Documentation of a Disability
Documentation of a Disability
ESA+ is a program for students with disabilities who require special education services. As part of the application process, you will be asked to verify that the student has a disability.
*Program Update, 8/18/23*
If your student’s documentation of a disability was issued in 2020, an updated eligibility document can be submitted in MyPortal starting 10/1/23.
First-time applicants must submit a current Eligibility Determination document from the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), issued by a North Carolina public school.
The form must be:
- issued by a North Carolina public school (or a Department of Defense school located in North Carolina)
- issued within the last three years
What does the Eligibility Determination look like?
The North Carolina Eligibility Determination form has an ECATS logo in the top left corner and Eligibility Determination as the title on the top right. The form concludes with the IEP team names and signatures. The document could be between 2-10 pages long.
An Eligibility Determination form issued by a North Carolina public school is the only document accepted by the ESA+ program to verify a student’s disability.
Do not submit other documents, as these will cause your application to be delayed or disqualified.
Other IEP documentation (such as prior written notice, meeting minutes, annual goals, or progress reports).
Student aptitude tests (such as the Stanford-Binet, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, The Kaufman Anderson, or any other comparable tests).
Student achievement tests (such as the Metropolitan Readiness Test, the Stanford Early School Achievement Test, the Mini Battery of Achievement, the Woodcock-Johnson, or any other comparable test).
Letter from a doctor or other medical professional.
Applying in 2023 for the 2023-2024 school year? The meeting date listed on the Eligibility Determination must be 1/1/20 or later.
Submitting the Eligibility Determination
- Submit the Eligibility Determination document in MyPortal as soon as possible. The Eligibility Determination should be submitted immediately after applying. The final deadline to submit the correct document is three weeks after application submission.
- If you submit an incorrect document you may resubmit it up to two additional times, but only within the three-week window (the deadline does not reset each time you submit). Allow at least one week for staff review of your document.
- Submit the document as ONE Word or PDF file. MyPortal allows just one file per upload. You will not be able to submit additional pages, and your incomplete document will be rejected.
To remain eligible to participate in the ESA+ program, families must provide a re-evaluation of their student’s disability every three years.
ESA+ Award for Academic Year
Date of IEP Eligibility Determination
Begin Reevaluation Process
Re-evaluation Due to ESA+
1/1/19 or later
1/1/20 or later
The three-year cycle begins with the date of the most recent IEP Eligibility Determination that is on file with SEAA. You will receive email reminders in MyPortal when it is time to complete the re-evaluation.
How to determine if your re-evaluation date is approaching
- Find your student’s current IEP Eligibility Determination Form (for a description of the form see “New Applicants” above).
- On the last page of the form there should be a list of people who attended the meeting, their signatures, and the date.
Find the date of the meeting in the “Date” column and add three to the year.
For example, if the meeting date was 2020:
2020 + 3 = 2023
You would start the re-evaluation process in the fall of 2023 to allow enough time to complete the process.
Re-Evaluation Options for renewing students
If the primary or secondary disability listed on the student’s Eligibility Determination has not changed, renewing families may submit one of the following to SEAA.
- Public School Eligibility Determination: The local public school system assesses the student to determine if the student continues to be a child with a disability. The document to submit to ESA+ is the Eligibility Determination issued by the IEP team.
- Psychologist Assessment*: A North Carolina Licensed Psychologist with a school psychology focus or a North Carolina Licensed Psychiatrist assesses the student to evaluate if the student has improved his or her educational performance and would continue to benefit from the Eligible School or Home School. The document to submit to ESA+ is the Continuing Eligibility Form.
- The cost of a psychiatrist or psychologist is an acceptable use of ESA+ funds if the provider is registered and accepted with ESA+. In the course of providing a therapeutic service, the registered and accepted provider can complete the Continuing Eligibility Form.
- The Psychologist Assessment cannot be used to document a change in the area of disability.
- The Psychologist Assessment cannot be used if the student’s only disability designated on the IEP Eligibility Determination is Developmental Delay.
If you have questions about initiating the special education process, timelines, evaluations, reevaluations, and/or eligibility, please contact the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC) at 1-800-962-6817 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ECAC provides NC families with tools, resources and information to help them make informed decisions and become their child’s best and most effective advocate. ALL of ECAC’s services to families are provided at no cost.