New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool “NJCAT”

What is the NJCAT:

The NJCAT is a mandatory questionnaire used by DDD as part of the process of determining an individual’s eligibility to receive DDD funded services. The Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute (DDPI) of Rutgers University conducts the NJ CAT assessment on behalf of DDD.

What does the NJCAT establish:

  • The individual’s support needs
  • The individual’s annual budget and provider reimbursement rates for some services.

When should the NJCAT be completed once: The NJCAT should be completed once DDD informs you that you or your family member are eligible for services. The best time to complete it is the fall or winter of the last year of school (if attending school until age 21).

What areas does the NJCAT assess:

  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Self-care and independent living skills
  • Verbal communication
  • Mobility and physical capabilities
  • Social-Emotional functioning
  • Special behaviors
  • Medical issues
  • Other areas included: demographics, caregiver characteristics, adaptive aids, employment.

How do the results of the NJCAT work:

Each individual will be assigned a tier. There are five base tiers: A, B, C, D, & E (as well as an exception tier – Tier F – that is assigned in very rare cases). There is also a factor that will be added to the tier for individuals with high clinical support needs based on medical and/or behavioral concerns. The acuity-based tiers include: Aa, Ba, Ca, Da, Ea (and again, an exception Fa).

What do the tiers mean:

  • Each tier letter corresponds to the budget the individual will receive from DDD.
  • Each tier letter also determines the rate providers get paid for providing services.
  • The budget can be used to purchase various supports and services. (see add link)

How do you complete the NJCAT:

Who Should Complete the NJCAT: The person(s) that knows the individual best. It may be helpful to have the Support Coordinator assist in the completion.

The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute can provide support to a family or individual who may need help completing the NJ CAT by contacting them at 732-246-2525 x38 or x24 or at thefamilyinstitute@arcnj.org

Key things to keep in mind:

  • Answer all questions
  • If unsure how to answer, ask DDPI for help
  • Make sure you look over carefully. Once submitted, you cannot revise.
  • Answer each question keeping in mind what your loved one can do without any assistance, not with anyone’s help and support. Also, the questions are meant to include all settings, not just how they complete tasks at home.

When will results be available: Two to four weeks after completion a letter will be sent to the individual’s residence.

Reassessment: NJCAT is reassessed every five years. If there is a change in circumstances to the individual, you can request a reassessment. Reassessment requests can be denied and a reassessment does not guarantee a tier change.