SSES Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Below are the most frequently asked questions. If you have a question not on this list, please contact us at ssesinfo@tea.texas.gov.

 

 

 

 

SSES Eligibility and Application

 

What are Supplemental Special Education Services?  

The Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) program makes online accounts available to eligible parents of students with disabilities who have been impacted by COVID-19 school closures and remote learning.   SSES goods and services are offered to support additional educational progress for students who, because of their complex needs and significant cognitive disabilities, have been among those most greatly impacted by school closures and remote learning.  Eligible families can use the online accounts to obtain goods and services up to the dollar value in the account which will supplement and bolster services a child is already receiving in school. 

Regardless of whether a student with a disability receives SSES, the student’s school must still meet all federal and state special education requirements to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student, including the determination of whether the student requires compensatory services because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In other words, SSES goods and services are offered above and beyond what is required by a student’s school to ensure that the student receives a FAPE.

 

Where can I find more help? – NEW April 2021 

  • FACTS is providing support for the SSES application, and you can get live help filling out an application at 844-649-2921.
  • ClassWallet is the online marketplace and where you will pay service providers.  If you need assistance or need to cancel an order, you can call them at (877) 969-5536 or email them at help@classwallet.com.
  • For general special education questions, please contact SPEDTex at 1-855-773-3839, inquire@spedtex.org, or spedtex.org.
  • You can also reach out to TEA for specific SSES questions at SSESinfo@tea.texas.gov.
  • For specific purchasing questions, you can also reach out to SSESPurchasing@tea.texas.gov, please add your order number if you have a specific question regarding an order. 
  •  

Are students 18+ eligible for Supplemental Special Education Services?  

Possibly.   Students who meet these requirements are encouraged to apply:

  • They have not graduated, during the 2019-2020 school year or prior.
  • During their last STAAR test administration they took the STAAR ALT assessment.

 

How do I apply, and what proof of eligibility is required? 

To apply for the SSES program families will need to follow the application process outlined at TEA.Texas.gov/SSES.  Eligibility is based on primary disability and educational setting for students in Kinder through 2nd grade and STAAR ALT participation for students in 3rd through 12th grades.

  • You will need your student's 10-digit TEA unique ID (you can use their S-Number or SSN as well, though the 10-digit TEA unique is preferred). 
  • You will also need your tax documents from 2019. If you’ve already filed taxes for 2020, you can use this instead.  If you did not file, you can still apply. 

 

What is the value of an SSES account? 

$1,500 per eligible student for purchasing educational goods and/or services.

 

Who is eligible for an SSES account?  What are the specific requirements to qualify? 

Only students with an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be eligible, see eligibility criteria here.

 

Are students in private schools eligible? 

No. Students must have been enrolled in a Texas public school during the 2019-2020 school year and must currently be enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year.

 

Are accounts available per child or per family? 

Accounts are available for and funded per eligible student. As an example, a family with two students that qualify would receive funding in their online marketplace account for $3,000 — the combined amount.

When applying for multiple students, please do this using the same application. 

 

When is the application deadline?
The family application has been available since January 11, 2021. The application window will close June 30, 2021.

 

When will I find out if my child has been approved for an account?
All applicants will get an immediate email confirmation indicating their application has been received or that they need to submit remaining documents. 

Families will be notified within 30 days if they have been approved, placed on a waiting list, or do not qualify.

 

We received an email that says our student is not eligible for the SSES program. We believe that this is incorrect and have followed up with SSESInfo@tea.texas.gov. It seems like it is taking a long time to hear back. What is going on? – NEW April 2021
If your student is eligible, but you received an email stating your student is not eligible, a couple of things could have occurred. 

  1. The student ID that you provided doesn’t match with the student ID we have on record. For example, you submitted their SSN in the SSES application, but we have the student SNumber on file. Or, you submitted the SNumber and we have the SSN on file. Also, you could have mis-typed one or more of the ID numbers. If the ID doesn’t match our records, we do try to determine eligibility based on your student’s name, date of birth, and the school/district that they attended in 2019-2020. 
  2. Sometimes, the name you entered in the application doesn’t match the name on file (spelling or including a Jr. for example) or the date of birth doesn’t match, or the school/district doesn’t match. In these cases we determine that the student is not eligible. 

When we receive your follow-up email, we work to identify your student based on additional information and a detailed look at our records. We may ask you for your students 10-Digit Unique ID that is available from your District, or we may ask for additional IEP documentation. All of this can take time, plus once we determine your student is in fact eligible, you need to ensure that all of your tax documentation has been correctly submitted, or that you didn’t file. Finally, additional delays may occur due to the timing of SSES account creation. As noted elsewhere in the FAQs, it can take up to 30 days from when eligibility is determined to when you are notified and can access your SSES account.

 

Will there be a paper application submission process for families without internet access/technology? 

No. This is designed to be web-based. The system is compatible with mobile devices.

 

 

Using SSES Funds

 

How does a parent use the online accounts?
Once a parent account has been approved, parents will be able to log in to an online marketplace. Parents will be able to use the website to shop for and purchase educational goods and/or services online.

 

What services or goods are eligible for parents to obtain via their online accounts? – Updated April 2021
The SSES credit is for you to supplement your eligible student’s education with educationally relevant products, technologies, and/or services.  For example, you may want to purchase additional hours of occupational therapy for your student, or you may want to purchase educational products that fit your student’s needs, such as computer software or hardware.

All purchases will be reviewed by TEA.  Further justification on some goods and/or services might be requested.  It is recommended that families include justification on their original order submission. 

