IEP FAQs: What should be the “Effective Date” on IEPs?

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“Effective date” means just what it says. If you write an IEP and put the “effective date” as the date of the meeting, then the IEP goes into effect on that date. If you are writing an IEP for the next academic year, the dates on the IEP should indicate that.

A special ed teacher asked this when confused about the school’s sudden change in policy. For ten years they had used the beginning and end of the school year as effective dates.

When doing a periodic review for an IEP, I always put the effective dates for the beginning and end of the school year. We are now being told that we should put the dates from when we have the meetings in March.

In some cases, especially for very young children whose needs change often, and for children with complex needs, the IEP should not be written for a full academic year. There is no way to know what the child’s needs will be 4, 5 or 6 months later.

It can be a mistake to write IEPs in March or April of 2008 that are supposed to meet all the child’s needs related to the disability so far in the future – i.e., between Sept 08 and May or June 09 (18 months later).

  1. Our son’s IEP states 1/22/18-1/21/19. The issue is we were in dispute with the district and did not resolve our differences till late May. We partially rejected the IEP but now they are stating the IEP is up again in January. They are stating we have to meet now as the IEP is up. Do we have to meet again?

    • If a new IEP was not developed, or an agreement reached to extend the previous one, their position seems correct to me.

  2. When putting IEP dates in IEPwriter.. I am told the Active date and Implementation date are or should be the same date. I.e. If the an IEP meeting is 9.1.2017 and the implementation date is 11.1.2017 the active date is 11.1.2017 not 9.1.2017.. this seems odd to me. Isn’t it active from September but not implemented until November?

  3. My son recently transitioned to middle school. During a recent parent meeting it was discovered supportive instruction in two subject areas has not been provided. When questioned, the current school stated the elementary school completed the paperwork wrong and therefore they want to change the IEP and backdate the change effective May 2016. I do not agree with theses changes and feel this should not be allowed. Is this legal for them to change and backdate the IEP ? Please advise.

  4. My son’s IEP originally states the inital date as 9/10/15 with and end date of 5/25/15. I emailed to inquire as to when this years annual would be. I was “reminded” that we “redid” the IEP in October 2015 to meet the district requirement that no IEP’s can be due prior to Sept 15 or after April 15th due to paperwork getting to the state. How can the state say that no IEPs be done outside of those dates? Can a district put that restriction on IEPs? What if there is a need to change placement or someone moves to the district outside those dates? I contend we need to go by the original date but the district says no.

    • Unless you have year round school IEP’s are never scheduled for the summer or at the end of the school year. Obviously if a child moves in in those timelines a new timeline for the process will start but the school has 25 school days to evaluate, if that timeline falls on summer, the eval will be pushed into the next school year. A change in placement requires a reeval.

  5. In my sons ammended IEP the effective dates are 10/19/15 to 5/31/15. I did not realize on the service page they snuck in that the end dates for OT and speech are may 2, 2016! I filed an administrative complaint due to them not providing services the first month or last month of school, his service page went from first day of school to the last. I am sure that is why they did this! Is this legal? What can I do?

    • This is probably for the therapists to do paperwork & attend meetings, not for the best interest of the child. Whether this is legal in your state, would be determined by the state education agency, hearing officer or a court. Your state parent training & information center may be able to help you.

  6. IEP was written 5/2015. Under Acom & Mods, “access to a stander”, and “talk/text technology”. She began school on 8/14; the school evaluated the size and safety of her stander 8/27. She’d had outgrown it. Stander is her only form of exercise and stretching while at school. SPED Director was informed acquisition must be expedited. By 9/10, no word, I wrote again. Offered to loan our home stander. The district ignored the offer. 1 month and 10 days after she began school, she has access to stander. Serious physical harm done as a result of the lack of stretching and weight-bearing, 5 lb weight loss – @ 13: 60 – 55lbs – muscle mass loss. The talk-text was not delivered until 9/30/15. Late prep. is an habitual problem for the district.

  7. Can the implementation date of an IEP be a Saturday? I have received an IEP with a Saturday date and didn’t know if it should be revised.

  8. I asked to convene the team to discuss my son’s para. Without my consent or knowledge, this became the “Annual Review”. to which I was not even aware until 1/2 way through the meeting. Is this even legal? I made 3 calls to the chair prior to the meeting, all of which went unanswered.

  9. I believe that you can have an IEP meeting and make the effective day a day in the future (i.e. the beginning date of the next school year. If you do that, are you voiding the IEP that is in place?

  10. When I recently moved my son from an APS to a new district I was told that his IEP was outdated/expired. I was then asked to sign a Consent for Evaluaton. this document wasn’t sent to me, it was given to me in the Special Education Office when I was dropping off a copy of his most recent audiogram. I wasn’t provided a copy of this paperwork until 6 weeks later and it stated in the comments that it was a re-evaluation to CHANGE his current placement. I am furious. The district didn’t even offer him the services from his prior IEP for 30 days and the services they are offering him aren’t even close to comparable to his previous placement and setting. All of his testing, reports and assessments were all current, however never considered in his current placement, Can anyone help?


