As a Support Coordination agency, we are here to help your family during these very difficult times. Your Support Coordinator is your main contact to getting services during this time. So please reach out. If you are a caregiver, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself and to have an emergency plan that you have communicated to the support coordinator so we can access emergency services as needed. 

We hope you and your family are safe and are receiving the supports you need to continue to stay safe. The Department of Health and Human Services has extensive information for a multitude of topics during the pandemic. Some of these topics include information regarding service modifications, residential moves, COVID-19 updates, mental health resources and information about Medicaid.

If you are living alone and need access to food there are several food pantries in each county to help those in need to access food. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your support coordinator if you are in need of assistance.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai   in NY has several helpful resources for individuals with special needs and caregivers to get through the emotions, and stress that the pandemic may cause. 

Prevention is the best medicine during this time. The most effective way we can all help is to limit our interactions with others per the CDC Prevention Guidelines.

For the individuals we serve who live at home it is recommended that you:

1.        Have enough food at home to reduce time in the community. NJ Food Pantries

2.        Have a safety plan if your or someone in your household gets sick. CDC Daily Checklist

3.        Remain calm and take care of your mental health. COVID-19 and Mental Health

4.        Maintain a structured daily routine that includes exercise. Home Workouts  , Health and Fitness
There are many ways the Supports Budget can help with additional services during this time. We have requested that the budget pay for internet service for individuals who wish to take online classes, transportation, adaptive equipment. There are also many financial assistance programs that your support coordinator can help access.  NJ 211 has texts updates you can sign up for and every day they connect people to community resources. You can also go to their website to find out more about COVID-19 testing centers and to listen to the governors daily briefing.

The CARES Act , COVID-19 Rent Relief
This was signed into law Mar. 27, 2020, and provides 120 days of eviction relief for tenants in federally-backed housing. Specifically, you may not be served with an eviction notice until July 25, 2020 and the notice must give you 30 days to leave the property.

DDD Rental Subsidies through Supportive Housing Connection
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and until further notice, new requests for Division of Developmental Disabilities rental subsidies through the Supportive Housing Connection (SHC) will be limited to those that are emergent in nature. Individuals who have already been approved for an SHC rental subsidy can proceed with their housing search. Please note that in all instances there may be delays in securing a unit inspection due to the current health care crisis.

Residential Moves and Provider-Managed Settings
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and until further notice, the Division of Developmental Disabilities is limiting placements/moves into provider-managed residential settings. At this time, and with the approval of the individual or their guardian, placements/moves can proceed in the following circumstances:

· The individual is homeless, in imminent peril or there is an otherwise evident health and safety issue.
· The individual is leaving/being discharged from a hospital setting, skilled nursing facility or other institutional setting.
· The move will create current or future isolation space designed for use by individuals confirmed positive for or at a high risk of contracting COVID-19.
· The COVID-19 crisis has negatively affected an individual or their living situation and they are in need of immediate residential placement.

While some of the items are difficult to fund right now because certain providers are not able to have contact, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities has set up Emergency Funding for:

-Activities to remain engaged during social distancing;
-Items that alleviate anxiety due to social distancing (technology/internet access); and,
-Other items needed for people experiencing social isolation and access to health care.

Funds will be made available for requests that assist one individual/family or multiple individuals/families. Requests are expected to range on average from $250 to $500 per request as approved by the Arc of New Jersey, in consultation with the Council. Agencies submitting requests for multiple individuals/families can combine requests into one application while providing individual/family level detail.

The Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities (Division) recognizes the unprecedented pressures the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its service system. We are grateful to the individuals we serve, their families and guardians, direct support professionals, community providers, and other stakeholders for their commitment during this difficult time.
The Division has been continually working to communicate information as it becomes available and introduce flexibilities in critical areas, including the hiring of agency staff and self-directed employees, how funding is provided, and the manner in which service monitoring occurs. They also recognize that, to work through this national health crisis, further flexibilities are needed. Areas that are being worked on include additional flexibility around funding, criminal background checks, and provision of Home and Community Based Services in alternate settings. Further flexibilities will be announced once federal approval is received.
While the Division continues to work closely with the federal partners at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), they are taking action now to allow the provision of remote services in certain areas.
Effective immediately, and until further notice by the Division, the following temporary modifications related to remote provision of services will be in place.
These temporary modifications apply to waiver services defined in Section 17 of the Supports Program and Community Care Program policy manuals. All other policy manual service definitions, qualifications, documentation requirements and limitations remain in place.
Suspension of In-Person Service Delivery & Limitation on Service Provision in Alternate Settings
The requirement for in-person service delivery is temporarily suspended for the following services, as outlined below. The requirement for service delivery in a community-based setting outside of an individual’s home is also temporarily suspended for the following services, as applicable:
Behavioral Supports, Natural Supports Training, Career Planning, Cognitive Rehabilitation, Community Based Supports, Community Inclusion Services, Day Habilitation, Goods and Services (Classes), Individual Supports – Hourly, Interpreter Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Prevocational Training (Individual and Group), Speech, Language & Hearing Therapy, Support Coordination , Supported Employment (Individual), Support Brokerage.
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