Transition-Planning Timeline: 17-21

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Age 17-21

As your child completes his or her last year of school, it is time to finalize the post-school plan. Listed below are important tasks to be done before completing school:

age 18

There are specific steps in the transition process that should be addressed at age 18:

Finalize the Post-School Plan

Work with your PAS/ISC agency to determine available funding and appropriate post-school programs. Ideally, plans should be made to allow time for the student to transition to new programs or services with collaboration between school staff and staff from the new program. Some items to consider include:

(These links will take you to earlier sections of the Transition Timeline, with more details on each:)

  • Residential placement / in-home supports
  • Employment
  • Day Programming
  • Recreation
  • Transportation: Your child may need transportation to and from a day program or job site each day and to other activities in the community. Some day programs provide their own transportation, others pay for participants to take paratransit, and others require the participant to arrange his/her own transportation. 

    Plan For Health Coverage

    Now is the time to investigate adult health insurance coverage. You should consider if and how long your child is eligible to remain on a parent’s health plan and the cost of this coverage. An adult with a disability with limited income may qualify for Medicaid even if he or she did not receive Medicaid as a child. An adult with a disability may qualify for Medicare if a retired parent or parent with a disability receives Medicare, or a deceased parent received Medicare. 

    Plan for post-school augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and/or assistive technology (AT) needs

    Devices funded by school districts are district property, and will likely need to be returned when a student finishes school. Funding for AAC and/or AT may be available through Medicaid or private health insurance. A report from a Speech Language Pathologist and prescription from a physician are typically required to obtain funding for an AAC device.

    • For more information, look at the AAC Institute’s funding page: 
    • Additional funding information may be available from the device manufacturer.

    Age of Majority / Transfer of Educational Rights

    The age of majority is the legal age at which someone gains adult rights and responsibilities and is no longer a minor. Educational rights transfer to the student at age 18 in Illinois. This means the student makes all of the decisions related to his or her education, such as being the primary person involved in developing the IEP, consenting to evaluations or change of placement, and even deciding if the parent may attend the IEP meeting. At least one year prior to reaching the age of majority, a statement of transfer of rights is given to the child and parent as part of the IEP. At the age of majority, other legal rights are transferred to the individual as well, including the right to make decisions about medical care, finances, and living arrangement. 

    Consider Legal Guardianship

    Parents’ guardianship over their child ends when the child turns 18. Some adults with disabilities may not be capable of making their own personal and/or financial decisions. A legal guardian can be appointed to make decisions for the person and handle his or her affairs. 

    To find out more, see these resources from the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission (IGAC):

    Apply for Medicaid

    Medicaid is a health care insurance program for people with limited income. Enrollment in Medicaid is necessary for funding and entrance to many adult residential and day programs (Home and Community Based Services Waiver programs). 

    Explore SSI

    At age 18, the individual’s financial resources are evaluated, not the family’s, regardless of guardianship status. Individuals who did not qualify for SSI as children, may qualify as adults if they have limited income. In order to receive SSI, you will need to file an application and provide documentation of eligibility.

    • To contact the Social Security Administration to make an appointment, call:  1-800-772-1213
    • For more information, go to the Supplemental Security Income Home Page:

    Register for Selective Service

    Males must register for selective service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Although it is highly unlikely that an individual with a significant disability would be asked to serve in the military, failing to register could affect eligibility for certain government programs or benefits

    Register to Vote

    Illinois residents may register to vote if they are 17 years old on or before the date of the Primary Election and turn 18 on or before the date of the General Election. The state of Illinois has no law prohibiting people from voting based on guardianship status or disability.