are not "required to benefit" for educational purposes but rather life-long adaptive devices. Equipment and/or materials that are eligible for funding from another agency or insurance coverage are not eligible for Low Incidence reimbursement.

Requests less or equal to $2,500 will be reviewed by the SELPA Director. Requests greater than $2,500 will be reviewed by the Low Incidence Committee. If there is a concern for funding, all requests will be reviewed by the Low Incidence Committee. The minimum single request must be for $50.00. Low cost eligible equipment and/or materials for the same student may be logically combined to reach the $50 minimum reimbursement request, subject to review by the SELPA Director.

Requests must be made by April 1 for the current school year. Requests made after that date will be processed on the following year's budget, beginning July 1. The deadline for sending invoices and warrants for reimbursement is June 1st.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team authorizes the provision of specific specialized equipment for school use as it relates to the unique educational needs resulting from the low incidence disability, as they would any other service on the IEP. The Local Education Agency (LEA) is responsible for providing for the equipment, as they would any other service on the IEP, whether or not reimbursement is provided. The low incidence fund provides for LEA reimbursement where eligible, according to state guidelines, SELPA Policy and the availability of funds.

The policy provides that the "Low Incidence Funds: Request for Reimbursement" form be completed as the cover page, copied in pink, and sent to the SELPA office with the full IEP (i.e., Program Description Summary, Present levels with baseline data, and Goals and Objectives reflecting the use of the equipment) and a Justification Form to document the need for the equipment. The Justification Form is not to document the child's disability but rather the considerations of the team and an evaluation of the ability of the child to use the equipment. Complete packets of information should be submitted to the SELPA office with the signature of the LEA administrator. Partial packets should not be submitted and will be returned. Documents should not be faxed unless requested by the SELPA office. The IEP should be less than three months old or an explanation should be provided such as: "a borrowed piece of equipment has been tried for the past six months before purchase was requested."

In addition, the Low Incidence Committee is looking for the following information:
1. Assurance that the existing equipment in the classroom will not meet the needs of the child.
2. Description of the unique nature of this equipment in terms of meeting the individual needs of this child.
3. Assurance that the equipment is competitively priced.
4. Assurance that the equipment will meet the long term needs of the child.

Certificated special education professionals should complete the Justification Form. Equipment vendors cannot complete Justification Form.

The SELPA Director authorizes reimbursement for equipment with a letter and purchase order. Payment is made when the actual receipts are provided to the SELPA office.

The equipment becomes part of a statewide inventory and must be tagged with a state label that includes an inventory tracking number. The person who completes the Justification Form should follow-up with placing the tags on the equipment and provide training to staff on how to use the equipment. When the first pupil no longer needs the equipment, the equipment must be made available to other pupils within the SELPA and the state. Items must be tracked by the SELPA inventory process and available for audit by the state. The LEA requesting the equipment must store the item. The LEA is responsible for notification to other LEA members of the SELPA and the SELPA Office when equipment becomes available for use by another student. The responsible LEA may not discard items without specific authorization from the SELPA office after a written request. The SELPA must be kept informed of the location of the equipment at all times. Transfer of equipment to a new student requires submission to the SELPA for authorization using the same process as an original purchase. The transfer from one pupil to another should not be made until the authorization is processed and received from the SELPA office.

The policy provides that the LEA that will order the equipment and house it. The easiest guideline is that the LEA where the child is placed be the one to order equipment. If the child were placed in a county program, the county would order the equipment and be reimbursed for the cost after processing. If the child were placed in a district program, the district would order the equipment and be reimbursed for the cost after processing. County itinerant staff may assist district or county programs by making recommendations and participating in the assessment. Responsibility for complying with the policies and regulations belongs to the ordering LEA.

