Transition from School to Adult Life

Division services are available to individuals who are age 21 or older and meet all other eligibility requirements. 

Individuals receiving services through school are able to continue doing so through age 21.  If you choose to graduate or leave school between the ages of 18 and 21, it is critical to discuss service options with your school’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team and transition coordinator. 

Although Division services do not begin until age 21, the Division works with various partners to ensure that individuals approaching 21 have the tools and resources needed to successfully transition from school into adulthood.  To request a presentation by the Division about transitioning from school to adult life, please submit the Presentation Request Form.

In addition to our own outreach, the Division supports Planning for Adult Life.  This program has a wealth of written materials and archived webinars available on their website. They also run monthly student and parent clubs, coordinate various transition events throughout the year, and have staff available upon request to conduct presentations on a variety of topics.

The Boggs Center, New Jersey’s federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, publishes a helpful resource.

The Division provides the Graduates Timeline, which outlines the specific steps needed to apply for and begin receiving home and community-based services for adults. Below is a summary of the information in the Graduates Timeline:

  • Apply for Medicaid eligibility. (It is recommended that individuals turning 18 apply for SSI, since approval of SSI makes you automatically Medicaid eligible in New Jersey.)
  • Submit the Application for Determination of Eligibility to the Division. (If you were already determined to be eligible for developmental disability services through the Children’s System of Care, within the Department of Children and Families, you may be able to submit the SHORT Application.)
  • After the Division receives and reviews your application, you will be scheduled to complete the NJ Comprehensive Assessment Tool

September-June: Preparation and Planning

  • Participate in activities offered through Planning for Adult Life.
  • Use the Division’s Person-Centered Planning Tool to identify your vision for work and life, and the supports that may be needed to achieve it.
  • Learn about Support Coordination and service providers.

February-April: Support Coordination Agency Selection and Assignment

April-June: Service Plan Development

  • The Support Coordinator is responsible for writing the Individualized Service Plan (ISP), with guidance from the planning team (student, family, providers, etc.) and information gathered during the Person-Centered Planning process and completion of the NJCAT.
  • *The ISP should be completed and approved before the student exits the school system so that services will be in place upon graduation.