Disabilities Unit & PASP
The Department of Human Services started to formally provide services to people with disabilities in 1989 when a state funded program, “Personal Assistance Services Program” (PASP) started being offered in Burlington County. PASP is mandated by the Personal Assistance Services Act. The department established the Personal Assistance Services Act” L. 1987, c.350, s.1; amended 1993, c.215, s.1. (N.J.S.A. 30 : 4G - 1 through 21) and regulated by N.J.A.C. 10 : 140.
Personal Assistance Services Program
The PASP provides non-medical assistance to individuals with permanent physical disabilities. The assistance allows the individual to meet their daily needs for personal care and activities of daily living in order to live independently within the community.
PASP Eligibility requirements:
- Age 18 – 65
- Burlington County resident
- Capable of directing and supervising their own services
- Individual is employed or preparing for employment; attending an educational or training program and/or to support active participation in community based activities, such as volunteer service or parenting.
- Living in the community (private home, apartment, boarding or group home)
- Permanent physical disability
Information and Referral Services
When PASP services were started it became evident that people with disabilities and their families were in need of finding other disability services being offered in the county and state wide. Thus, assistance through information and referral services (I and R) started being offered through the unit.
ADA Task Force
With the inception of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) in 1990, the Human Services Office has become the information hub for accessibility (barrier free) and other issues pertaining to disabilities. All county facilities are reviewed for ADA compliance by this Unit. The Disabilities Unit is a member of the Burlington County Division of Cultural Affairs & Tourism ADA Task Force where assistance in helping organizations that provide art and cultural events do so in accordance with ADA is provided.
Disability Issues Committee
With the various programs and projects being offered to individuals with disabilities and the PASP regulation mandating that each county have a Disability Committee, the Burlington County Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC) created an ad hoc Disability Issues Committee (DIC).
The DIC discusses disability issues and offers educational and informational workshops throughout the year. Topics such as “Employment Resources for Persons with Disabilities”; “Medicare Drug Benefit for People Who Have Both Medicare & Medicaid”; “Risk Factors for Substance Abuse among Persons with Disabilities”; “Social Security & New Jersey Workability”; “Guardianship & Estate Planning” & “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” are samples of the types of topics presented.
Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD)
The Disabilities Unit’s membership in this outside organization allows for the interests and needs of people with special needs to be addressed in the time of any type of disaster. Management of the “Special Needs Registry” in Burlington County came from this organization through the Burlington County Emergency Management Office.
PASP State Advisory Council
Provides a means for consumers to express opinions and views that will affect the quality of personal assistance in New Jersey. The council is designed to review and evaluate the effectiveness of the program and to make recommendations to improve the overall program statewide.
New Jersey Association of County Disability Services, INC.
To advise and consult with county officials and representatives regarding the methods of creating offices for people with disabilities which will serve as a clearing house for information and provide a coordinated, comprehensive referral service, relevant to persons with physical, developmental and/or mental disabilities.
- Burlington County is one of 3 of the 21 counties that do not have an Office of the Disabled.
- The designation of Office of Human Services, Disabilities Unit was created approximately 4 years ago.