UNCLASSIFIED (U)

3 FAM 3280

SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION ALLOWANCE

(CT:PER-949;   06-27-2019)
(Office of Origin:  DGHR)

3 FAM 3281  Authorities

(CT:PER-949;   06-27-2019)
(Uniform U.S. government civilian employees in foreign areas)
(Applies to Foreign Service & Civil Service Employees)

The authorities cited for this subchapter are:

(1)  5 U.S.C. 5924 (4)

(2)  Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR), particularly Chapters 270-276.8, Child with Special Needs

3 FAM 3282  General 

(CT:PER-949;   06-27-2019)
(Uniform U.S. government civilian employees in foreign areas)
(Applies to Foreign Service & Civil Service Employees)

a. The Special Needs Education Allowance (SNEA) is an education allowance to assist employees who have children with special educational needs. The allowance assists with defraying necessary expenses incurred in order to provide adequate special education for employees’ children when those expenses are not otherwise compensated and when they are incurred in the course of employees’ service in a foreign area.

b. Education allowances are governed by the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR), particularly DSSR 270. 

3 FAM 3283  Eligibility

(CT:PER-949;   06-27-2019)
(Uniform U.S. government civilian employees in foreign areas)
(Applies to Foreign Service & Civil Service Employees)

a. SNEA applies to children who, if they were attending school in the U.S., would be entitled to benefits under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. These benefits accrue to children with a physical, emotional, developmental, and/or mental disability when they require additional educational resources.

b. At the request of an employee with a child with special needs requiring additional education and related services, the authorizing officer may grant SNEA in lieu of the school-at-post, home study/private instruction, or school-away-from post rate. This benefit is available from birth to the child’s twenty-first birthday (or, in the case of a child with special needs who has not yet completed grade 12, until the end of the school year that is in progress when the child reaches the age of 22).  If an employee later chooses not to receive SNEA for a particular overseas assignment and use another educational allowance instead, he/she may do so.  This does not preclude reapplying for SNEA at a later date.

c.  Educational allowances, including SNEA, are not available for 1.) children who reside in the United States and have a natural or adoptive parent or step-parent who is residing in the United States (except where the employee establishes that the parent residing in the United States is divested of legal custody of the child or is mentally or physically unfit to care for the child or the step-parent is estranged from the employee); or 2.) on whose behalf the employee is receiving a separate maintenance allowance.

3 FAM 3284  Required Documentation

(CT:PER-949;   06-27-2019)
(Uniform U.S. government civilian employees in foreign areas)
(Applies to Foreign Service & Civil Service Employees)

a. The employee must provide the authorizing official written evidence that the child meets the definition of a child with a disability under the IDEIA:

b. The child must have a formal Individual Education Plan (IEP) or equivalent document prepared by a professional medical or educational expert to be eligible for SNEA.  Recognizing the difficulties that arise when educating children with special educational needs overseas, it is the policy of the Department that authorizing officials be flexible as they determine the sufficiency of IEP-equivalent documents.

3 FAM 3285  Department of State Policy

(CT:PER-949;   06-27-2019)
(State)
(Applies to Foreign Service & Civil Service Employees)

a. The purpose of SNEA is to assist employees serving at posts abroad with obtaining for their children with special educational needs special early intervention, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary educational services, including such educational services as are provided in the United States under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, that public schools in the United States ordinarily provide without charge.

b. By assisting employees with the fulfillment of the educational needs of their children, SNEA encourages employees who have children with special educational needs to bid on and serve in foreign assignments.  It is in the Department’s interest to maximize employees’ ability to serve in foreign assignments. 

c.  International schools vary in their ability to match the support structure, special education environment, or services found in U.S. public schools.  For this reason, the Department should authorize SNEA as flexibly as possible in order to accommodate the unique and often challenging circumstances of overseas operating environments and foreign-area assignments.

d.  Ideally, special education services should be provided in a school setting as part of a child’s educational curriculum.  However, recognizing that educating children with disabilities in overseas settings often involves unique challenges, in circumstances when special education services cannot be provided directly in a school setting but are available as services offered outside school or school hours, or via the internet (e.g., online speech therapy), SNEA will cover special educational services required by the child’s IEP or equivalent which are provided outside of school and/or outside normal school hours, when consistent with the DSSR.  SNEA reimbursements may be made directly to employees who have used their personal funds for these services.  Parents may not be reimbursed for special therapeutic services that they personally provide, although, in accordance with DSSR regulations, they may be reimbursed for eligible Home Schooling expenses.

e.  Because most children of Department of State employees would be enrolled in one of the school districts of Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland if their employee parent were assigned domestically, school districts in these areas will generally be the point of reference when determining what special educational services are “ordinarily provided without charge by public schools in the United States.” Within this context, services named in a child’s IEP, or equivalent document, may be eligible to be covered by SNEA.

f.  SNEA is an education allowance. It is subject to other applicable legal authorities and policies that govern education allowances in general.

3 FAM 3286  THROUGH  3 FAM 3289  UNASSIGNED

UNCLASSIFIED (U)