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Disability Resources in New Jersey

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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Every year on December 3rd, the Day of People with Disabilities is celebrated internationally. This year’s theme is “Not All Disabilities Are Visible” and will focus on spreading awareness around conditions our friends, family members, colleagues, and peers may be living with, in silence. Some of these conditions could include mental illness, hearing or vision impairment, cognitive disorders, and more. Read on to discover resources for those with liabilities in New Jersey.

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A Brief Breakdown of Disability Stats

According to recent studies, just under 1 million people in the state of New Jersey are living with at least one disability — with about 8% of that number being working-age adults. While living with a disability has its own challenges, COVID-19 has shown further obstacles.

According to the Center for Disease Control, citizens with certain types of disabilities such as being confined to a wheelchair, those with communication disabilities, and more may be at higher risk of contracting the virus or not getting early treatment. While the outlook for those with a disability may look challenging at times, this resilient community is not letting their hardships get in the way.

During this time of social distance and even isolation, disabilities can take on even more of a toll. This Day of People with Disabilities, we are bringing awareness to the conditions that those around us may be facing, empower those with disabilities, and educate the community at large on resources available. Read on to learn more about some resources right here in New Jersey for this community.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services {222 S Warren Street, Trenton}

Being sure basic rights as an American citizen are being upheld can sometimes prove to be a challenge for those living with disabilities. The New Jersey Department of Human Services ensures this is not the case. By ensuring access to quality programming, services that meet the variety of needs faced by those living with a disability, employment and housing opportunities, health care, and more, this organization meets the needs of those in this community as well as their caretakers.

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There are several divisions under this NJDHS including Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund, Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Disability Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Division of Mental Health Services, and Good Neighbors, Community Living for People with Disabilities. As stated, each division provides resources for those experiencing different disabilities.

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Disability Rights New Jersey {210 S Broad Street, Trenton}

The Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) is a private, non-profit organization created to support the needs of those living with disabilities and their caretakers in various ways. First, this organization advocates for the civil and legal rights of citizens who are disabled in New Jersey. Additionally, their work is aimed at building awareness around disabilities, assisting with legal protection of the disabled and their family, and providing educational resources including training and technical assistance. During COVID-19, the offices are still accessible for resources through phone and email. To stay up to date with COVID protocol and to learn more about this organization, visit their newly renovated website here.

Aging and Disability Resource Connection

The Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC NJ) is a direct resource for information on long term services and support no matter the income level. The main mission of ADRC NJ is to empower those of the aging and disabled populations to make informed decisions when it comes to areas of support such as counseling, full care needs, publicly and privately funded services, support agency help, and more. Even for those who are aware assistance of some sort is needed but don’t know where to start, feel free to connect with this center and a representative will be there for help. For all the services and resources available, especially for this population that is predisposed to COVID-19, check out their website.  

Disability Services & Advocacy, LLC {PO Box 395, South River}

For those living with a disability, a variety of obstacles could get in the way. The Disability Services & Advocacy, LLC has made its mission to help those living with a disability achieve this goal a bit easier. By empowering this community to be independent, be involved with the community, and self-advocate, they can work towards achieving personal goals. This organization is one of the largest support coordination agencies under the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities. Connect with this group for empowerment and services here.

New Jersey Work Incentive Network Support (NJWINS)

The NJWINS is a member of the Family Resource Network, an organization that provides over 50 types of programming for residents of NJ living with conditions such as epilepsy, autism, mental and physical disabilities, and chronic illness. NJWINS assists Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries to start, continue, or increase work efforts while maintaining benefits for as long as they are needed. Navigating this process alone can be difficult as there are a number of different steps, papers, and programs however, NJWINS will walk through the various work incentives of SSI and SSDI. To learn more about the programs and services available, visit their site.

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New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities {20 West State Street, Trenton}

As stated previously, not all disabilities are visible. The NJCDD is working to ensure disabilities both seen and unseen are cared for and that those experiencing these disabilities feel empowered. The NJCDD is closing in on their 5-year plan that was committed to back in 2017 and will run through 2021. The plan is focusing on key points including, but not limited to employment, transportation, housing, direct support staffing, and self-advocacy. Learn more about their 5-year plan, special programs, and COVID updates here.

St. Joseph’s School for the Blind {761 Summit Avenue, Jersey City}

For nearly 130 years, the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind has served as a key resource in New Jersey for students who are visually impaired. Students have access to sensory learning and skill developmental tools such as technology enrichment centers, speech therapy rooms, music and art facilities, a full gym and cafeteria, and more. As students grow older, this school provides support areas and tools to allow students to go on and live a more independent life. They are taught practical living skills in a full ADA compliant kitchen and model living spaces. Key resources for the school are made possible from generous donors. To learn more about the school as well as ways to give back, click here.

The Arc of New Jersey {985 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick}

COVID-19 has brought on specific challenges for those living with a disability as well as their caretakers. Lack of social interaction, limited physical touch, and going into the unknown can be very traumatic for those in this community. Even through this time, The Arc of New Jersey has kept its promise of advocating for and serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Some of their programmings includes hiring services for those who are disabled, transition services to ensure ease of life from school to adult life, self-advocacy, and more. Information on their programming as well as ways the community can donate to their services is found on their website.

New Jersey Institute for Disabilities {10A Oak Drive, Edison}

 =For over 6 decades, the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities has served those with disabilities. During that time, they have become the largest agency of its kind in NJ providing a range of care options and tools for daily living. Their mission statement shares their dedication to multifaceted programming for those with intellectual, development, and related disabilities as well as their families and the community at large. Programming is available for both children and adults with those from all backgrounds and statuses welcomed. Learn more about the various programs and ways to get involved here.

Developmental Disabilities Association of New Jersey {40 Woodbridge Avenue, Sewaren}  

The Development Disabilities Association of New Jersey has been operating as a non-profit benefiting the personal growth and development of those with disabilities since 1979. They have been able to live out their mission by advocating for supportive services and programs that enhance self-sufficiency and individual growth. The DDANJ also has a program that works with businesses that are open to a more inclusive workplace to place employees living with disabilities at work. For more information on the organization, ways to give back, and to learn more about employment opportunities click on this link.


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