Special education basics

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

By Lindsay Jones

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?

Lindsay Jones

Vice President and Chief Policy & Advocacy Officer, National Center for Learning Disabilities

It’s possible to have both, but it would be very unusual for your child to need both.

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

One instance in which a school might want to create a separate 504 plan is if a student who has an IEP breaks her hand. She might need some accommodations for a few weeks because she can’t write while her hand is in a cast. If so, the school might decide to put those temporary accommodations in a 504 plan rather than adding them to the IEP.

But typically a child would not have two plans. Frankly, you wouldn’t want both. 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 can be covered by the IEP.

About the Author

Portrait of Lindsay Jones

Lindsay Jones is vice president and chief policy and advocacy officer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

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