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Grievances and Appeals


Formal Client Grievance Procedure and Form 

Who Can File a Formal Grievance 

Federal law requires that Disability Rights New Jersey has a grievance procedure for clients and prospective clients to make sure that individuals with disabilities have access to our services.   

Disability Rights NJ always encourages clients to try to resolve matters informally with the attorney or advocate assigned to your case.  We also have a formal grievance process which you may use to resolve issues.   

You may file a formal grievance if you are a client or a prospective client.  A prospective client is someone who calls Disability Rights NJ for services, but who is not yet our official client. You may also file a grievance if you are a legal representative of a client (for example, you are the legal guardian or agent under a Power of Attorney).    

In addition, you may file a grievance if you are an individual receiving mental health services or if you are the family member or representative of an individual receiving mental health services, to assure that Disability Rights NJ is operating in compliance with federal protection and advocacy law.  

Matters for Which You Can File a Grievance 

Denial of Service – A client or prospective client (or legal representative) may file a grievance if: 

  • You were told you were not eligible for our services, including legal representation 
  • You were denied a requested service  
  • You were receiving help from us that ended or further help was denied for reasons with which you disagree 
  • You believe that you did not have full access to the services of the program.  

Customer Service Concerns or Compliance Issue – An individual with a disability, family member, or legal representative may file a grievance if:  

  • You have customer service concerns about our services (for example, you telephone message was not returned in a timely way)  
  • You believe that Disability Rights NJ is not in compliance with the federal laws that create the protection and advocacy system

How to File a Grievance

You can file a grievance in writing or by telephone within 30 days of the action or decision that you are complaining about. If you need help in filing a grievance, any Disability Rights NJ staff person can assist you with this process.  

You may use the  grievance form  or contact Disability Rights NJ for assistance. When you file your grievance, you will need to give Disability Rights NJ the following information:  

  • Your name, address, phone number, and if you have one, email address, where Disability Rights NJ can reach you.  Let us know the best way to communicate with you. For example, if you need large print or prefer email communication, let us know.  
  • If the grievance is on behalf of a family member, give us that person’s name, address, phone number, and email address. Tell how you are related to the person and if you are the person’s legal representative (for example, the legal guardian).  
  • Why you are filing the grievance? What did Disability Rights NJ do or fail to do? When did this happen? If the grievance is about how we operate our programs, describe your concern. 
  • What do you want Disability Rights NJ to do now?  What would you like to see happen? 
  • Are there any deadlines Disability Rights NJ needs to know about? Please make sure to tell us about any in the near future (for example, fair hearing dates or termination dates). 

You may submit your grievance by mail, email or telephone:  

  • Mail to:  

Disability Rights New Jersey
210 South Broad Street, 3rd Floor
Trenton, New Jersey 08608
Attn: Appeals Coordinator

  • Telephone:  

1.800.922.7233 (in NJ only)
1.609.292.9742 (Voice)
1.609.777.0187 (Fax)
1.609.633.7106 (TTY) 

How will my grievance be reviewed? 

Disability Rights NJ has three levels of review to find a solution, described below.  At each level, Disability Rights NJ will address your complaint by talking with you about your issue and possible solutions.  After each level, you will receive a written response, and you should let us know if you are satisfied or wish to take the appeal to the next level of review.  

Step 1 – Supervisor Review 

Your grievance will be reviewed by the appropriate supervisor or manager at Disability Rights NJ. The supervisor or manager may contact you with additional questions or to obtain more information about your concern. The manager will provide a response regarding your grievance in writing within 30 days of receiving the final information or documentation from you.  If you have a time sensitive issue, please let the supervisor or manager know so that you can receive a timely response.  

Step 2 – Executive Director Review 

If you are not satisfied with the result of the management review under Step 1, you may seek a review by the Executive Director within 30 days of the supervisor or manager’s written decision. This appeal should be made in writing or by other reasonably accommodated means of communication. The Executive Director may contact you with additional questions or to obtain more information about your concern. The Executive Director will provide a response to your grievance in writing within 30 days of receiving the final information or documentation from you. 

If your complaint is about a customer service concern, the Executive Director is the final reviewer of your complaint. The only exception is if your original complaint is a customer service concern about the Executive Director, then you may appeal to the next step.  

If your complaint is about a denial of service, concern about full access to the services of the program, or Disability Rights NJ’s compliance with federal rules or laws as the protection and advocacy system, you may appeal your decision to the next step.  

Step 3 –Appeal to the Disability Rights NJ Board of Directors 

If you are not satisfied with the result of the Executive Director’s review and your matter is not a customer service issue, you may seek review by the Disability Rights NJ Board of Directors within 30 days of the Executive Director’s written decision. This appeal should be made in writing or by other reasonably accommodated means of communication. The Board Chair or his/her designee may contact you with additional questions or to obtain more information about your concern. The Board Chair will provide a response to your grievance in writing within 60 days of receiving the final information or documentation from you.  

This is the final level of appeal. 

Reasonable Accommodations 

Disability Rights NJ will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure effective communication. If you need assistance in filing a grievance, please contact us.  

Please note that under federal law, we must keep your information confidential.