Important Update for Graduates Aging Out of the School System
The Division is recommending that graduates in need of Division funded services enter into the system as soon as services are needed rather than waiting to be enrolled into the Supports Program once enrollment begins this July/Summer. Once enrolled into the Supports Program, the individual will have to select service providers that have completed the provider application process and become an approved Medicaid and DDD provider. While providers continue to submit applications and become approved, there are concerns that not enough providers have completed this process to ensure that individuals have a wide enough selection of providers at this time. The Division anticipates that provider capacity will build over the summer and individuals in the system will be able to shift into the Supports Program within weeks to months of entering the system this summer.
UPDATE: DDD Supports Program Quick Guide for Families
We are excited to share with you a new resource for families developed by the Divisionof Developmental Disabilities in collaboration with the Regional Family Support Planning Councils. The Supports Program Policies and Procedures Manual: A Quick Guide for Families can assist families in gaining a basic understanding of the Supports Program and its service benefits.
While this guide can be helpful for any family newly entering Division services and the Supports Program, it is particularly valuable for middle and high school students with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families.
For our Families
DDD Important Updates
As you may know, New Jersey’s service system for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, age 21 and older, has undergone and is continuing to move forward with a number of significant reforms. At the heart of these reforms is a strengthened commitment to ensuring the delivery of high quality services in the community that support and reflect individual choice.
As national best practices demonstrate, ensuring quality services is a process that begins with the measurement of key performance indicators. The National Core Indicators (NCI) is a national project whose purpose is to develop standard performance measures for state systems that provide services to adults with developmental disabilities.
The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities is excited to participate in the NCI project through utilization of three of NCI’s voluntary surveys. The Adult Consumer Survey is a face-to-face conversation between individuals receiving services and trained interviewers. The Adult Family Survey and Family/Guardian Survey, both of which are anonymous, are completed online (or via a paper version if necessary).
Invitations to complete the online surveys will be mailed by the Division to family members/guardians in early February, along with a National Core Indicators Overview. At the same time, Division staff will call randomly selected individuals to request their voluntary participation in a face-to-face interview.
If you are an individual who receives Division-funded services:
• You may receive a phone call in the coming weeks from a DDD staff person asking if you would be willing to participate in a face-to-face conversation about your experiences with the Division.
• If you choose to participate, we will schedule a time and place to meet that is convenient for you.
• While you will be talking with an interviewer face-to-face, your responses will be confidential.
• It is your choice whether or not you would like to participate, but please know we are very interested in hearing about your experiences with the Division!
If you are a family member/guardian of an individual who receives Division-funded services:
• You may receive a letter in the mail indicating you have been selected to participate in one of the NCI family surveys. THE MAILING WILL BE RECOGNIZABLE AS IT WILL BE PRINTED ON BRIGHT YELLOW PAPER, which will show through the window in the envelope.
• In this letter, there will be a web address (URL) where you will access the survey. This web address will be unique to you and cannot be shared. There will also be contact information if you prefer to request a paper copy.
• It is your choice whether or not you would like to participate, but please know we are very interested in hearing about your experiences with the Division!
If you are a Support Coordinator, Service Provider, Division staff, or other community partner, I ask for your support and assistance to:
• REMIND the individuals and families in your networks to expect a mailing on bright yellow paper with a link to one of the two surveys, and possibly a phone call to schedule an interview.
• EDUCATE the individuals and families in your networks about the importance of the survey.
• ENCOURAGE the individuals and families in your networks to participate in the survey!
Service providers and community partners should be aware that you may see individuals being interviewed by DDD staff at your locations.
The success of this survey project, and of any quality improvement strategies that may emerge as a result, is directly proportional to our ability to elicit thoughtful, honest participation by individuals and families.
Your participation, assistance, and support are greatly appreciated, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to improve Division-funded services for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities in New Jersey.
If you have questions or concerns about the surveys, please contact us by email at DDD.NCI@dhs.state.nj.us or by phone at 609.631.4626.
For a copy of the survey, click here.
System Change to Medicaid and Fee-for-Service
As of January 22, 2013 The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) officially adopted a new rule mandating MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY in order to receive services through DDD for adults age 21 and over. The rule adoption is also in preparation for DDD's Supports Program and move toward fee for service.
Individuals who are currently DDD eligible must obtain Medicaid eligibility or services may be discontinued. If you have questions regarding this information please contact your DDD case manager directly.
As we navigate through DDD's changes in funding and service options, it is critical that consumers and caregivers stay informed and connected. Please visit Abilities website frequently for updates and information.
