Age Related Concerns

Eligibility Day and Vocational Services Service Rights Self-Directed Services Service Planning Waiting Lists Services Overview Financial Contributions Residential Services and Support Services Checklist Services in the community operated by or funded by DDD include: These services are based upon need and the availability of resources. Preference is shown to supporting individuals in their own family environments whenever possible. As an individual becomes more independent and capable services are adjusted as needed. Use is made of Division programs as well as generic community resources and entitlements to meet the individual’s needs. Community Services staff can assist in the development of an individual plan tailored to each eligible person’s particular needs and abilities.Services funded by DDD are available to New Jersey residents ‘eligible’ for DDD supports.  Community Services staff evaluate applicants through the regional office intake units of DDD. To qualify for DDD services, an individual must meet the federal definition of developmental disability: a disability which is attributable to a mental or physical impairment (or a combination of mental and physical impairment) that is apparent before age 22, is lifelong and substantially limits the individual, before the age of 22, in at least three of the following areas: self care, learning, mobility, communication, self direction, economic self-sufficiency and the capacity to live independently. Developmental disability diagnoses include autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spinabifida, and other neurological impairments. Persons not in need of immediate services may still apply for eligibility.To apply for DDD services, families should contact DDD to request an application (regional offices are listed in our Government Section.) Once an application has been submitted, DDD must send a response letter indicating its determination of eligibility. If specific services, such as residential services, are requested, families may receive a letter advising them of the status of the request. Back to top The nature of a person’s right to DDD services is more complicated than in the special education system. In special education, a student with a disability is immediately entitled to receive services specified in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) regardless of cost.  Unlike a local school, DDD is allowed to establish waiting lists for services.  Therefore, even when an individual is eligible for services, DDD can require that a person waits for services.  There are exceptions – for instance, DDD must provide immediate residential services when an emergency exists. There also are entitlements to DDD services under certain conditions: Once DDD agrees to provide services (such as when an individual reaches the top of the waiting list), it must provide services that meet stringent legal standards.  Under the New Jersey Developmental Disabilities Rights Act (N.J.S.A. 30:6D-1, et seq.), services must maximize developmental potential and be delivered in a manner and setting that are least restrictive of personal liberty.  These standards apply to both day and residential services. A 1994 decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court illustrates how the law works:          B.F. was a 21 year old man with autism.  School funding for his residential placement in New England was ending.  DDD agreed to serve him, but for reasons of cost, proposed placement in a state institution.  The record demonstrated that B.F. would regress in an institution, and that it did not meet the requirements of his transition IEP, which DDD helped develop.  The Supreme Court concluded that cost could not be a factor if the client would regress without proper services and ordered DDD to find the out-of-state placement.Back to top

” “The Individual Habilitation Plan (IHP) – State law requires that guardians, family members, DDD staff, service providers (e.g., day program or group home staff), and, to the extent possible, the person being served by DDD, work together to develop an annual IHP, regardless of whether the individual currently is receiving specialized services from DDD. The purpose of the IHP is to establish goals and objectives that will enable the person with a disability to maximize his or her developmental potential in the least restrictive environment. Federal law recognizes that families are the “primary decision makers regarding services.” The IHP can be used as a long-range planning tool to guide the individual to a specific program. The IHP also can be used to obtain other types ofservices such as respite care, family support cash stipends, summer camp stipends, and financial assistance for securing guardianship through a private attorney. The Essential Lifestyle Plan (ELP) is the plan of care document that is used in place of the IHP when an individual chooses “self-directed service options”. This planning document was created to be more person-centered and strength-based than the traditional IHP document. Just as in the IHP process, there is training that is presented as an introduction to the philosophy of person-centered planning in order to assist in effectively participating in the writing and implementation of the ELP. Prior to the development of the written plan, DDD provides training to families on the ELP planning process in order for families to be an active partner in the writing of the ELP. Back to top Case Management assists in the individualized planning of services to meet the person’s needs and abilities. DDD assigns a case manager to each eligible person to help identify, access, and coordinate services. Family Support is a coordinated system of services, resources, and other assistance for families caring for individuals with developmental disabilities who live at home. Services include, but are not limited to, in-home and out-of-home respite, cash stipend, assistive devices, recreation and social programs. The Family Support Act of 1993 expanded the list of services to include any service defined by the family. Funding is typically modest and subject to waiting lists.   Contracted Professional and Support Services can help meet acute and regular health care needs including medical specialties and dentistry.  