The Arc's Top 10 Things You Need to Know about the NJ CAT

November 2nd, 2016

As the state continues its transition to a fee-for-service model, families must complete an assessment that measures their loved ones needs in the areas of self-care, behavioral, and medical supports.  This assessment, called the New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJ CAT), ensures your loved one remains eligible for Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) services and directly determines your loved one's tier assignment.  The tier assignment, in turn, determines your available budget for services moving forward.  

Recognizing the importance of the NJ CAT, and the confusion families may be experiencing, The Arc of Essex County is happy to provide a top 10 list of things you need to know about the NJ CAT:

  1. If you are currently receiving Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) services and have not yet completed the NJ CAT, do so immediately.
  2. If you are an impending graduate or newly presenting to DDD, you will be prompted to complete the NJ CAT as part of the eligibility process.
  3. The Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute (DDPI) of Rutgers University conducts the NJ CAT assessment on behalf of DDD. It is completed in only one of two ways:

    - Online via a password-protected link that is sent to the survey informant from DDPI
    - Over the telephone with a representative from DDPI

    There is no paper version of the NJ CAT, and the NJ CAT cannot be submitted by postal mail or fax.
  4. To request your NJ CAT, complete a brief DDPI survey.  The survey is available at  or call (732) 640-0730.  Once this DDPI survey is complete, you will be emailed the password to access your NJ CAT or given further phone instructions.  Upon DDPI survey completion, you can request the NJ CAT in other languages.
  5. Families have indicated that the online method is preferred as it allows them to complete the NJ CAT at their convenience, with no time limits and with the ability to save their progress and revisit the site at another time.  The online version also allows families the opportunity to seek input from other members of their support team.
  6. If you are currently receiving services from The Arc of Essex County and do not have email and/or access to the internet, The Arc of Essex County can assist you in requesting the online version, giving you access to a computer, and providing assistance from our highly trained staff.
  7. When completing the NJ CAT, families should remain as objective as possible about their loved one's abilities and inabilities.  The questions are meant to be reflective of all settings, not just how they complete tasks at home.  For additional information on how to objectively evaluate your loved one, click here.
  8. Once the NJ CAT is completed and a tier is established, the Division of Developmental Disabilities will send a Tier Assignment Letter by USPS mail to the individual (and in cases where the individual does not reside with the guardian, the letter will be mailed to the guardian as well).
  9. If you are currently receiving services from The Arc of Essex County, provide a copy of the Tier Assignment Letter to Erin Koropsak, Senior Director of Quality Improvement, via email at or via mail to The Arc of Essex County, 123 Naylon Ave., Livingston, NJ 07039.  Your other service providers will also require a copy of the Tier Assignment Letter.
  10. The tier assignment from your NJ CAT will remain in place for approximately the next 5 years before another assessment will be prompted.  However, if a major life change occurs for your loved one (i.e. medical change, caregiver status change, etc.) a reassessment may be requested.  

For more information or questions about the NJ CAT, contact The Arc of Essex County's Senior Director of Quality Improvement Erin Koropsak at or (973) 535-1181 ext. 1246.