Is to provide people with disabilities, their families, and the organizations supporting them lifetime planning and support coordination services to effectively assist people with disabilities in leading happy and productive lives.
Who benefits from Life Planning?
People with developmental disabilities, mental illness, brain injuries, serious physcial disabilities and seniors with disabilties, along with the families and organizations supporting them have the greatest need for life planning.
What is Life Planning?
Life Planning is a coordinated and life long process of determining who a person with disabilities is, what supports they need and how to access, use and structure personal, government, and family resources to lead as happy, independent and productive life, as possible.
Life Plan Profile
The first step in developing a support system for people with disabilites is to create an information profile of the person that can be easily shared with people trying to support the person with disabilities. We have created a print based profile that we will soon upgrade to an internet based information system that will produce a multi-media profile of the person with disabilites.
We use a variety of assessments that are conveniently organized into the following life categories to speed access and ease of use: Personal Character Strengths, Education, Personal Care and Awareness, Medical Conditions, Independent Living Skills, Vocational Skills, Family Financial and Legal Planning, Community Supports, Personal Income and Expenses, Relationships, and Daily Routines.
This one stop information source is excellent for training educators, therapists and care givers on how to properly care for the person with disabilites.
The Life Planning Process
People with significant disabilities need extensive supports that begin when the disability is diagnosed and often last a lifetime. Some disabilities begin at birth, while others are a result of an injury or illness later in life. As awareness of the needs of people with disabilities has increased society has significantly expanded the supports provided to people with disabilities.
However, unlike the education system, there are non-uniform eligibility requirements when accessing the Social Service system. The person with disabilities and their families must be aware of, apply and be approved for each specific service, inorder to secure the maximum supports. In addition, government can only do so much, and in an era of diminishing government resources, it is critical, that families effectively supplement the services of government with personal and family supports to insure their loved one has the resources to live a happy and productive life.
To effectively access government services and to supplement these services with family resources requires knowledge and planning. We have identified eight important lifetime planning areas that people with disabilities and their families need to address:
1. Care Planning - Providing the necessary health, safety and behavioral supports to properly care for the person with disabilities
2. Education Planning - Insuring the person with disabilities receives the free and appopriate education in the least restrictive environment that they are entitled under law. For those students interested in higher education finding a college that effectively supports students with disabilities.
3. Transition Planning - Preparing for High School graduation and insuring a smooth transition into the post-school social service system
4. Employment, or Day Activity Planning - For those students interested in employment securing a job after high school or some productive day activity
5. Accessing Government Services - Applying and being found eligible for Social Security benefits or SSI, Medicaid, the services of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVRS) and other government services and agencies serving people with disabilities.
6. Family Financial Planning - As our general population ages, Government is under tremendous pressure to do more with less revenue. That is why it is absolutely critical families begin to save (not in the name of the person with a disability, as this will make them ineligible for many government benefits), and fund for the future support needs of their familly member with a disability. Whether it is earmarking funds for future housing needs, or the recreational needs of the relative with a disability, families need to begin saving as early as possible.
7. Family Legal Planning - Whether a family feels it needs to apply for Guardianship over the person with disabilities, or wants to properly structure their will, and set up a Special Needs Trust to provide supplemental funding for the person with disabilities, proper family legal planning is absolutely critical to improving the life of the person with disabilities.
8. Future Housing Planning - There is a significant low income housing shortage in the state of New Jersey. Section 8 vouchers are often unavailable, and if people can get on a waiting list the wait can be over a decade. Families need to begin to save now so they have the option to purchase a townhouse or other residence for the person with disabilities while parents are still alive and can monitor the transition to independent living.
Disability Services & Advocacy, LLC assists people with disabilities and their families with the following planning and support services in New Jersey:
LIFE PLAN PROFILE
TRANSITION PLANNING CONSULTING
ESSENTIAL LIFESTYLE PLANNING
FAMILY FINANCIAL PLANNING COORDINATION
FAMILY LEGAL PLANNING COORDINATION
WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION
APPLYING FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
PERSONAL BUDGETING & BILL PAYING
Disability Services and Advocacy, LLC has provided active case management, support brokering and financial coordination services to people with developmental disabilities, brain injury, significant physical disabilities, and mental illness since 2001. We are proud of our record of helping people with disabilities and the families that support them lead productive, independent lives. We look forward to working with you in providing our various life planning or support coordination services. Please contact us if you would like more information and pricing of our services.