    I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that it is the school’s job to keep the IEP updated by having required meetings, whether they are annual reviews or re-evaluations. Dismissal from the program requires extensive testing, not IEP’s running out. I can’t believe they told you that.

  12. My son’s school has said that his IEP has expired and that it is iilegal for him to be in resource. Is this true and what can I do?

  13. I am a resident of OH. However my question is does the effective date change if an IEP is amended. I work for a school district that does not change the effective date. The school district that in which I reside, changed the effective date. Before I debated this I wanted it in writing but I am having such a hard time locating this on the internet, in my many copies of “Whose IDEA is this?” and in my many Professional Development hand outs. Does any one know the answer to this?

    • I believe the effective date at the beginning changes, but the ending effective stays the same. For example if the IEP was from 1/5/2015 to 1/4/2016 and a change was made in March the effective date of the Amended IEP would be 3/5/2015 to 1/4/2016.

    • Dominca –

      IDEA requires that the entire IEP Team meet at least annually to discuss a child’s progress and determine the contents of the IEP (34 CFR § 300.324). A meeting where an IEP is amended could satisfy this requirement ONLY if the entire Team is present, the child’s complete progress is reviewed, and the entire IEP is updated.

      This would be more like an early annual review than an amendment in the IDEA sense. In any case, the “effective date” on the IEP can’t be more than one year from the meeting when the Team last completed this review (also see the IDEA 2004 commentary).

      Ohio regulations more explicitly address this. Rule 3301-51-07 says that, when and IEP is amended, the annual review date (“effective date”) does not change.

  14. Are services (special ed & ancillary) supposed to stop if an IEP expires? What about if you have a current IEP, but overdue 3 year re-evaluation? WIth the latter, what should be done w/medicaid billing if the child qualifies for that. Can medicaid still be billed w/an overdue IEP and/or overdue 3 year re-evaluation?

  15. Sandy – They can add/delete goals to an existing IEP and get the team to initial and date the changes or they can produce a new IEP and at that point the start date would be the date of the new IEP. In my experience any changes/updates to goals are added to the existing IEP with signatures and the start date is the same. The only time we had a change in the start date was when we requested a new evaluation and it legally fell at the beginning of the year. A new IEP was created and the new date was December of that year. We then had yearly IEP meetings in December instead of Spring.

  16. If a child has an Intial IEP start date in the begining of the school year, than later the the goals are changed. Should the Intial IEP start date for that school year change?

  17. I have a questions regarding the duration of an IEP for a student.

    An IEP is written at the end of one year for a student for the following school year. The student moves shortly after end of school year. New school is not made aware of IEP and parent is unaware of this. Consequently, 6 years go by before IEP is discovered again.

    Does this student still have an IEP? There was never documentation of a dismissal. Parents were not notified of a dismissal. For all intents and purposes, IEP was forgotten.

    What does the law say in this case? Is it still IEPs don’t expire and school is out of compliance by 6 years?

    Thank you.


    Can one have an IEP on a certain date but the duration of the IEP be for a different? For example: Intereim IEP is from 8/15 until10/15. Hold the transfer meeting on 9/27 but make the duration date for 10/10/2011-10/10/2012? I was told the anniversary date must be on the date the meeting was held.

  19. If we have an IEP meeting for a first-time IEP during the summer, can we request that it go into effect as a legal document on the date the parents signs the IEP?
    If the “effective date” is the first day of classes- August 22- does that mean that the IEP is not considered an “active IEP” until August 22?
    This is critical for a first time McKay scholarship aplication: you need to have an “active IEP” to be eligible. If a parent filed intent by July 3, but the IEP goes into effect on August 22, might that make the student ineligable? I know you can’t withdraw a student until he is accepted as a McKay student, or you forfiet eligibility. What is the law?

  20. What should be the “Effective Date” on IEPs? by janet
    I always laugh when I hear that a school’s IEP is “expiring.” There is really no such thing. The IEP goes from year to year. A new IEP should be in place by the time the previous IEP is up.

    A parent can discuss ESY anytime by requesting an IEP to discuss it. My son had ESY for all 13 school years because the school did not meet his goals so he regressed and needed compensatory time. We had to prove regression every year. That was not hard to do since he would regress when he was on Christmas break.

    Don’t let the school bully you. ESY can be discussed anytime, you can schedule an IEP meeting anytime, and the IEP can be revised anytime.

  21. I have a question about adding ESY services via an IEP Review Revision. If an IEP expires in May or June, can ESY be addressed in a Review/Revision of that IEP? Wouldn’t that fall outside of the IEP term? My school district requires all ESY IEP’s to be completed in February, via Review/Revisions. Is this legal if the IEP expire prior to the summer?

  22. I’m in North Carolina. I have searched and been unable to come up with the policy on the PARENT requesting an extension to the annual IEP meeting/effective date? I realize the date listed on the IEP is the effective date and the IEP meeting is supposed to be held by that date. Due to some concerns with my son, commitments, family situation, I am unable to meet by that date. I asked if all IEP meeting members could sign off on agreeing to delay the meeting until another, specific date, within 30 days of the original date, keeping the current IEP in place.. I was told that there is no way to acquire an extension of the meeting date. This seems amazing to me. Is there no way to delay the IEP meeting until a later date? No forms available?

