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Can a Student Have Both an IEP and a 504 Plan?

By Lindsay Jones, JD

Question: I’m so new to all this and am trying to understand what my options are. Is it possible for my child to have both an IEP and a 504 plan?

Answer:

It’s possible to have both an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and a 504 plan, but it would be unlikely for your child to need both.

Here’s why: Everything that’s in a 504 plan can be included in an IEP. The IEP can also provide services and supports that would not be available in a 504 plan. So if your child qualifies for an IEP, typically there is no reason to also have a 504 plan.

That said, there are two situations in which some schools might offer both to a student.

First, a school might want to create a separate 504 plan if a student who has an IEP has a temporary injury, like a broken hand. The student might need some writing for a few weeks. If so, the school might decide to put those temporary accommodations in a 504 plan rather than adding them to the IEP.

Second, even if a child has an IEP, some schools create a separate 504 plan for any medical conditions that don’t directly impact academics. One possible example is a peanut allergy.

But generally a child would not have two plans. It can take a lot of time and energy to manage even just one plan.

The big question is this: Does your child meet the eligibility requirements for an IEP? If she does, then everything she needs should be covered by the IEP.


Explore more IEP basics in this comprehensive guide. See a chart that compares IEPs and 504 plans. And if your child already has an IEP, find out what to do if you’re concerned the IEP isn’t working.

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