The good news is that LISS funding has managed to survive sequestration and Federal budget cuts thus far. While this is really good news, the bad news is that demand for LISS funds has ramped up dramatically. In fact, the application volume for LISS grants was so high in the early days of the new fiscal year that began on July 1, 2014, that the ARC of Montgomery County announced on July 10th that with the exception of the Eastern Shore, no more grant applications would be accepted from Maryland residents because the Maryland agencies outside of the Eastern Shore which are authorized to approve LISS funding requests had already received so many applications that they will probably exhaust all of the funds allocated to these agencies for Fiscal Year 2014.
On July 31st, the outbound voice message of the LISS administrator for the ARC of Montgomery, Carolina Harp, stated that ARC had processed 180 applications to date, and is now in the process of notifying families of the agency’s funding decisions. In her message, Harp states that all of these applications were received on the very first day of FY2014, July 1st. On this first day of the new fiscal year, several applicants were already standing in line at ARC’s Rockville location by 6 a.m. in the morning. A short time later, multiple staff members began to canvass the line to dispense numbered tickets and review the applicants’ paperwork to identify missing items and inform them of the deadline for getting missing documents to ARC.
These days, a parent of children with special needs will have to “step up his/her game” dramatically in order to be successful when applying for LISS funding. Taking these steps will position applicants for success:
- Go through the LISS agency’s checklist of required documents to be sure that you have them all, and secure any missing ones well before the fiscal year begins.
- Whether or not the checklist includes an invoice, be sure to include an itemized invoice which includes detailed descriptions of the products and/or services to be rendered.
- Whether or not the checklist includes a medical recommendation, be sure to include one from a physician who is not affiliated with the designated provider of products or services.
- Be standing in line at the LISS agency (with application in hand) no later than 6 a.m. on the first day of the fiscal year, July 1st.
- If the preparer of the application is unable to personally deliver the application to the agency, the preparer must make sure that the designated courier (whether professional or volunteer) knows which items are included in the application packet and can accurately respond to staff’s questions about the documents and the applicant.