Tier-Based Service Model and Release of Fee-for-Service Budgets Quick Reference Guide
The fee-for-service (FFS) tier-based service model will help the Division ensure that, in a system with finite resources, individuals with like needs receive like budgets with which to access services and supports to help meet those needs.
In the tier-based model in New Jersey:
- DDD-funded services will be accessed (1) through enrollment on one of two Medicaid waivers - either the Supports Program or the Community Care Waiver (CCW), and (2) will be funded based on an individual's assigned tier. Waiver eligibility and tier assignment are both based on assessed level of need as determined through completion of the NJCAT (NJ Comprehensive Assessment Tool)
- Each tier has a corresponding budget that is the same for the Supports Program or the CCW - except for the addition of an available budget component for "Individual Supports" for individuals enrolled on the CCW
- The FFS tier-based budget is used by an individual to access prior authorized FFS services and supports
- Some FFS services and supports have a corresponding tier-based reimbursement rate. When submitting a claim for tier-based services, a provider will bill at the rate that corresponds to the tier of the individual to whom the service was delivered. Other FFS services will be billed at a standard rate regardless of an individual's tier.
To assist individuals, families and providers, the Division has developed two quick reference guides:
Important System Updates and News from our CEO
The links below open a .pdf version of emailed updates. CLICK HERE to sign up for emailed updates
- CMW Renewal Listening Session & Family Advisory Council
- Next Phases of the Supports Program Roll Out
- Rutgers Boggs Center- Research Opportunity
- FFS Reference Guides & Webinar Information
- Live Supports Program Q&A Sessions
- NJ CAT Assessments and Supports Program vs. CCW
- NJ CAT Notifications & Tier Assignments
- CEO Message regarding DDD Services
- NJ CAT Re-Assessment Process
- Caregivers Conference hosted by United Way NNJ
- Results of DHS Public Comment Period regarding Statewide Transition
- New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool- NJ CAT
- DDD Reform Webinars, NJ CAT, Camp Funding
Stakeholder Clarification: Supports Program vs. Community Care Waiver (CCW)
In the Medicaid-based, fee-for-service system, individuals will access Division services through one of two Medicaid waiver programs – either the Supports Program or the Community Care Waiver (CCW). Individuals do not “choose” which waiver program to be enrolled in; rather, waiver program enrollment is based on an individual’s assessed needs and eligibility criteria.
Detailed information regarding these two waiver programs is/will be available in the program Policies and Procedures Manuals:
• The draft Supports Program Policies and Procedures Manual is available now on the Division’s website and the finalized version (based on stakeholder review and comment) is expected to be released soon.
• The draft Community Care Waiver Policies and Procedures Manual is currently being developed and is expected to be released for stakeholder review and comment soon.
The Division has recently conducted a series of webinars specifically dedicated to the new Supports Program. Please see the announcement above regarding a webinar the Division is offering in October that focuses on the Community Care Waiver.
NJ CAT Assessments
The NJ CAT (NJ Comprehensive Assessment Tool) is the Division’s new standardized needs-assessment survey that must be completed by all individuals who receive or are eligible to receive Division-funded services. For individuals currently living in a licensed residential setting, the NJ CAT survey will be completed by the residential provider. All other individuals and/or their guardians should have received a “Dear Participant” notification letter that included instructions about contacting the Rutgers Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute (DDPI) to request to complete the NJ CAT.
If you or an eligible individual in your care has not received notification, please contact the Supports Program Help Desk so that appropriate direction can be provided. While there is not a specific deadline by which the NJ CAT survey must be completed, it is important that it be completed as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition into the new system. (Please note that transitioning to the fee-for-service model is not optional and is required for any eligible individual who wishes to access or continue to access Division-funded services.)
Update on the NJ CAT Re-Assessment Process
The final batch of NJ CAT notification letters has now been distributed. (Notifications for individuals residing in licensed residential settings were distributed to residential providers). Please note that every individual who is eligible to receive and/or currently receiving Division-funded services must complete the NJ CAT (New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool). If you do not receive a notification regarding completion of the NJ CAT, please contact the Supports Program Help Desk.
As previously announced, in order to ensure that the Division has the most current and accurate information about individuals’ support needs prior to shifting into the new Fee-for-Service system, the Division is reassessing all individuals utilizing the New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJ CAT). Beginning in April and continuing through the end of summer, NJ CAT notification letters are being sent to individuals in phases.
IF an individual is:
(a) currently in the interim system (those who have entered DDD services starting in 2013, are in iRecord, have the new ISP, and have a Support Coordinator) –OR–
(b) currently receiving day services ONLY (and no other services, such as respite, family support, etc.) –OR–
(c) living in a licensed residential setting
THEN that individual (or the residential provider) should have received a notification letter to contact the Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute (DDPI) to request to complete the NJ CAT. (If you fall into one of these three categories and have not yet received a notification letter, contact the Division’s Fee-for-Service Help Desk at DDD.FeeForService@dhs.state.nj.us.)