  23. What should be the “Effective Date” on IEPs? by Mark M. My understanding is that if the new IEP is rejected the old one still stands until the new one is put into place. I was told by an attorney that “stay put” occurs only when a request for due process has been sent to the school not for an expired IEP. The school is “on the hook” to resolve this expired IEP as soon as possible as they are out of compliance with the law. Don’t let them rush you. I had a school actually move forward with the new IEP without us signing it & gave us a “prior written notice” stating why they were doing this. This actually worked in our favor because when we wanted to keep our child in the program after he was technically supposed to graduate. He stayed in the program because they had to go with the “last agreed upon IEP” that was signed which placed him in that school.

  24. If an IEP expired and the proposed IEP was rejected in full and a “stay put” is effectively in place, what would be the date for the new IEP once it’s agreed upon?

  25. If a student has an EPC (initial) conference after the administering of State (NY) exams, does the promotional modified criteria take effect immediately to prevent a hold over? The EPC conference was held June 7,2010, (before the state exam scores come in)

  26. Who can write a 504 plan? Can a private school administrator write the plan, and if so is there a standard template?

  27. RE: High School Students. Parents refuse or neglect to sign an IEP for no apparent reason after numerous attempts by the school to contact them including certified letter. Does the IEP and its services expire with the end date? Or simply continue on indefinitely? Or until we hold another annual IEP?

  28. I am desperately trying to figure out if once I write an IEP my daughter can get into school that same year, even if her third birthday is November when the cut-off for DC public schools is September 30th. Anyone know?

  29. Thank you for help. I did send a NICE not eto remind them of the services my son was to receive and was told that there is a shortage of OT’s in the area. They are trying to hire a new one and will start services when they hire one. I questioned the time he is missing and they said the time will be made up over the summer next year. Is this legal and who would then provide transportation? I am keeping track of the time he is missing.

  30. Kris: You ask if special education services are to begin on the first day of school. In most cases, the answer is “yes.”

    IDEA states that an IEP shall be in place for each child with a disability at the beginning of the school year. If you have a copy of “Wrightslaw: Special Education Law,” turn to page 102. About halfway down the page is “Requirement that Program Be in Effect” in bold. This is the exact legal language – no wiggle room.

    If services are to begin on a different date, this should written into the IEP so it is clear to everyone. Turn to page 100 of the special ed law book (Description of IEP Program). Subsection (VII) states that IEPs must include the projected date for the beginning of services … anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services …”

    The law does not include an exception for teachers and therapists to “get their times sorted out.” Any sorting out needs to be done before school starts (and should not take two weeks).

    But you need to handle this situation carefully and tactfully. Read the post, “Parents Not members of the IEP Team,” especially the part about how to use the Columbo Strategy at

    I think you should also write a polite letter expressing concern about the delays, the negative impact on your child, and asking when you child will receive the services s/he has missed. You must be polite and factual in your letter. ~ Pam

  31. Thank you so much for clarifying this; My sons IEP meeting was held in may only a few weeks prior to the end of the school year, his effective date on his iep is for may instead of september which is really when it was meant for. I’m going to bring this up to his team.


  32. Then are services to begin on the first day of school?

    Our school has had 2 weeks and no services have begun. The IEP date is the first day of school. When I questioned this I was told that the therapists and teachers were still working on getting their times figured out.

    Why put a date if they can wait until they are prepared to provide the services? My daughters high school teachers do not even know she she has an IEP. How long should you wait?

  33. 300.320(a)(2)(i)(ii) only requires goals for most students. Short-term objectives or benchmarks are only required for students “who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards”. This would not typically apply to students taking pre-calculus & 12th grade humanities courses. So there should be goals, but many times there is a very general goal that says the student will make progress in the general curriculum, i.e, pre-calculus & humanities. Elsewhere the IEP should address modifications, accommodations & supports that the student needs.

    SO, as mentioned above, IEP’s must indicate the period of time (no longer than one year) that the document covers. I do not see the end date as a time when services expire. Before this date another IEP must be written. If another IEP is not written by then, the school is in violation of the regulations. Pam or Pete would need to answer this, but the previous IEP should be followed until another one is written & agreed on.

  34. Our district has been putting expiration dates on IEPs on services such as OT, ABA, speech -using the child’s birthday or new school year. Parents have been signing IEPs unaware of their rights of stay-put. Is this legal? Does this waive the right to stay-put?

    How can you pick a day to terminate services without reviewing the progress and monitoring goals?

  35. When preparing for my son’s IEP, I was informed that goals and objectives were not written for students who were taking pre-calculus and 12th grade humanities (english) courses.

    Is this in fact correct? I don’t see anything that supports that in IDEA.

  36. Very good point that parents need to be aware of. Unfortunately, this practice (Spring IEP meetings) is common.

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