One other caution about the equipment: It is for school use to allow the student to access his or her educational program. Equipment may not be removed from a public school site unless specifically addressed on the IEP and the LEA administrator provides written authorization. The purchasing LEA is accountable for the equipment including replacement if lost or stolen. Damage which occurs while the equipment is away from the school is also the responsibility of the LEA. Repair or modification of the equipment may be reimbursed through the same process of submitting a low incidence request.

Requests for low incidence equipment shall not supplant the need for general classroom materials, supplies, and equipment provided as a standard to other similar classrooms.
Procedures For Low Incidence Equipment Reimbursement Requests
The Low Incidence Committee reviews requests based on SELPA policy and State regulation. The SELPA Director may take any questionable requests to the LI Committee for review.

An example of a request that may go to the LI Committee for review: A computer might be denied unless it is needed for specific adaptive devices. Devices such as a dedicated word processor should be considered instead. Dedicated word processors are considerably less expensive, smaller, portable and allow the student to do written language and math. The dedicated word processor would continue to allow the special education student to access the curriculum along with their classmates.

When completing the Low Incidence Equipment request please do the following:
1. Conduct an IEP meeting to write goals and objectives pertaining to the curriculum that documents the specific need (e.g., Student will write a paragraph without errors in punctuation using adaptive technology.) On the IEP Special Factors page, document assistive technology and low incidence services, equipment, and/or materials the student requires to meet educational needs. You may also note this under the Supplementary Aids and Services section where you document accommodations and modifications for the student.
2. Check with other SELPA-member-LEAs to determine if the recommended equipment is available for transfer prior to processing an LEA purchase order request.
3. Complete a Justification Form to show that the student needs this particular item in order to access the educational program and curriculum. The Justification Form can be completed by an employee of the district such as the occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech clinician, resource specialist or other person knowledgeable in the specific area. It is helpful to demonstrate that the student has had some successful experience with the item or a similar item.
4. Process an LEA purchase order request and have the LEA order the equipment/ materials. Do not wait for approval for reimbursement from the SELPA. The LEA is responsible to provide any materials and equipment for a student once it is written on the IEP whether or not the expense is reimbursed.
5. Complete the "Low Incidence Funds: Request for Reimbursement" form as the cover page, copy in pink, and include the full IEP and a Justification Form to document the need for the equipment.
6. Send the packet to the LEA special education administrator for signature prior to submission to the SELPA office.
7. Send copies of the invoice and warrant that paid this invoice to the SELPA office after the district has received the equipment and paid for it. These are required to generate a warrant to pay for the equipment. Please do not send copies of purchase requisitions, purchase orders, packing slips, etc. Only copies of the invoice and warrant are necessary.

Contact your Program Specialist or LEA special education administrator if you have any questions or need assistance.

Checklist for Submitting Requests for Reimbursement
1. "Request for Reimbursement" form must be completed as the cover page (copied in pink) with LEA administrator's signature.
2. Justification Form that documents the need for the equipment.
3. Complete IEP, less than 3 months old (including Present Levels of Performance, Special Factors, and Goals and Objectives reflecting the use of the equipment)

Low Incidence Service Funds
Funds will be limited to non-instructional classified support services and must relate to the unique educational need resulting from the student's low incidence disability. Priority is given to assistance necessary to maintain the student in a general education setting and services must be documented in the IEP. Supplementary Instructional Services (Low Incidence Services) may be provided to assist a student eligible for low incidence funding who has been placed in a least restrictive setting, usually a general education program or other significant mainstream experiences. Services may include translators, interpreters, readers, transcribers, vision/hearing services, note-takers, materials and equipment. Funds cannot be used for services that are funded by other sources. If funding is limited, priority shall be given to sign language translation services. Funds may not be used for any assessment services. The LEA Special Education Administrator must sign all requests.

Resource Links


Click here to download and print "Procedures Guide-Low Incidence" (Updated 6-18-13)

Click here to download and print Low Incidence Reimbursement Request form (Updated 4-3-18)

Click here to download and print Low Incidence Justification form (Updated 2/27/14)