Certain legal services, integrated therapies, and case management also may be available through the Division.  Professional Supports include a DDD staff of psychologists, nurses, behavior management specialists and other professionals who can assist in meeting the social, medical, vocational and training needs of individuals. This can include referrals, the development of behavior management plans, and additional training to providers, families and staff. Guardianship Services are available, if needed, to protect the rights of an adult with a developmental disability and ensure that care and treatment are appropriate. DDD can refer to the Bureau of Guardianship Services for a state-appointed guardian, or provide a process for the appointment of a family member to serve as guardian. Back to top Adult Day and Vocational Services are designed to provide an opportunity for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities to earn wages or become part of their community through work, volunteerism, and social participation. Services include: Supported Employment Services are designed to assist persons in obtaining and maintaining competitive employment in the community. The individual receives on-the-job training from a job coach until proficiency is achieved. Follow-up or support services are provided as long as necessary. Adult Training Services train individuals in personal, vocational, social, and community-living skills. Crew Labor Programs train individuals to work on supervised, mobile work crews that are available for hire, specializing in service areas such as maintenance and landscaping. Extended Employment (Sheltered Employment) provides long-term employment within a private facility. Programs specialize in contract work such as packaging products, stuffing envelopes and collating literature, secured through local businesses, paying per piece or below minimum wage. DDD selectively provides funding for individuals in need of extended employment, and who do not meet DVRS’ criteria for continued workshop employment. Back to top DDD funds most residential programs for adults with autism in New Jersey. There are a variety of community-based residential programs and residential supports for those in emergent need of housing or incapable of living with family. Services include: Skill Development Homes provide care and training for an individual who lives in the home of a trained provider, and who implements a formal training program developed with and supervised by the DDD case manager. Family Care Homes are similar to skill development homes, but are available for individuals who are more independent than those who reside in skill development homes. The provider offers room, board and supervision. Group Homes are households typically shared by six or fewer individuals. Supervision and training are provided by a house manager and trained staff.   Supervision is generally provided around-the-clock. Supervised Apartments are occupied by one or two individuals and monitored by a trained staff person who regularly visits and may live in the same complex. In some unique situations, a supervised apartment may have live-in staff. Supportive Living refers to arrangements for individuals who receive support services such as training and tutoring, and need access to on-call assistance 24 hours a day. Back to top Self-Directed Services is an umbrella term that describes services that are guided by the individual with a disability and his or her family.  Real Life Choices (RLC) is one such self-directed service in New Jersey. Individuals become eligible for RLC when they reach the top of DDD’s priority waiting list for residential services. At that time, the individual is assessed and assigned to one of four levels of monetary support (ranging from $14,000 to $63,000 annually) based upon need. The individual and family may then use these funds to purchase their own services based on their individual budget and Essential Lifestyle Plan.  Click here to see a copy of the ELP. DDD uses support coordinators as the case manager in self-directed services. Support coordinators are trained in Essential Lifestyle Planning in order to assist families in planning and implementing services. Back to top Residential Services DDD’s regulations stipulate that DDD can assign people to waiting lists when services are not immediately available. Currently, several thousand people are on the various waiting lists for residential services. There are three categories: “Priority” is the top category and is for people who meet any ONE of the following criteria: The “Priority” category is the only waiting list that actually places people. “Priority-deferred” is for people who want residential services but do not meet criteria for “Priority.” “General” is essentially a “registry” for people who do not want residential services in the near future. Day Programs and Vocational Services DDD also use a waiting list for adult day services. DDD regulations permit a person to be placed on a waiting list for day services five years prior to graduation. Therefore, for families of school-age children who have planned well, a waiting list should not be a problem. However, for individuals who are still on a waiting list upon graduation at age 21, it may be illegal for DDD to refuse immediate services despite its waiting list, particularly if serious regression is likely. Back to top DDD currently requires individuals who receive DDD residential services or supports to contribute approximately 75% of their Social Security benefits and other unearned income, as well as 30% of their wages. DDD allows individuals to retain more than 25% of unearned income to pay for guardianship and “extraordinary needs” such as excess shelter costs, “unavoidable” medical costs, replacement costs of personal items, an irrevocable funeral trust, and costs of moving into an independent living arrangement. DDD also will seek reimbursement for residential services from an individual’s assets. Parental income by law is not subject to collection unless the individual is under age 18 and in a residential program funded by DDD, and the parents are under age 55. Back to top For contact information for your local DDD office, click here. Visit DDD’s website to get more information about DDD services.