Please note: it can take 1-2 weeks after contacting DDPI to receive a response with instructions for completing the NJ CAT online or by telephone.
Accessing Individual Tier Information
Tier Request Form to be Replaced by Auto-Generated Tier Assignment Letters
Effective September 1, 2016, the Division will disseminate an auto-generated tier assignment letter upon completion of the NJ CAT (NJ Comprehensive Assessment Tool), and therefore will eliminate the Request for Tier Assignment process established in June 2015. Mailing of tier assignment letters to individuals who have already completed the NJ CAT is expected to begin August 2016.
The tier assignment is based on the NJ CAT self-care, behavior, and medical scores. An individual budget amount that corresponds to the individual’s tier assignment becomes effective only when:
a) An individual enrolls in the Fee-for-Service Supports Program
b) An individual already enrolled on the Community Care Waiver (CCW) shifts into the Fee-for-Service system
Until an individual is enrolled or transitioned by the Division into the new Fee-for-Service system, the tier and the corresponding budget amount are not in effect.
Information about tiering and acuity is available in Section 3.4 of the Supports Program Policies and Procedures Manual. Information about individual budgets is available in the Fee-for-Service Individual Budgets: Quick Reference Guide.
The Division has begun the process of releasing tier assignment information to individuals/families who submitted a request to receive that information. If it has been 30 days or more since you completed the NJ CAT assessment, you may submit a Request for Tier Assignment Form by uploading the completed form to our secure online site or sending it via regular postal mail. Please see the form link and submission instructions below.
Once an individual has gone through the NJ CAT, he/she will be able to access his/her “tier” assignment (which is utilized to determine the budget level) by completing and submitting the Request for Tier Assignment Form (PDF document), which is also available on the Fee-for-Service Implementation page of the Division’s website.
Submit Online (preferred method):
1. Go to the secure site: https://secureupload.dhs.state.nj.us/su/
2. Enter Contact (Requestor’s) Name, Phone Number and Email Address
3. In the DDD SU Unit dropdown menu, please select “Request Tier”
4. Click Submit Tier Assignment Request
Submit By Mail:
NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities
PO Box 726
Trenton, NJ 08625-0726
Social Security Launches iAppeals- an improved online appeals process
Filing an appeal of your Social Security disability decision is easier and faster than ever. You can now upload documents online to support your appeal. This will help speed up the time it takes to receive a decision from Social Security. www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/appeal.html
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act
Signed in to law by President Obama, the The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability-related expenses. Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed, and account funds would generally not be considered for the supplemental security income (SSI) program, Medicaid, and other federal means-tested benefits.
Here are some key points you should be aware of:
- Eligible individual is someone who becomes disabled before age 26
- Each individual may only open one ABLE account.
- Individuals can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security. Once exceeding that limit, SSI benefits would be suspended but NOT terminated.
- ABLE accounts do not affect Medicaid.
- Up to $14,000 may be deposited annually into the ABLE account (annual gift-tax exemption limit).
- Each state must put regulation in place, and may regulate accounts differently from each other.
- Funds in the ABLE account can be used for qualified disability expenses such as: education; housing; transportation; employment training and support; assistive technology and personal support services; health, prevention, and wellness; financial management and administrative services; legal fees; expenses for oversight and monitoring; funeral and burial expenses; and any other expenses approved by the Secretary of the Treasury under regulations.
- Earnings and distributions from the ABLE account for qualified disability expenses would not count as taxable income.
H.R. 831 is a bill that if passed, will eliminate Section 14c of the FLSA, thus ending the opportunity for those with significant challenges to bring home a paycheck. If you support the full array of employment options for individuals of every level of ability, use the attached template and write to the President of the United States asking him to OPPOSE H.R. 831!
Ask Me! Campaign
Tell YOUR story and have YOUR voice heard…head on over to the Ask Me Campaign if you are a worker with disabilities, family member, friend, guardian or advocate – and Community Vocational Rehabilitation Programs are an important employment training option for you or someone you support. These programs provide the best preparation and assistance for securing and maintaining an integrated job in the community…always the first goal. They also provide employment opportunities in their own businesses that may not otherwise be available. Having a place to go to work, and knowing that you have contributed to the community provides everyone with a sense of dignity and pride. If you want to preserve options and choice, join the conversation on the Ask Me Campaign website. Your feedback and opinion is valuable and needed in order to help define the future of employment for people with different abilities. http://www.askmecampaign.org/