Federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act have significantly improved the quality of life across the United States for individuals living with a disability. That being said, states still vary quite widely in the kinds of disability services available to those who live there. While not directly part of the conversation about Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, access to disability services is nonetheless an important quality-of-life issue.
According to a recent state-by-state comparison, New Jersey ranks 15th in the nation in terms of the services it offers for those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The report was released by a group called United Cerebral Palsy.
The annual report ranks each state and the District of Columbia on four criteria. These include:
- Reaching people in need
- Keeping families together
- Promoting independence and productivity
- Ensuring quality and safety
Because this year’s report was based largely on data from 2012, it is possible that New Jersey has made improvements over the last two years that are not reflected in its ranking.
All things considered, a ranking of 15th is pretty good, but shows that New Jersey still has room to improve. New York, for instance, is in the top 10. For the third year in a row, the top-ranking state in the report was Arizona.
Hopefully, reports like this one will push every state to examine how well it serves the needs of some of its most vulnerable residents. If we truly want the best quality of life, we need to make sure that we are considering the health and wellbeing of every citizen.
Source: Disability Scoop, “Ranking Names Best States For Disability Services,” Michelle Diament, April 17, 2014