We know about material funding and why we want to use it. Now we need to smooth the process.
Remember the basic steps:
- Have your Consultant fill out the Justification for Equipment and Supplies Form (CF0908).
- Wait for approval (recommended by the AFU, but not required)
- Send in the Reimbursement for Autism Expenses form (CF0926) along with original receipts
- As one parent pointed out, you can purchase the item first and send in the Reimbursement form immediately after sending the Justification form. It is not a requirement to receive the approval letter first
If the item in question is on the ineligible list or you think you are likely to be turned down, make an initial request and wait for the rejection from the AFU clerk. It’s only when you appeal the decision that it will go up the food chain to someone with more authority. The sooner you initially apply, the sooner you will be rejected and the sooner you can start the appeal process. Again this is a completely bizarre procedure, but here are a few things you can do on the appeal to smooth the way:
- Have a professional (Behaviour Consultant and/or Doctor) write a letter justifying why your child needs this piece of equipment or supplies
- Make sure your reasoning is sound and related to the autism program
To file an appeal simply write (or email) the AFU citing the rejection and outlining your reasons why it should be allowed. Cite any relevant research and include details you feel are appropriate.
The AFU stipulates that the reimbursement forms must be received within 6 months of the date of purchase to be considered. It’s OK for them to drag their feet and delay payment, but heaven forbid you should save your paperwork and send it all in together for the entire funding year.
It’s very easy to completely lose track of your funding with all the forms, letters and receipts coming and going. I highly recommend that you have a tracking system in place to see how much of your funding you have left. Please don’t leave anything on the table. Your tracking system could be a spreadsheet or simply a piece of paper. Whatever it is, make sure you use it every time.
If you have been turned down for an item and your friend had it approved, you might consider asking them (nicely!) if you can quote their experience to the AFU.
A few other points to consider:
- The purchase date must be within the funding year (i.e. starting the month following your child’s birthday)
- Send in original receipts and make copies for your records
- Save at least a few months of receipts and send them in together to lessen the paperwork (keeping in mind that the reimbursement forms must be received within 6 months of the date of purchase)
That’s the end of the 3 part series on material funding. We would all like to hear your experiences by posting in the comments section. Anything that you can pass on would be greatly appreciated by other parents.