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Information & Referrals


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in conjunction with many other laws in place prior to the ADA, were put in place to provide protection from discrimination and to create a level playing field for persons with disabilities when the disability becomes the reason for differential treatment. These laws are in place specifically to provide services and benefits to persons with disabilities.   

Information and Referral is one of the many services provided by Disability Rights NJ, and it is designed to equip persons with disabilities, their family or friends with general information and appropriate resources to address matters which anyone may face, whether there is a disability present.  Since these matters are often not directly related to the disability, they may not fall within the spectrum of issues handled by Disability Rights NJ.  This information is provided for your convenience and to address some commonly raised inquiries.  If you are a person with a disability, a family member or friend and need information, we encourage you to contact Disability Rights NJ.

Housing

As a person with a disability, you may have housing issues which are not directly related to said disability(ies) and may be unsure of where to turn for possible assistance. 

For Landlord/Tenant matters involving eviction or disrepair of the unit you may contact 

  • Legal Services of New Jersey at the office for your area.  You may find which office is nearest you at the following link:  www.lsnj.org/legalservicesoffices.aspx 
  • Community Health Law Project, and you may find the office for your area at the following link: www.chlp.org/contact       
  • Volunteer Lawyers for Justice 973-645-1955 or visit their website at www.vljnj.org  
  • Rutgers University’s Civil Justice Law Clinic which may assist with some housing issues. You may contact the clinic at 973-353-5576.  
  • Legal Services of New Jersey has a very extensive and detailed publication titled ‘Tenants’ Rights in New Jersey’ which covers all areas regarding tenants’ rights in NJ including breaking a lease should that be necessary.  You may view the publication at the following link: https://www.lsnjlaw.org/publications/pages/manuals/tenantsrights.pdf 

For Landlord/Tenant issues involving habitability of the unit such as no water, no heat, rodents and/or pests or structural problems, you may contact your local Health Department as well as the local Building Inspection and Code Enforcement.  You may find the listings at the following links:  https://www.nj.gov/health/lh/documents/LocalHealthDirectory.pdf https://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_ora/muniroster.pdf  

Unit Modifications 

Privately Managed/Owned Housing Complex 

  • Under the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Fair Housing Act (FHA) a person with a disability may make structural changes to the unit they occupy to make it functionally accessible for their use and enjoyment.  The management cannot stop the individual from making the modifications at their own expense but may require that the person with a disability return the premises to their original state when they vacate the unit.  In addition, any shared public space must be made accessible so that persons with disabilities may use and enjoy these premises as all other tenants.  
  • To file a complaint for denial of reasonable modification as an accommodation with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights online at https://www.njoag.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/division-on-civil-rights-home/division-on-civil-rights-file-a-complaint/  or with HUD-Fair Housing Equal Opportunity online at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint   

Public Housing Entities 

Social Security Issues 

Social Security Administration’s website provides detailed information on the various programs administered through Social Security and have online forms to make the process to apply for benefits easier. 

  • Visit the Social Security Administration website to download or complete application forms for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits at www.ssa.gov or call their toll-free number 1-800-772-1213. 

If you need help completing applications and do not have family or friends to help 

If you have been denied SSI or SSDI benefits 

County Board of Social Services  

Most Welfare Benefits programs are administered through each County Board of Social Services (CBoSS).  If you are having a problem receiving or have been denied financial welfare benefits, food stamps or emergency rental assistance by the CBoSS the denial and reason should be provided in writing, and that letter will have information on how you may appeal their decision.  You may call the following organizations to see if they may help in appealing the denial of services or provide alternate referral sources. 

Family Court Issues 

Court matters involving any family situation, whether it’s divorce or custody issues, can be very emotional, strenuous, and complicated for all involved. 

If you are seeking representation for an issue of divorce, child support or custody, you may contact the following: 

If you are seeking representation for issues involving the NJ Department Division of Child Protection and Permanency, you may contact the organizations listed above, and you may also be eligible for assistance from: 

Criminal Issues/Motor Vehicle Offenses 

Adults or juveniles charged with a criminal offense, whether they have a disability or not, may seek legal representation for the charges. 

If you cannot afford a private attorney to represent you, you should contact the Office of the Public Defender in your county.  You may find the contact information for your county, as well as the various services they provide, and information on billing: 

Guardianship 

If you are seeking to attain guardianship of an individual, you will ultimately need to seek private legal counsel, but should consider contacting some of the organizations below, or viewing their websites for information regarding this process as a starting point. 

You may also view information on the NJ Judiciary Self-Help section of their website for pro-se (on your own behalf) information regarding guardianship. 

Complaints Against Licensed Professionals 

Many professions in NJ are licensed through various professional boards, which fall under the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection.  Some of these include the Board of Nursing, Board of Medical Examiners, Board of Cosmetology and many more.  You may call that office at 973-504-6200 or 800-242-5846.  The following website provides information to file a complaint. https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Pages/Consumer-Complaints.aspx