Step 1: Find out if you’re eligible
Individuals must meet the functional criteria of having a developmental disability. In general, individuals must document that they have a chronic physical and/or intellectual disability that manifests in the development years, before 22, is lifelong in nature and substantially limits the individual in at least three areas of life activity:
To receive DDD services an individual must:
Remember: An individual can apply for DDD services at 18 years of age and older, but can’t utilize the service until the age of 21. If an individual is found eligible but under 21 they can receive services through the NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Step 2: The Application
Individuals must be 18 or older to apply for Division services. Individuals who meet functional criteria must also be 21 years of age and *Medicaid eligible before they can begin receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
When you apply, remember to add all available documents to the intake packet. These could include:
Legal Documentation of Age, US Citizenship, NJ Residency
Photocopy of ONE of the following:
Other necessary documents:
Step 3: Medicaid
An individual applying for DDD services must become *Medicaid eligible. The process to apply for Medicaid may take some time and should start as soon as an individual turns 18. If an individual receives health insurance through a family member they can remain on that insurance, but must still become Medicaid eligible. There are several ways to become Medicaid eligible:
*There is an exception to the Medicaid requirement, which is applicable to a small number of individuals with I/DD. A relatively small number of school-age youth with I/DD are NOT able to obtain SSI or Medicaid at age 18 because a parent has retired, become disabled, or died before the student was able to apply for SSI. DDD developed the term "Non- DAC" to describe individuals with I/DD who are eligible for an exception to the requirement of having Medicaid before they can receive DDD services.* ( For more information the "Non-DAC" fact sheet can be found under Medicaid Resources
Step 4: New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJ CAT)
The New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJ CAT) is a mandatory needs-based assessment used by DDD as part of the process of determining an individual’s eligibility to receive funded services.
The Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute (DDPI) of Rutgers University conducts the NJ CAT assessment on behalf of DDD. It can only be completed in one of two ways:
Online is BEST! Families and professionals have indicated that the online method is the preferred method as it allows them to complete the NJ CAT at their convenience, without time limits and with the ability to save their progress and revisit the site at another time. The online version also allows families the opportunity to seek input from other members of their support team.
The NJ CAT Assessment has two main components, Functional Criteria Assessment (FCA) and Developmental Disabilities Resource Tool (DDRT).
FCA evaluates an individual’s abilities in the following seven areas:
DDRT evaluates an individual’s abilities. It is a tool that makes sure people with similar needs have the access to similar levels of support.
To ensure that your information is up to date for completion of the NJ CAT, or to request the NJ CAT be completed, visit bit.ly/ddpiassessment or you can contact DDPI by phone at 732.640.0730.
Required Information to complete the NJ CAT:
To request a copy of the completed NJ CAT, contact your Support Coordinator, Case Manager or DDD Intake Worker.
Results from the NJ CAT establish the tier to which an individual is assigned. The tier is associated with a corresponding individualized budget.
Please Remember: once you submit the assessment, you cannot go back and make changes.
STEP 5: Choosing a Support Coordination Agency
What is a Support Coordination Agency?
A support coordination agency is a DDD funded service that assists individuals in gaining access to programs and state services.
What is a Support Coordinator?
Support Coordinators play an important role in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. They are professionals who help identify supports and individual needs, help the individual plan for the life he/she wants, and connects the individual to services that will help him/her achieve a quality life in the community.
Once an individual becomes eligible for DDD services, the individual may choose a Support Coordination Agency to work with or DDD will auto assign an agency to the individual looking for support. **If you are auto assigned but unhappy with the assignment, you may fill out a new selection form and choose a different agency.**
Timeline For Individuals Graduating From School:
In the month of March before an individual graduates from high school, families and guardians should complete the Support Coordination Agency (SCA) Selection Form.
In the months from April to June a service plan is developed. The Support Coordinator will be responsible for writing the Individualized Service Plan, (ISP) with guidance from the planning team which includes the:
The ISP should be completed and approved prior to exiting the school system in order for services and supports to be available upon graduation. Please remember you can always change agencies but because the rate for Support Coordination services are determined monthly, an individual must commit to a calendar month of services from an agency before they make a change.
Please Note: If an individual is over 21 and found eligible for DDD services, he or she can fill out the Support Coordination Selection form immediately after completing the NJ CAT assessment.
Support Coordination Resources