Accessing Services for Families with a Minor Child/Young Adult with a Disability

DDDGovernment Benefits for Disabled Adult Children

If you have a child born with an intellectual disability or become disabled before the age of 22, your child may be entitled to government benefits and services. These benefits include Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

For information about the government benefits your child is entitled to, call Hanlon Niemann & Wright and schedule a consultation with Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq.  You can reach Mr. Niemann at (855) 376-5291 or email him at

Services Available from Birth to Age 21

A minor child or young adult with a disability must be diagnosed with a physical or intellectual disability. At this point, financial eligibility is not a criterion but the family must apply for limited NJ Family Care.

Children are entitled to early intervention services until the age of 3. At 3, services transition to the school system. An eligible child is entitled to support in the classroom, and may be entitled to an extended school year, and services at home.

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Qualifying a Minor and Young Adult for Day Program(s)

The term “day program” is used to describe the different kinds of programming that families will access for the benefit of their family member with an intellectual disability.

Day programs can vary greatly in terms of how long they are each day and what they provide for your family member. Most of the time individuals with a disability will have some form of day programming which is usually available between Monday and Friday between 8 in the morning and 5pm. Individuals who are living at home with mom and dad or with siblings can also receive day programs.

Individuals who have a residential placement live in a supervised apartment. These individuals will most often also have a day program.

The day program your loved one attends will usually be selected by you and the state. Funding for these day programs is typically provided by DDD through a Fee for Service contract. This means that with the help of your Supports Coordinator, you can identify a program that you think might be appropriate for your loved one and then together with that Supports Coordinator work to see if you can fit that program into your loved ones DDD budget.

What is a Day Program? 

Day programs vary dramatically from program to program and organization to organization. Some day programs involve transportation, breakfast, programming in the morning, lunch, programming in the afternoon and then transportation home. Others are simpler. They may involve programming for a few hours in the morning or programming for a few hours in the afternoon and may or may not involve breakfast or lunch. Day programs are typically something that is appropriate for someone with an intellectual disability. Here in New Jersey, if your loved one is receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disability to the extent that they are capable of being trained to do some sort of work, they must receive training. This training may include something like a job sampling program. It may include job coaching. It may include something called a sheltered workshop or supported employment. It might also involve leisure activities like coloring or going to a store and working on things like life skills.

There are a number of different kinds of day programs available. The programs and services available depend on the area in which your child lives and your child’s level of intellectual functioning. Every person with a disability is different and what’s right for one family is completely wrong for a different family.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to work closely with your Supports Coordinator to select an appropriate day program for your child.

Children’s System of Care (“CSOC”)

CSOC assists families with a child experiencing emotional or behavioral health issues, intellectual or physical disability, and with substance abuse. Assistance is usually provided in the home, but occasionally involves a residential placement. All CSCO residential placements are temporary.

There are four major categories of services. They are:

  1. Behavioral Health Services are also available for individuals under the age of 21 with or without an intellectual disability and either (a) psychosis or (b) a history of behavior(s) which place themselves, a member of their family, or a member of their community in imminent danger of bodily harm.
  2. Substance Abuse Treatment for individuals under the age of 21. Individuals with a history of substance abuse who are under the age of 21 are entitled to detoxification programs, inpatient and outpatient care, and both short and long term care.
  3. In-home supports for children with Developmental Disabilities are provided by an entity called Performcare. Families have to apply for services. In home supports can range from assistance with activities of daily living in the home to respite.
  4. Homelessness Prevention services are available through the Adolescent Housing Hub (AHH) for individuals between 16 and 21, who are at risk of homelessness.
  5. Exclusions. OT, PT, and speech are provided through the IEP from the school district. CSOC isn’t childcare, and won’t act as a babysitter. Other available services include:

1.  Respite Care – Respite care is available for families with a child with an intellectual disability or a child with behaviors. After school respite, in home respite, and limited overnight respite is available. Respite is limited to 14 nights per 351 rolling day period.

2.  Home Modification – Some home modifications can be paid for with your child’s budget. They include things like widening a hallway, installing grab bars in bathrooms or on stairs, and adding a ramp.

3.  Assistive Devices – Some assistive devices can be paid for with your child’s budget. These are things like a wheelchair, walker, braces, etc.

4.  Vehicle Modification – It is possible to use your child’s budget dollars to pay to modify a vehicle to make it accessible or improve accessibility, by installing a lift or a ramp.

What is Supportive Employment?

“Supportive Employment” describes a job for someone with an intellectual disability where additional supports may be provided by either the employer or DDD or the Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services (“DVRS”) in order to help your child to secure employment and maintain employment. Supported employers include in the State of New Jersey, companies like Wegmans, Shop Rite, Goodwill and Marshalls among many others. Supportive employers can be large or small. For example, a supportive employer might be an employer who participates in a job sampling program. For example, a job sampling program is a program where individuals go to a series of different employers and attempt different skills. This can be as simple as folding napkins at a restaurant or working a cash register or collecting tickets at a movie theater or stocking shelves at a store or doing cleaning services like vacuuming and dusting, as well as doing archival services like scanning and shredding at an office.

Here in the State of New Jersey, if your loved one is eligible for Medicaid and DDD services, unless their intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities prevent them from working, they must at least attempt to work. Attempting to work doesn’t always mean that we hold a job right away. Sometimes in order to attempt to work we need to undergo years and years of job training and that’s okay. The important thing is the journey, not how long it takes. Job training can be provided through DDD or through DVRS. Under certain circumstances somebody can use their DDD budget to access job coaching. A job coach is someone who helps an individual with a disability to appropriately perform the necessary job skills in order to obtain and hopefully keep a job long term.

Do you have questions about day program(s)?  Call Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. personally today, toll-free (855) 376-5291 or e-mail him at  He looks forward to meeting with you.

Services for Disabled Adult Children

Did you pay into the Social Security System?  Do you have a child who was born with a disability?  Is your child over 18, and almost done with their educational entitlement?  Your child may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income based on a parent’s work history. If eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or “SSI”, they are eligible for Medicaid and may be eligible for services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Don’t go broke paying for in-home care and supports.  If your child was born with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Downs syndrome, or another intellectual disability, call Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. to learn what services they are entitled to.  Preserve your legacy after you are gone with a Supplemental Needs Trust.

SSI and Medicaid Appeals

Has the Social Security Administration refused to pay SSI for your adult child?  Has your child lost Medicaid?  Call Hanlon Niemann & Wright and fight to restore your child’s eligibility for the benefit programs you paid into.  Call Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. to schedule a consultation.  He can be reached toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at Our offices are conveniently located on Route 9 North in Freehold Township, NJ.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.