Employment for adults with autism is becoming more of a reality than ever before. In addition to the services available from DDD, consider the following resources when exploring your employment options and striving to find and keep a job. Remember, the earlier you explore vocational options, the better the chance for success. Visit our Transition section for tips on how to get started while still in school. Check out our Resources section for vocational provider referrals.
Division of Vocational & Rehabilitative Services (DVRS)
The mission of the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services is to enable individuals with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes consistent with their strengths, priorities, needs, abilities and capabilities. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services helps individuals with disabilities that are having trouble finding or holding a job because of their disability. If you or your adult child has a disability that is preventing you or them from working, or which is endangering your/their present employment, you may wish to submit a referral for services.
Eligibility for DVRS Services
To be eligible, an individual must have a physical or mental impairment that is a substantial impediment to employment. DVRS' services are limited to employment and employment-related training and are geared toward successful employment. DVRS services are not of lifelong duration.
Individuals interested in vocational rehabilitation services must complete an application available through one of 18 DVRS local offices. A DVRS counselor will arrange an intake appointment no later than 14 days after the application is submitted. Eligibility for DVRS is determined within 60 days of the intake interview.
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DVRS offers vocational evaluation services to determine strengths, interests, and support needs of the individual. The assessment considers the assistive technology needs of the individual to be successfully employed, and must be completed prior to the development of a service plan. DVRS uses an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), which outlines the necessary services and supports for the individual.
What You Can Do
- DVRS involvement should begin while a student is still receiving special education services. Therefore, parents should request that the Child Study Team case manager contacts DVRS during the student's transition years.
- Funding for long-term follow-up support services should be explored at the time of the initial IPE. If an individual is eligible for services through the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), he or she can receive follow-up support services through a DDD funded provider agency.
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Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors can assist an individual and his or her family members to understand available services and develop and implement the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that should outline the necessary services and supports for the individual.
Individual Counseling & Guidance can help the individual and his or her family to understand the local job market and competencies required for successful employment.
Job-seeking Skills Training & Selective Job Placement can be done with the DVRS counselor or through a DVRS-approved Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP).
Follow-up Support Services are provided once an individual is successfully placed in a competitive job in the community to maintain employment.
Physical Restoration Services can include corrective surgery or therapeutic treatments, prosthetic and orthotic devices, diagnosis and treatment for mental and emotional disorders, eye glasses and visual services, interpreter services, transportation (after all options have been explored), telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices, and other areas that, if not corrected, could be an impediment to employment.
Job Coaching, Vocational, and On-the-job training is provided by a DVRS-approved community rehabilitation provider to support the individual in developing a competitive job based on his or her preferences, strengths, and support needs.
You should know...
- DVRS is required to consider all individuals seeking employment regardless of the severity of their disability.
- An effective, comprehensive assessment increases the chance of identifying the right kind of job for the individual.
- DVRS and DDD have collaborated on interagency agreements to ensure communication and resources are used between Divisions in the most effective manner.
- People with autism have been and continue to be successfully employed in the community through supported employment services using DDD and DVRS funding. Funding for higher education (post-secondary education and training) can be considered after extensive efforts were made to secure grant assistance or other funding.
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DVRS' Waiting Lists
In the event of the need for a waiting list, DVRS must invoke an order of selection that prioritizes individuals with the most severe disabilities to be served first.
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Financial Contribution for Services
Individuals are required to fill out a Financial Need Assessment form prior to the IPE conference to determine the financial contributions, if any, for which the individual is responsible. The Division may waive the financial participation if the individual has extraordinary medical and disability related expenses or other unusual circumstances, which significantly affect the quality of family life and would preclude his or her participation in the cost of services. Services not based on economic need include:
- On-the-job training
- Supported employment
- Work-adjustment training
- Job coaching
You should know...
- Post-employment services can be provided if an individual’s case is successfully closed and some support need arises. DVRS can provide that support need on a short-term basis without reopening the case.
- Long-term follow- along services provide communication among employers, the community, the person with a disability and a job coach, to help ensure that appropriate supports are in place.
- Both DDD and DVRS contract with provider organizations.
For more information of DVRS, please visit their website.
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Additional Employment Resources
Department of Labor and Workforce Development
In addition to DVRS, The Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers employment and training services that may be of assistance. All of the department's services can be accessed through a One-Stop Center located in each county.
New Jersey Work Incentive Network Support (NJWINS)
NJWINS is a statewide joint Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) project of Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey and Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey, funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration. WINS runs the following programs that may be of assistance.
Ticket to Work
Worried about losing social security benefits if you work? The Social Security Administration has implemented the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program to increase opportunities and choices for Social Security disability beneficiaries to obtain employment, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and other support services from public and private providers, employers, and other organizations.
NJ Workability is the Medicaid Buy-in program in NJ. This program allows individuals who work to be eligible for Medicaid, as long as they have earnings of less than $45,864 annually and not more than $748 of unearned income monthly. SSDI is not counted as unearned income in applying for this program. Therefore, SSDI cannot block eligibility. Under this program, a person may not have a premium of more than $25 a month, but may not have a premium to pay at all. Premiums are applied on a sliding according to earnings.
For more information about "Ticket to Work" and "NJ Workability," visit NJ WINS.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
To increase the opportunity for successful employment, families should explore possible assistive technology that may assist the adult with autism to maintain employment. JAN is a free consulting service designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities by: 1) providing individualized worksite accommodations solutions, 2) providing technical assistance regarding the ADA and other disability related legislation, and 3) educating callers about self-employment options. For information about many types of reasonable accommodations, visit the JAN website.
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