Only one tablet/iPad and laptop/computer will be approved per eligible student.  Further purchase guidelines can be found here [link: https://www.classwallet.com/texas-sses-paaa/].  If you are uncertain if an item is eligible or not, it is recommended that you either reach out to SSESinfo@tea.texas.gov or SSESPurchasing@tea.texas.gov with the item and justification so that TEA administrators can provide more information, or that you submit the item(s) in question in a separate order. Unfortunately, we do not have the capability to make line-item modifications to orders at this time.
 

 

A device that was purchased with SSES funds has broken or we’ve lost it, can we replace it? – NEW April 2021
Requests to purchase replacements for items that get damaged or lost are not usually approved. It is strongly recommended that when purchasing electronics, parents also purchase a warranty and a durable case (if applicable) for the item. Requests for replacement items will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and only granted in unusual circumstances.

All purchases are subject to the SSES Parental Acknowledgement and Agreement

 

How does a parent request an eligible good or service?
Parents will be able to select an approved service provider or eCommerce vendor within the online marketplace. Through the online system, parents will be able to directly order goods. They will also be able to confirm services have been received and authorize payment for those services. 

  • To request that a service provider be added to the marketplace, please have the service provider visit the Service Provider page.
  • To request an eCommerce vendor be added to the marketplace, please have the service provider visit the Vendor Information page.

Services cannot be purchased through the system from a service provider who is related to the student.

 

How can a parent submit an invoice for an eligible service provider?

When requesting the purchase of a service, please ensure that a clear and legible copy of the invoice is emailed to SSESPurchasing@tea.texas.gov alongside the order number. In addition, please ensure that the dates of service, service type, and service pricing are all visible in the invoice provided. If you are using SSES funds to pay part of an invoice, please highlight the relevant line items.

If you believe your invoice might be hard to read, you can also email it at SSESPurchasing@tea.texas.gov, please add you order number in the subject line or in the body of the email.

 

How long does payment of goods/service vendors take? 
Approval of purchases will take 5-10 business days. 

Parents will never need to pay upfront, as the online marketplace will transfer funds directly to the approved vendors/service vendors. However, if a purchase exceeds the allotted funds in the account, the accountholder will need to pay the remaining balance out-of-pocket upon time of purchase approval.

 

Must parents submit all receipts together for service provider requests, or should they be submitted incrementally once service is rendered?  
For services, parents will supply documentation, such as an invoice, indicating that the service has been rendered when they ask for the service provider to be paid. 

Parents order goods directly, and no receipts are required.

 

Can parents submit for retroactive services and expenses incurred since the April 2020 closure of their public school?
No. Services can only be purchased and received after a family establishes an account.

 

What are the deadlines for parents to use all funds in their online accounts?  

Parents must have submitted funding requests for eligible goods or services by December 31, 2021.

 

Can parents be reimbursed for goods and/or services? – NEW April 2021

No.  The SSES program is not set up for reimbursements for goods or services.  Families can only use the funds in their ClassWallet account to purchase goods and services from vendors approved for inclusion in the SSES program.  

If you see an article or other marketing materials from ClassWallet that refer to reimbursements, know that this isn’t a supported feature of the Texas SSES program.

 

Service Providers

 

How does a goods or service provider become an approved vendor?
Entities that sell eligible goods or services may submit an application to TEA to be considered as a vendor for the SSES program. TEA will determine if the goods or services provided are eligible and will ensure that these goods/services are provided at a negotiated cost. If approved, they will be added to the list of eligible vendors or service providers through the online marketplace. 

 

What if a parent cannot find their child’s current service provider or a service provider in their area? – NEW April 2021 

ClassWallet works as a way to pay for a service received, not to search for a service provider.  You can use this link to search for current service providers on the SSES marketplace.  

If you still do not see your service provider, you can ask them to sign up to be a service provider on the marketplace.  Service providers not on ClassWallet cannot be paid using SSES funds.

 

Can parents be reimbursed for goods and/or services? – NEW 2021 

No.  The SSES program is not set up for reimbursements for goods or services.  Families can only use the funds in their ClassWallet account to purchase goods and services from vendors approved for inclusion in the SSES program.  

If you see an article or other marketing materials from ClassWallet that refer to reimbursements, know that this isn’t a supported feature of the Texas SSES program.

 

Do public school teachers or service providers qualify to be SSES service providers? – NEW April 2021 

Yes, public school teachers and service providers do qualify to provide tutoring or supplemental services.  Both must apply to become a service provider using the correct credentials. 

SSES recommends that teachers and therapists do not provide SSES services to students on their current LEA caseloads and/or rosters. Doing so has the potential to lead to conflicts of interest between the family and their employer.

SSES recommends that teachers and therapists review relevant district and school policies as well as professional standards before applying and/or providing services.

 

Must tutors have a special education certification to provide services? 

Tutor - Core Subject: This category is for providers who have a valid Texas teaching credential or bachelor's degree or higher in the relevant content area. Examples of Core Subject Tutoring include but are not limited to: math, science, reading, language arts, social studies, or similar subjects. A copy of your valid and active Texas teaching credential is required. 

Tutor - Specific Subject: This category is for providers who have a valid teaching credential or bachelor's degree or higher in the relevant content area or demonstrable and verifiable experience. Examples of Specific Subject Tutoring include but are not limited to: physical education, swimming, driver's education, dance, music, art, drama, foreign language, martial arts, gymnastics, or yoga. A copy of your valid and active state teaching credential or a copy of your resume demonstrating verifiable experience and/or BA degree higher is required.

 

Is there a maximum per hour charge for services provided?

All invoices and receipts for goods and services are evaluated by TEA.  Vendors and service providers may be denied access if they are found to charge excessive rates.

SSES Contact Information
Contact Information

If you have additional questions or need help, email us at ssesinfo@tea.texas.gov or call SPEDTex at 1-855-773-3839.