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Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals
with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families

Legal Resources

The disability community has faced centuries of social and economic marginalization. Like many other minorities the disability community were kept separate from the greater society. Although people with disabilities still endure a system that is pervasive in its discrimination, there have been important pieces of legislation and advocates who continue to push towards equity the disability rights movement started in the wake of World War 2, with veterans coming home and pressuring the government to provide rehabilitation and vocational training. When the civil rights movement of the 1960's was started the disability community joined forces with other minority groups to fight for equal access. Some important legislative milestones include Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Fair Housing Act, and the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This page includes information and resources that members of the disability community may need to assist them in protecting their rights and obtaining the services they need.

State Legal Resources

The Office of Special Education

The Office of Special Education has a responsibility under federal statute and regulations to monitor the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) by local education agencies.

The Department of Special Education has comprehensive information regarding legal and advocate resources:

Our web page Early Education has additional helpful resources

Disability Rights NJ

New Jersey's designated Protection and Advocacy agency under federal law. Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) work at the state level to protect individuals with disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf.

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights

State agency charged with enforcing New Jersey's civil rights laws, including the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), and the Fair Chance in Housing Act (FCHA)

Prison/Corrections Assistance

When an individual with a disability has entered the State corrections system the Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson can provide guidance and advocacy services.

County Legal Resources

County Surrogate Offices (Guardianship Matters)

The Surrogate's Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. The Surrogate, a Judge of this Court by New Jersey Constitution, is the person who passes on the validity of a Wills, executor proof of authority to administer an estate. The jurisdiction of this court also qualifies trusts and assists with the process of guardianship.

Legal Status Information

When families of individuals with disabilities are planning for the transition to adulthood one discussion that can be important to consider is legal status. Our Legal Status page hopes to guide you through the basics of these choices.

County Court Ombudsmen

The County Court Ombudsmen can assist you with general questions about the county court system. They can help you find a court office, government services, and other resources. They can answer questions about court procedures and give you forms and other information if you are representing yourself in court.

Low-cost Legal Service

Legal Services of NJ

Legal Services is available as a legal assistance delivery system—the hub of a broader legal assistance delivery network and partnership, to ensure full access to equal justice for all economically disadvantaged people.

The Community Health Law Project

Founded in 1976, the Community Health Law Project (CHLP) is a statewide not-for-profit advocacy and legal service organization which provides legal representation and advocacy services to low-income individuals with disabilities and the frail elderly

American Bar Association Free Legal Answers

ABA Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic in which qualifying users post civil legal questions at no cost to be answered by pro bono attorneys licensed in their state

Find Legal Representation

New Jersey Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

Disability Benefits Help

Other Legal Resources

New Jersey Bar Association Foundation Publications:

NJ Court Accessibility Resources:

Resources including getting accommodations for court

Federal Legal Resources

ADA Complaint Filing

If you believe that you or someone else was discriminated against based on a disability, you can file an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint

Civil Rights Division

The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws that protect you from discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, disability status, sex, religion, familial status, or loss of other constitutional rights.

Advocacy Resources

Disability Rights NJ

New Jersey's designated Protection and Advocacy agency under federal law. Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) work at the state level to protect individuals with disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf.

ARC Criminal Justice Advocacy Program

A clearinghouse for information about offenders, victims and witnesses with developmental disabilities and serves as a liaison between the criminal justice and human service systems, monitoring the quality of care and service provided to those with developmental disabilities as they move from one system to another.

How to find your State Representatives:

It can be helpful to reach out to the staff of your local legislative offices. They can act as a resource for problem solving.

Do you know your State Senators and Assemblymen?


Last Updated: Tuesday, 11/14/23
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