Special Education Claims Deadline Extended to September 1, 2023

March 15, 2022

On March 4, 2022, Governor Murphy signed a law that extends a crucial special education deadline for families of individuals with autism whose education had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline for most special education claims that arose due to a COVID-19 school closure is now September 1, 2023.

Previously, the statute of limitations for special education claims, including claims for compensatory services, was two years. That means that families (absent exceptional circumstances) had two years after a problem occurred with their child’s education to request a hearing with the state’s Office of Administrative Law to resolve that problem.

For many families whose children lost out on related services when their public school switched to remote instruction on March 18, 2020, that two-year opportunity was ending. If parents wanted to make a claim for the full extent of the compensatory services to which their child may be entitled, most would have to file for due process on or before March 18, 2022.

The new law, which the Senate approved with a 34-0 vote and the Assembly approved with a 74-0 vote, extends the deadline for a request for a due process hearing for an education problem that arose between March 18, 2020 and September 1, 2021. These requests can now be filed any time before September 1, 2023. You can find the full text of the law here.

If you need help making sense of this new law and how it affects your family, contact our 800.4.AUTISM Helpline or email us at information@autismnj.org. Our passionate, knowledgeable helpline staff will be happy to answer your questions and make thoughtful referrals. If you would like the contact information for a special education lawyer, you can visit our free, online referral database 24/7. For guidance on how to select a non-attorney advocate, read our article, How to Find a Special Education Advocate That’s Right for You.