Requires a Timeline of Available Services, Based on Age
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Bob Gordon that requires the state to provide clear information to families and individuals with developmental disabilities on available state and federal services and how to access them is now law.
“Families can find it extremely difficult to find and access the services that may be available to their loved one. This can lead to a delay of services to individuals who are eligible and create a great deal of frustration for families,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “The state has a responsibility to ensure that these programs are adequately publicized and accessible to New Jersey residents. By requiring a timeline to be developed that describes in detail the resources that are available, we will better ensure that we connect individuals to the services they need and that will contribute to the quality of life they deserve.”
“Navigating the various services and programs available for individuals living with disabilities can be an impossible task for families,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Creating a detailed timeline of the services provided by the state and local government, and making it available online, will help to simplify the process and connect residents to the important resources they need.”
The law (S-1041) requires that a timeline be developed that lists available services for an individual with a disability, by age or a range of ages, and steps an individual must take to gain the benefit of a state or federal program. The timeline will be developed through the coordination of a number of state departments. The commissioners of Human Services, Children and Families and Education will be required to post the timeline on their websites.
The timeline may include activities such as: applying for adult services for individuals with developmental disabilities; determining if guardianship is necessary and the type of guardianship services appropriate for the individual; applying for assistance from State or federal housing programs; applying for benefits from the federal Social Security Administration; applying for benefits under the “Personal Assistance Services Act”; if male, registering with the federal Selective Service System; applying for financial aid for admission to institutions of higher education; applying for employment or assistance with job searches; and contacting the Department of Transportation to learn about transportation services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
The bill was approved unanimously by the Legislature. The governor signed it into law today. The law takes effect on the first day of the seventh month following the date of enactment.