How to Navigate the Application & Legal Requirements for Support Coordination in New Jersey: 3 Factors

You and your family deserve a clear, straightforward explanation of the application, eligibility criteria and other legal requirements for support coordination and NJ DDD services. In this blog, we provide details on three important legal areas to resolve concerns for you and your family.

The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (NJ DDD) services are programs that help individuals with developmental disabilities lead fulfilling lives and participate in their communities to the fullest extent possible. A support coordination agency is required to access these services.

Family members seeking support coordination for their loved one often have questions about the application process and other legal requirements. In this blog, our goal is to clarify any confusion  you might have with the role of support coordination, so you and your family can confidently apply for and access these crucial services.

  1. Legal Requirements & Eligibility

Before applying for NJ DDD services, it’s important to make sure that your loved one is eligible. To qualify for New Jersey Department of Developmental Disabilities services, an individual must:

  • Have a developmental disability determined by the NJ DDD
  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Be a legal U.S. citizen and resident of New Jersey
  • Be eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid

Legal Documentation

 Individuals are required to provide legal documentation, such as proof of residency and medical reports, to establish their eligibility for support coordination. Before applying, collect the relevant documentation for each item in the list above, so that you have everything you need ahead of time. Make copies of relevant documents and have the paperwork ready to submit. This will make for a smooth application process.

  1. The Application Process

To initiate support coordination services, individuals typically start by contacting the New Jersey NJ DDD. This can be done through their website or by reaching out to their offices directly. You will need to fill out their application for determination of eligibility.


 Once the initial contact is made and the NJ DDD does a preliminary application review, they will schedule a time and location for the New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJCAT) – a mandatory placement assessment for those seeking NJ DDD services and support coordination.

The NJCAT evaluates the need for support in three main areas: self-care, behavioral, and medical. The results also establish the individual’s “support tier,” which determines the annual budget that will be allocated to that individual for services. A final review regarding the individual’s eligibility for DDD services will be made when DDD receives the NJCAT results.

Once a determination regarding the individual’s eligibility for DDD services has been made, a letter will be mailed to your family. It can take up to sixty days after the application and all required supporting documents have been received for a determination to be made.

Open, Respectful Communication

 Collaboration with NJ DDD is key during the application process. Communication channels will be established to ensure that all necessary information is exchanged and individuals will be kept informed about the progress of their application. Updates are typically provided via phone or email.

  1. Choosing a Support Coordination Agency

Once the NJ DDD application is approved, support coordination services can begin.

While a support coordination agency can be “auto-assigned” to you and your family, we recommend researching agencies near you and choosing one that you can trust and that best fits the needs of you and your family. Individuals have the right to make informed choices regarding their support coordination, which includes choosing their support coordinator and actively participating in the development of their Individual Service Plan.

When evaluating support coordination agencies, we recommend finding a group with similar values to you and your family, which is why it’s so important to research and seek recommendations from your community. You and your family will be working closely with a support coordinator from the agency that you choose, and it’s imperative that this relationship fosters confidence and trust.


 Once you choose a support coordination agency, your support coordinator will work with you to complete the Individualized Service Plan (ISP) and Person-Centered Planning Tool (PCPT). These planning documents are required by the NJ DDD. The goal here is to ensure your loved one has access to the special support they need in order to remain healthy, safe, and a valued member of their community.

The ISP identifies your loved one’s most important goals and outlines the appropriate services to help them reach their fullest potential. As their needs or goals change, the ISP can be changed, too. The plan typically includes information about:

  • Personal preferences
  • Medical history and current medical concerns
  • Communication preferences
  • Dreams and aspirations

Once these forms are completed, you, your loved one, and your support coordinator can begin planning next steps. This means your loved one can begin participating in services, sign up for different programs, and make the best use of resources in your community.

What Support Coordination Services Will My Loved One Receive?

There are plenty of services and programs that can be incorporated into your loved one’s life, according to their interests, preferences and goals. You won’t have to navigate these programs alone – an experienced and established support coordination agency will have the knowledge and connections to guide your family to the right resources.

Some examples of New Jersey resources include:

  • Community-Based Instruction
  • Person-Centered Approaches
  • Structured Learning Experience (SLE)
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) in the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of the application process, legal requirements, and associated rights is vital for individuals seeking support coordination in New Jersey. By navigating these aspects with knowledge and preparation, families and their loves one can access the support and services they need to lead more fulfilling lives.

Want to work with a trusted, reliable support coordination agency in New Jersey? Contact Skylands Family Support today.

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